Group therapy provides a unique outlet for participants to interact and gain insight from one another, all under the supervision of a therapist. When taking notes for this type of session, it’s important to take a different approach than a one-on-one session, as you may be unable to delve into each individual’s particular approach to their problems due to various constraints.
While some organizations may require notes for individuals in addition to the group notes, a summary of group activity as a whole will invariably be required. To create a group therapy note that will prove beneficial to all parties, we recommend you explore covering these elements:
1. Group Essentials
Your note should begin with the name of the group and the main topic for counseling. You’ll want to include an overall schedule, as well as the time and date of the specific meeting. Also, as the particular facilitators may change depending on the date of the session, it’s important to document which therapist is currently overseeing the group. Make sure to indicate the number of clients in attendance and any specifics to the treatment approach.
2. Intervention Plans – Therapeutic Interventions
Your note needs to provide specifics as to the methods of intervention and treatment offered by the current therapist. This can cover a broader theme for the meeting, such as discussing triggers that can initiate relapses. From here, based on group feedback, you can craft a general plan that each member can internalize and apply to their own situation.
3. Individual Notes
When able to take notes on individual participants, you’ll want to document the progress of each participant toward their goals. Your assessment should cover an objective overview of their appearance, demeanor and the extent of involvement. You should also mention any specific statements they make that indicate particular struggles or achievements or share an issue the client may not be addressing that could impact the effectiveness of their treatment.
4. Objective Language
It’s important that your group notes are written using an objective tone. You don’t want to interject anything that could suggest a bias toward any particular participant. Any opinions need to be focused on client problems and progress, avoiding verbiage that could be taken as judgmental.
5. Separate Group and Individual Notes
To ensure client confidentiality, it’s vital that you keep your individual therapy notes separate from group notes. The latter should avoid discussing specific individuals and focus solely on what the group accomplished during any given session.
6. Write for Posterity
If your group is being run by multiple professionals, your notes will be the main element in continually driving progress. Others will need to understand the specifics of past meetings, allowing them to seamlessly pick up and continue therapy. Make sure your analysis of the current meeting, as well as the discussed plan for progress, is clearly stated and easily continued by another therapist.