Original Paper

Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 22-38

How Master’s Students Document Stability and Change Within and Across Progress Notes

  • Cynthia V. SomersAffiliated withDepartment of Family Therapy, Nova Southeastern University Email author 
  • , Joy D. BenjaminAffiliated withDepartment of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Nova Southeastern University
  • , Ronald J. ChenailAffiliated withDepartment of Family Therapy, Nova Southeastern University

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To address a gap regarding how clinicians record progress in therapy, the researchers conducted a qualitative study of de-identified progress notes from a university-based brief therapy training clinic. The researchers described trainees’ stability and change documentation with respect to problem-oriented and solution-oriented talk in their progress notes. The patterns were (a) problem-oriented stability and problem to solution change within first sessions; (b) problem-oriented and solution-oriented stability within last sessions; and (c) stability (e.g., problem to problem) and change (e.g., problem to solution) across first and last sessions. Findings suggest that first session problem and solution outcomes do not necessarily predict last session outcomes (i.e., problem continuation or change to solutions).


Progress notes Stability and change Problem and solution-oriented talk Qualitative research Brief therapy