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  • What's Missing From Your Documentation: Writing Great Progress Notes

What's Missing From Your Documentation: Writing Great Progress Notes

  • Friday, October 22, 2021
  • 11:00 AM - 1:30 PM
  • online


  • for SCV-CAMFT members
  • Join SCV-CAMFT for discounts.
  • For students and associates only.

Presented by Barbara Griswold, LMFT

Purchase a recording of this presentation

2.5 CEUs for California MFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and LEDs -- counts as legal and ethical CEUs! Please check if CEUs will be available if you are out of state

While you may shiver at the idea of an insurance plan, ethics committee, or licensing board reviewing your psychotherapy charts, this is happening more frequently — even to therapists who don’t work with insurance. In these cases, well-written records are essential, can be your only defense, and can assist clients in getting treatment or disability approval.

But if you are like most therapists, you never received training in how to write notes. And you may not realize how your current note-keeping habits can hurt you – and your clients. For example, did you know that insurance plans can deny your client's claims due to your poor documentation of those sessions?

This LIVE ZOOM webinar will teach you how to write brief notes that satisfy legal, ethical, and insurance expectations, so that you’ll feel confident if you receive a records request.  You’ll be introduced to different note templates, which you can download and use in your practice.  Best of all, we’ll analyze sample progress notes, as you get the rare opportunity to see examples of what “good” progress notes look and sound like.

Other topics will include:

  • Telehealth documentation requirements
  • What insurance plans and licensing boards require in notes and intakes
  • Documenting “medical necessity,” the key to insurance coverage
  • Why your notes may be requested — and how to deal with this

About the Presenter

Barbara Griswold, LMFT is author of Navigating the Insurance Maze: The Therapist’s Complete Guide to Working with Insurance – And Whether You Should (theinsurancemaze.com), now in its 8th edition. In addition to her 30-year private practice in San Jose, CA, she has been interviewed on NPR's "Morning Edition," and provides coaching, individual consultations, and trainings about insurance, progress notes, and practice building to therapists nationwide.  Contact her at theinsurancemaze.com.

Learning objectives

  • After attending this webinar, participants will be able to
  • Identify how writing vague progress notes can be harmful, both to therapists and clients
  • Identify common insurance plan, licensing board, and ethics requirements for documentation
  • Identify how to document “medical necessity,” the criteria used by health plans to approve ongoing treatment

Course outline (time permitting):

  • Why Don’t Therapists Keep Better Notes?  Results of a Survey
  • Why Therapists Should Keep Better Notes
  • Good Notes are Not Just Required by Insurance Plans...
  • What Insurance Requires in Initial Evaluations & Progress Notes
  • Documenting Medical Necessity
  • Why There Has Been an Increase in Chart Reviews
  • Sample Progress Notes
  • SOAP Notes, and another Notes Template
  • What to Do if You Fall Behind, and How To Save Time Writing Notes
  • Situations Where You Should Take More-Detailed Notes


11:00 - 11:05 -- general discussion of how to submit questions, when breaks are, etc.
11:05- 11:55 Presentation Part 1 (50 hour min)
11:55 - 12:05 Questions (10 min)
12:05 - 12:15 Break (10 min)
12:15 - 1:20  Presentation Part 2   (1 hr 5 min)
1:20 - 1:30 pm Questions (10 min)

TARGET AUDIENCE: LCSW, LMFT, LPCC, Licensed or pre-licensed therapists nationwide. Please check if CEUs will be available if you are out of state.

If you miss any of the presentation, you will not be eligible for the CEUs.
SCV-CAMFT is a CAMFT-approved Continuing Education Provider (CEPA 052466). This course meets the qualifications of 2.5 continuing education credit for LMFTs, LPCCs, LEPs and/or LCSWs.

The views expressed in presentations made at SCV-CAMFT meetings or events are those of the speaker and not, necessarily, of SCV-CAMFT. Presentations at SCV-CAMFT events do not constitute an endorsement of the vendor or speaker's views, products or services.


SCV-CAMFT               P.O. Box 60814, Palo Alto, CA 94306               mail@scv-camft.org             408-721-2010

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