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dancesintherain

Does your therapist take notes?

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I’ve got what I hope is a new therapist adjustment issue.  What I’m getting thrown by is the fact that my therapist takes notes throughout the session.  I don’t know why it throws me so much.  My current and former psychiatrist both did it.  But I haven’t had a therapist take notes since 2008.  She said in a very honest fashion that she has learned that she has a poor memory and needs a written record.  But sometimes I feel like I’m repeating myself and like she isn’t remembering me outside of the basics.  It’s just so different from my last therapist.

so...does your therapist take notes?  Is it something you adjusted to?

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my therapist didn't take notes. she had a pretty good memory, but we'd spend the first few minutes of each session rehashing the last session (ie me reminding her what we talked about). it seemed organic to me.

my psych does take notes, like yours did. i understand it in that sense, as it's important for diagnostic purposes to identify themes and symptoms. i don't really mind it, but it sort of makes me feel like a box of symptoms sometimes. he's quite personable, though, which helps a lot.

is it just that it's different that's giving you pause, or are you not sure if you like as your therapist as a whole? hopefully her awareness of her poor memory means you'll get good quality therapy, but not necessarily. if her manner isn't good, i can see how you would feel forgettable.

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I find it hard to get as "close" to a tdoc who takes notes during session. It's like the clipboard or whatever inserts some distance and prevents deep connection/trust. Like the tdoc is engaged with the notes, not with me. I also tend to worry about what s/he's writing and who might see it. My current tdoc does not take notes during session (after initial evaluation/get to know you), but I have had some that did.

My pdoc (who does some therapy with me) takes notes, but mostly they're quick scribbles not longer notes. I still feel like I have to pause, though, to allow her to write and catch up with where I'm at. I think things get lost or missed there because she's not looking at me to see all of my reactions and body language, and doesn't see how the pauses in the process halt my flow in a negative way. 

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Yes but only on the central issue if I have a specific major issue or set of symptoms...so yeah but rarely if at all. My pdoc does too usually if there is a new symptom or whenever he gives me a new Rx...but again that is just a few times a session if that 

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Pdoc takes brief notes, but he’s looking at me while he types mostly. It doesn’t bother me.

my tdoc quite frankly has an almost freakish memory. He doesn’t take notes, but that’s not to say he might jot them down between my session and the next. Sorta good, sorta strange that he can recall a detail from a couple of years ago. 

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Psychologist doesn't but the psychiatrist takes short and quick notes...symptoms or other big stuff.

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My therapist takes notes, but usually while looking at me, and it's just a few words, and her way to process things + be able to go back to it more easily later if needed. Weirdly it never bothered me, mostly because it really does not feel like she gives much attention to it. I've never felt she was listening less because she was writing, quite the opposite, if that makes sense? Like she is listening with enough attention to "grab" the important things and writing them down and process them, and she is not just.... passively listening?

I'm sorry the adjustment to the new therapist is less than easy :(

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thanks everyone.  sounds like there are lots of approaches.

I'm debating getting myself on the waitlist somewhere for a therapist that has a DBT/CBT/psychodynamic background who handles people with trauma and SMI.  I don't want to give up too quickly, but this current relationship doesn't feel very good. 

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our therapist takes a few notes, here and there...writing down main points and important topics we discuss. the cool thing? she's open to letting us see what she's written, when we feel the need; that's an unusual thing from the community agency we were going to a while ago.

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Posted (edited)

I've had some that do and some that don't..

My most recent therapist took notes..

I am kinda on the fence as to whether I got used to it..

It made me paranoid..but I'm prone to that anyways..

I never asked to see what she was writing..probably should have..might have helped with my messy mind..

I do think it helped her keep track of everything though..

So honestly I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with it..

But if you're not comfortable with it..

That matters..

 

My pdoc always takes notes..

Again makes me paranoid..

I think she's making stuff up about me sometimes..

I do have a great relationship with her though..

Wouldn't trade her for anyone else..

Edited by coraline

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thanks Coraline.  I don't know why it gets to me so much--maybe because it breaks up the conversation so much?  Or because it doesn't seem like it helps her?  I can't really raise this concern with her because it's not really something she can change.  I think it's just really different for me because I haven't had a therapist do it before.  At least not that I remember.

My pdoc takes notes also and it doesn't bother me.  Maybe because I think of it more like a typical doctor's appointment?

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1 hour ago, dancesintherain said:

thanks Coraline.  I don't know why it gets to me so much--maybe because it breaks up the conversation so much?  Or because it doesn't seem like it helps her?  I can't really raise this concern with her because it's not really something she can change.  I think it's just really different for me because I haven't had a therapist do it before.  At least not that I remember.

My pdoc takes notes also and it doesn't bother me.  Maybe because I think of it more like a typical doctor's appointment?

On the contrary, I think you absolutely could raise it with her. Let her know it’s new to you. Tell her it’s hard because it also seems like you’re repeating yourself and in spite of the notes she doesn’t remember more than the basics.

Maybe there’s some counter transference she should work through to help her memory for you specifically (my Tdoc recently said she’d wondered that). Maybe she could reconsider how or what she records.

Or maybe she’ll take offense and get defensive and no matter what you have a better idea of how she’ll handle other, bigger conflict.

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Thanks geek.  That’s a helpful perspective.  It may take more courage and assertiveness than I currently have, but it might be worth having even if it’s just so I can wait out the waitlist with the other person.  

Its not about small stuff.  Last session she asked me “so remind me about the childhood things that are hard to remember when your parents visit” and I choked out “you mean the neglect?”  I had to catch myself to not follow that with “that we spent half of last session talking about” followed by “that I’ve already told you I have a hard time recognizing that it’s sufficient enough to call it that.”

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8 minutes ago, dancesintherain said:

Thanks geek.  That’s a helpful perspective.  It may take more courage and assertiveness than I currently have, but it might be worth having even if it’s just so I can wait out the waitlist with the other person.  

Its not about small stuff.  Last session she asked me “so remind me about the childhood things that are hard to remember when your parents visit” and I choked out “you mean the neglect?”  I had to catch myself to not follow that with “that we spent half of last session talking about” followed by “that I’ve already told you I have a hard time recognizing that it’s sufficient enough to call it that.”

This honestly sounds to me more like a poor fit :( It's hard to open up to someone who doesn't seem to realise (and take note of!) when you're being vulnerable.

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yeah, that's why I'm on the waitlist somewhere.  no guarantees that the other person will be better, but I'll at least do an intake. 

it's just such a stark contrast from what I had gotten used to.  you're right that she doesn't seem to pick up on things--which is kind of weird, given her profession.

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I don’t recall much note taking except a few very brief words. One made a point of saying she never took notes so they couldn’t be used against me, which seemed to play into my paranoia. But they mainly remembered important stuff, well, except one but she was pretty good and remembered the important stuff. If one forgot a lot, notes or not, I wouldn’t like it. Sounds like yours doesn’t read her notes prior to your appointment. 

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you're right that it seems like she didn't review them or anything.  I can understand the problem if she has people back to back, but it seems she needs to come up with a system that actually works for her.  I don't know what that would be, but the current approach seems ineffective.

I'm also working with someone else now.  I got too frustrated with it.

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I would have to take notes if I wanted to listen to someone talking about something really important, my working memory is very poor. I would write down details that seemed important, so I could go back to them later without interrupting you. Like if you were talking about the grief of losing a pet, and you mentioned in passing losing your grandfather as a child, I would not want to forget to ask you about your grandfather later, but I wouldn't want to interrupt you talking about the grief of losing your pet, and I wouldn't be able to hold it in my working  memory and listen to you at the same time. I often feel like I need a notepad even with my friends! On the other hand, my declarative memory is fine, so I would remember what we talked about the next time we met... assuming of course I wasn't meeting 6 people a day!

Legally you are allowed to look at the notes if you really want to. People can't keep data about you secret from  you, even something like this.

It sounds like this person wasn't a good fit and I wish you better luck with the next one

Edited by Antecedent

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