Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 22–38 | Cite as

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

  • Cynthia V. Somers
  • Joy D. Benjamin
  • Ronald J. Chenail
Original Paper


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 



We acknowledge the input of Kate Mitchell and Michael S. Rhodes who were members of the research team. We also thank Arlene Brett Gordon, Francesca Angiuli, Alyssa Weiss, Jennifer Diep, Ashley Allred, and Julie Amodie for their assistance with the preparation of the progress notes used in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia V. Somers
    • 1
  • Joy D. Benjamin
    • 2
  • Ronald J. Chenail
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Family TherapyNova Southeastern UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Conflict Analysis and ResolutionNova Southeastern UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA

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