How to choose a  counselor or therapist is personal and there are many things to consider as you make your decision. You will want to think through what matters most to you about a potential counselor and then narrow your options based on other key factors.

Most people search for a counselor based on the factors listed below and then narrow those results based on what is most important to them.

  • Location (including in-person vs telehealth)
  • Availability
  • Identified Gender
  • Faith Orientation
  • Language Spoken
  • Cultural Competency
  • Allied with a Particular Group
  • Cost for Services
  • Level of Education/Experience
  • Skill with Your Particular Issue
  • Training in a Particular Counseling Approach
  • Photo
  • Personality
  • Written Narrative/Video
  • Recommendations from Trusted Others

What is Most Important to You?

If you are homebound or in a rural area you may prioritize telehealth counselors and everything else is secondary. You may feel that having a counselor who shares the same faith as you do is paramount and things like cost and gender come next. If you have a serious mental health condition and require specialized treatment, you might start with a counselor’s experience or expertise and then take factors such as gender, faith, and cost into account. Or you could be struggling so badly that you are more focused on who is immediately available than anything else.

When answering the question of how to choose a cousnelor, it’s a good idea to clarify what is most important to you. What is the number one factor for you that matters more than any other? Once you’ve narrowed your results based on what’s most important, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I connect with the narrative the counselor has written about themselves?
  • Does their photo or video bring up a sense of safety or connection?
  • Do they appear to work with the issues I’m bringing to counseling?
  • Am I willing to go on a waiting list if they are immediately available?

Some counselors put enough information out there for you to get a good sense of who they are and what they can offer you and you may feel comfortable setting up an intake appointment right away. Or, you may have questions for the counselor and feel like you need a brief phone conversation with the counselor or their practice manager before you know for sure. Remember that how to choose a counselor is personal and what’s right for one person may not be what’s best for another.

The First Counseling Session

Attending the first session can be nerve-wracking and you should know it’s okay if you don’t feel connected with the counselor you choose after the first session. You may want to keep coming to see if things change as the relationship develops and you may decide it’s not a good fit and schedule a session with a different counselor. Here are some questions to ask yourself during your first counseling session:

  • Do I feel validated and understood?
  • Does the counselor seem like they can help me what what’s important to me?
  • Do I like the counselor’s personality?
  • Does my personality mesh with the counselors?
  • Does their office/environment offer me a sense of safety?

At Joshua Tree Counseling:

At Joshua Tree, we hope you find enough information about our counselors that you can choose which one might be a good fit. If you aren’t sure, we have a few options for you:

  • If you aren’t sure how to choose a counselor, call us at (520) 308-4999 and we’ll help you talk through your options and try to match you with the right-fit counselor. We’ll listen to what is most important and get a sense of your needs and offer recommendations and then get you scheduled.
  • Use the form below to give us a head up about what’s important to you and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible and get you matched.
  • Email us. Keep in mind that email is not the most appropriate means of communicating sensitive or confidential information.

Counseling Inquiry


Rachel Lohrman, LPC Trauma Therapist Christian Clinical Supervisor

Rachel Lohrman, LPC

Trauma Therapist, Licensed

Rachel is the founder of Joshua Tree Counseling and a licensed professional counselor who specializes in the treatment of trauma and dissociation; PTSD and DID; suicidality; anxiety; spiritual wounding, and childhood abuse (verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse). She works with clients towards developing tools and strategies to use in the here and now while also helping clients better understand and untangle those early messages from childhood holding them hostage. Rachel is EMDR trained. When faith and Christian values are an important aspect of therapy to the client Rachel weaves this into the counseling experience.

Dr Chet Weld, LPC Joshua Tree Counseling

Dr. Chet Weld, LPC

Christian Therapist, Licensed

Chet is a licensed professional counselor who specializes in marriage counseling, working with couples toward communication skills, relationship building, and problems that relate to family issues. Chet also specializes in working with individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, stress, self-esteem, and family-of-origin issues. He’s an ordained pastor who attributes dignity and extends radical acceptance to every client. He values being “warm and human first; professional always.” He holds a doctorate in counseling psychology and has 40 years’ experience as a Christian-based therapist, pastor, and pastoral counselor.

Dana Denney, LPC Tucson Addiction Therapist

Dana Denney LPC

Therapist, Licensed

Dana is a licensed psychotherapist who has a passion for working with individuals stuck in the cycle of chemical or behavioral dependency and the family members who love them. She helps clients overcome depression and anxiety, intrusive thoughts and OCD. She supports clients through grief and loss and has a specific passion for helping women in abusive relationships. Dana helps clients unravel and repair faulty thinking errors causing distress and dysfunction through a variety of treatment approaches. She offers faith-based counseling for clients who prefer a format based on Christian values.

Shari Kirschner Tucson Trauma Therapist

Shari Kirschner, LCSW

Trauma Therapist, Licensed

Shari Kirschner is a licesned clinical social worker with over 20 years experience. She works with clients toward hope and healing from trauma and abuse. She is EMDR trained and uses an integrative approach based on the client’s unique needs and goals. As a Christian, Shari is devoted to helping other believers make sense of mental health from a spiritual and Biblical perspective. If faith is not important to you in the counseling experience, Shari offers the same safe and validating relationship which we you can explore psychological distress and learn new coping strategies. Shari treats trauma, depression, anxiety, dissociation, disordered eating, and bullying experiences/relationships.

Stacy Roden Christian Counselor

Stacy Roden, LAC

Christian Counselor, Licensed

Stacy is a Licesned Associate Counselor who works with clients struggling with general mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, relational conflict, marital distress, codependency, boundaries, parenting issues, grief and loss, spiritual wounding/faith crises, and trauma. Stacy will help you identify the goals you want to work towards and walk alongside you and gently guide you to where you want to be. She offered Christian counseling to clients who prefer this option.

Dr. Marybeth Steigenga, BCPC

Christian Counselor, Pastoral

Marybeth is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor who specializes in Christian counseling with married couples, engaged couples, teen girls, and adults. With couples, Marybeth offers practical strategies to re-connect, communicate, and heal. She works with individuals struggling with anxiety/depression; grief/loss; life transitions; and child/relationship issues from a trauma-informed perspective. Marybeth is an ordained minister of pastoral care and has a PhD in Christian counseling. She values the integration of faith into the counseling experience. She is also a certified life coach, Enneagram coach, and therapeutic art coach.

Tammy Furrier Trauma Informed Christian Counselor

Tammy Furrier, BCPC

Christian Counselor, Pastoral

Tammy is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and Ordained Chaplain who specializes in Christian counseling with adults – men, women, young professionals, pastor/ministry leaders, and adult children of pastors. As a trauma-informed soul care provider, Tammy works with individuals towards healing from trauma, sexual abuse, sexual brokenness, spiritual wounding and general mental health concerns. She approaches counseling from a faith-based perspective and enjoys working with believers toward their God-given potential. Tammy has been trained by the Allender Center and also uses Neuro Affective Relational Model, and narrative coaching.