The mission at Start Fresh Counseling Center in Brandon is to create a safe, compassionate and caring environment. The center supports improved mental health for families, couples, children and individuals of all backgrounds through professional counseling, psychotherapy services, life coaching and Christian counseling guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ.

“We act as a guide in helping the clients to make empowered decisions about their individual and professional lives,” said Start Fresh Counseling Center CEO and Mental Health Counselor Casandra Merritt. “We work with a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues, providing services that span from therapy for depression and grief counseling to parenting support, couples counseling and beyond. In a comfortable and supportive atmosphere, we offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each of our clients individual needs to help attain the personal growth they’re striving to achieve.”

Start Fresh Counseling has been a part of the community since 2014. “It started in the summer of 2014 with a passion for families,” Merritt said. “I want families to know ‘the place where new beginnings begin’ was not another trademark but a safe, compassionate and caring environment. I wanted families to experience their new beginning. We have a wonderful staff of licensed therapists and office staff.”

Merritt and her staff love being part of the community and helping those in need. “I think it very instrumental; having a counselor locally allows families to feel that their support system is just a call or a drive close by. It brings security,” Merritt said. “Helping people with their new beginning, showing people how to live life in the midst of situations, learning that situations may not change but they can is what we strive for at our center.”

Merritt and her staff feel that when clients come to the counseling center, they are one step closer to a new life where the client feels empowered and on a positive path to growth and well being. “As a solution-focused therapist, my goal is to help you uncover your true potential and lead a life that is worth celebrating,” Merritt said.

If you would like to learn more about the various counseling services offered at Start Fresh Counseling Center, visit or contact Merritt at 489-4547. Start Fresh Counseling Center is located at 1463 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon.

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Libby Hopkins
Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.