We have all seen it in the movies and on television, the psychiatrist or therapist sits diligently taking notes while the patient tells them their life story. It all seems very dramatic so we could be inclined to greet that scene with some skepticism thinking, “why do they need to take all these notes?” or maybe even “are they really just doodling or writing a shopping list?”
Well, while it is easy to conclude that this common cinematic device is fake and only used to move the plot forward, it turns out that even though the theatrical scenario may not be exactly how it happens in real life, at least the taking notes part is accurate.
As we learned in this article from BetterHelp, https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/what-are-therapist-notes-for-anyway/, therapist’s notes can be a valuable resource during ongoing treatment and it is important that both of the participants know this.
Sometimes patients may feel as though they are under a microscope, or in other cases there can be an understandable degree of curiosity about the notes. It is certainly normal to wonder, “what are they writing about me?”
First and foremost, it is vital to remember that the therapist is taking these notes as a way to better help the patient and aid in the ability to offer effective treatments. The notes help the therapist to remember important details and patterns revealed during the sessions.
They are taking the notes in order to compliment the analysis, and most certainly not as a way to make the patient uneasy or judge them in any way. Yet some patients may still be uncomfortable with their therapist jotting notes while they are talking.
It is certainly okay to discuss these feelings, and it is even alright to ask to see the notes. In fact, discussing the notes can sometimes aid in building trust and understanding between the patient and the therapist.
On the other hand, there may be times when the therapist decides not to show their notes. They may have concluded that the notes contain things that could be upsetting to the patient. This could be hard for some patients to accept, but there are times when it is better not to allow the patient to read what the therapist has written during the sessions. It is also true that some therapists do not take notes on a regular basis.
Still, there is often a need to record the topics and problems that the patient communicates during sessions and to be able to accurately recall any specific information brought out in therapy. This is often referred to as a symptom history, and it can help therapists determine if improvement is being made along with how things are going while the process is moving forward. Then changes, if needed, can be made.
Later, the notes can help the therapist understand the progress that has been achieved and which treatments are working better than others.
So, the next time you are watching a movie or a show you will know that the therapy session scene just might be a more realistic enactment than you ever thought before.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com
For more about BetterHelp.com and their programs, please see these previous articles we have shared on GypsyNester.com: