Research has repeatedly shown that people who are in a good relationship to their therapists get the best. The best therapy is the one that works.. But figuring out which mental-health provider is the right fit for your personality and needs—not to mention, who’s affordable and available—is a daunting task.
“I tell friends that they should like talking to their therapist and feel like their therapist likes talking to them, because a strong relationship will generally lead to better outcomes,” says Emily Maynard, a licensed therapist in California. She acknowledges that it can be hard to find the right fit, and doing so sometimes requires casting a wide net—and not getting discouraged. “I see people sticking it out in a situation they don’t feel is helping them because they’re embarrassed or ashamed or don’t want to hurt the therapist’s feelings, or don’t know that they have other options,” she says. “It’s important to normalize that different therapists work in different ways, and work well with different issues.” Conversely, not every therapist has the expertise and training to appropriately treat every problem—for example, religious trauma.
Most practitioners offer free phone consultations of 15 minutes.