Chelsea Chelew, LMFT

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5 Essential Tips for Choosing the Right Individual Therapist

You have decided to start therapy – congratulations! This decision was not taken lightly, and now you are on the hunt to find someone to work with. Selecting the right therapist is a pivotal step in your journey towards self-discovery and growth. With various options available, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. Here are 5 tips to guide you in choosing the right individual therapist:

  1. Clarify Your Objectives: Take some time to reflect on what you hope to achieve through therapy. Whether it’s managing anxiety, overcoming past trauma, or enhancing self-esteem, having clear goals will help you find a therapist who specializes in addressing your specific needs.
  2. Research Thoroughly: Utilize online resources like therapist directories to research potential therapists in your area. Look for therapists who have expertise in the areas you’re seeking help with and a therapeutic approach that resonates with you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them with any questions or to learn more about how they work. Two directories to check out are Psychology Today and Choosing Therapy. If you need to use insurance, I would recommend Rula (previously Path Mental Health), Growth Therapy or Alma. These insurance-based therapy companies pay their therapists well – which attracts better therapists.
  3. Assess Compatibility: Establishing a strong rapport with your therapist is vital for the effectiveness of your sessions. In fact, research shows that the therapeutic alliance is the strongest indicator of success in therapy, regardless of the therapeutic approach used. Consider factors such as their communication style and personality when selecting a therapist to ensure you feel comfortable and understood.
  4. Seek Recommendations: Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations from trusted friends, family members, or healthcare professionals who have experience with therapy. Hearing about others’ positive experiences can provide valuable insights and help you narrow down your choices.
  5. Trust Your Gut: Pay attention to your intuition when choosing an individual therapist. During your initial consultation or phone call, notice how you feel interacting with the therapist. If you sense empathy, validation, and a genuine connection, it’s likely a good match. Conversely, if you feel uneasy or misunderstood, consider exploring other options.

Finding the right individual therapist is a personal process, and it’s essential to prioritize your comfort and well-being. Take your time, conduct thorough research, and trust yourself to make the best decision. With the support of the right therapist, you can embark on a transformative journey towards self-discovery, healing, and personal growth. You got this!

Prior blogs

Do you desire a healthy and fulfilling relationship? One that fosters emotional safety and connection, growth and respect?  Whether you’re in the early stages of dating or seeking to strengthen an existing partnership, having a better relationship is certainly possible. As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I understand the importance of creating a compatible and supportive companionship. Here are some key tips to guide you in building a thriving relationship:

  1. Know Yourself: Take the time to understand yourself fully. Reflect on your values, goals, and boundaries. Practice awareness of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Consider your unique history and how that has influenced how you show up in relationships. Being clear about who you are and what you want will help guide you and your partner into true alignment. 
  2. Communication is Key: Open and honest communication allows for old stuff to be worked through, and paves the way to build a better future together. Healthy relationships thrive on effective communication, where both partners feel heard and understood. Pay attention to how your partner expresses themselves and handles conflicts. Practice awareness of your own reactions towards conflict. Find language to talk and listen to one another while leaving defensiveness and blaming at the door. Playfulness, gentleness and humility are essential here. 
  3. Shared Values and Goals: While differences can bring excitement and diversity to a relationship, having shared values and goals forms a solid foundation. Discuss important topics such as family, kids, career aspirations, and life philosophies so there are no surprises. Be open and dream together about what a shared future looks like. 
  4. Respect and Support: Mutual respect and support are non-negotiable in a safe relationship. A loving partner respects your opinions, boundaries, and autonomy. Likewise, be sure to offer the same level of respect and support in return. Your background has played a role in how emotionally regulated you are and how you handle differences in opinions, boundaries and need for autonomy. The good news is that you can still create a secure relationship even if you haven’t had one in your past.
  5. Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in navigating the ups and downs of a relationship. The goal here is to be a partner who demonstrates empathy, self-awareness, and the ability to regulate their emotions. These qualities contribute to effective problem-solving, conflict resolution, and creating safety. If you acknowledge difficulty in this area, you are not alone. I will write more on this subject, but to start, practice noticing what is happening in your body through out the day and make note of changes in body sensations in response to thoughts, feelings, or situations. Here, you are building presence – the key to emotional intelligence. 
  6. Individuality and Togetherness: Consider your own lifestyle preferences and habits. What makes you feel great may be different for your partner.  Aim for a balance between shared interests and individual pursuits. Understand that your partner cannot meet your every human need. Practice maintaining exquisite self care, and you will find that time spent with your partner is that much more enjoyable because you both have enough energy to give.
  7. Trust and Security: Trust forms the cornerstone of any successful relationship. Be a partner who is trustworthy, reliable, and committed to building a secure bond with your person. Cultivate trust through transparency, consistency, and integrity in your interactions. Safe and loving interactions compound and soon enough you will experience a deep sense of security with your beloved based on the foundation you have cultivated together. 




Remember, a healthy relationship is a journey, not a destination. Be patient with yourself and the process. All relationships get hard and go through changes. Try these tips out with your partner and let me know how it goes! Be open to having a relationship that is better than you ever thought was possible. 

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