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Collaborating with the Client: A Different Way to Take Progress Notes

     I recently attended a conference in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where one of the attendees shared with me a new way of taking progress notes that involves the participation of the client. 

     “Collaborative documentation” is the term for this type of note-taking process.  This is a person-centered activity that involves the client in the planning and reflection of their treatment.

     I am reading the research and gathering more information about this form of documentation and will spend the next few blogs talking more in depth about this process.  However, think about this first:  have you ever wondered if your client had the same perspective on what happened in the counseling session as you, the counselor, did?  What do you think would happen if you found out what the client was thinking about the work in which you both were engaged? 

     I can understand if, as the professional, you might feel a little vulnerable about getting this type of feedback from your client.  Even considering this may be a drastic change from how you have seen your relationship with your client and how you have approached therapy.  It would mean, to a certain extent, that you may have to be a little vulnerable (in the beginning) with your client when you ask for their feedback and get their view on what they experienced during the counseling session.  

     But there is a way to do this type of collaborative work with your client, and I want to talk you through the steps to do so.  

     Therefore, in anticipation of the next blog post, I ask you to consider this:  would you be willing to engage your client in the treatment process more if it meant your client may show improvement in functioning at a quicker rate with a higher level of commitment to change?  Just think about that, and stay tuned for how to start incorporating collaborative documentation into your therapy sessions.


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