Progress Notes For Mental Health Counselors Template

Get access to a free progress notes template for mental health counselors, guaranteed to improve the accuracy and organization of your clinical documents.

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What is a Mental Health Counselors Progress Notes Template?

Progress notes are legal documents that healthcare practitioners, including mental health counselors, are required to complete. They serve a range of different functions, the most important of which is tracking the progress of a patient’s care treatment. Progress notes are typically written after every session with a patient and then they need to be stored in a secure and accessible way. These documents can be shared between members of a patient’s care team, as well as insurance and legal providers, meaning that easy access is very important. Progress notes can be formatted in different ways, but there are certain kinds of information that need to be documented, including:

  • Patient credentials
  • Patient’s chief concern, symptoms, and history of presenting concern
  • Interventions used in session
  • Any test, examination, or assessment results
  • Diagnosis and medication where relevant
  • Treatment plan including short and long-term goals

As you can see, there’s a lot of information that needs to be covered and sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of everything you need to document. To help simplify this process for , we’ve created an intuitive progress note template for you to implement into your practice. You simply have to click the link to access our PDF, and from here you can either edit it online or print it out if you’d prefer a physical copy.

Free Progress Notes For Mental Health Counselors Template

Check out these progress note templates for mental health counselors to improve your clinical documentation, workflow, and counseling outcomes.

How to Use This Progress Note Template for Mental Health Counselors 

Mental health counseling practices are busy places. In addition to seeing (usually numerous) patients, they have a range of different administrative tasks that require completing. This is why we’ve made sure that using our progress note template will simplify the clinical documentation process, and hopefully save you time. In order to utilize our template, follow these steps

Step One: Access the template

We’ve included a link to the progress note template on this page and you simply have to click the link and you’ll be taken to a PDF version of the document. We recommend saving this template to your device so you have easy access when you need it in the future. From here, you have two main options: you can either print the template out and write on a physical copy, or you can type the information into an online document. 

Step Two: Complete the progress note

After you have had a session with a client, it’s time to fill out the progress note. It’s a good idea to have the document ready so you can quickly access it and write the note immediately following a session. Making sure that you write your progress notes in a timely manner is important – you want to ensure that you aren’t forgetting any important details. 

Step Three: Store the note securely 

Progress notes contain PHI and as such, they need to be protected. After you have finished writing your mental health progress note, it’s time to store it securely. You have a couple of options for this. If you have printed the template and filled in a physical copy, you can store it using a filing cabinet (or something similar) that can be locked and secured. Alternatively, if you’ve completed an online version, you can store the progress note using an EHR system or other online platform. While either of these options are fine, we definitely recommend using an online system – these tend to have more stringent safeguard options, and are also more easily accessed.

Mental Health Counselors Progress Notes Example (Sample)

To help you visualize exactly what our mental health counselor’s progress note will look like in action, we’ve filled out a sample document. While the information you write will be dependent on the type of session that you’ve had with a patient, this example should give you a bit of an insight into the kind of information that is included, and how the template is formatted.

Download this Mental Health Counselors Progress Notes Example here: 

Mental Health Counselors Progress Notes Example (Sample)

Who Can Use this Mental Health Counselors Template?

Sometimes simplicity is best, and this is the attitude we’ve adopted in the creation of this progress note template. We have tried to ensure that it is as versatile as possible so it can be applied to a wide range of different mental health counselors. Regardless of whether you are a trainee counselor or a seasoned professional, our template should easily slot into your practice. Our progress note template is also applicable for patients who are being treated for a range of different reasons, including the following:

  • Mental health disorders, for example, anxiety or depression. 
  • Stressful life events, including infertility, divorce, or the breakdown of a family relationship. 
  • Work or career related stress and anxiety.
  • Sexual identity. 
  • Emotions that are difficult to manage, including low self-esteem or anger.

Further, you can use our progress note template for patients of all different ages, including children, teenagers, and adults. We know how hard it can be finding resources that are applicable to all of a mental health counselor’s patients and so this is an area that we’ve tried to target with our progress note template.

Why is This Template Useful for Mental Health Counselors?

This progress note template has various uses for mental health counselors. These include the following:

  • Organization: If you choose to use our progress note template, you will be guaranteed a boost in the organization of your documentation process. The templates can be saved and stored in a single place (either electronically or physically), making accessibility extremely easy. When you need to complete a progress note, you can simply access the place where you store your templates and from there immediately start editing the document. 
  • Saves time: One of the most beneficial uses of our progress note template is how much time it will save you. Rather than designing and formatting every progress note from scratch, you can instead just write directly into the document that we’ve already created. Skipping this step will save you countless hours, which can instead be spent completing more pressing tasks. 
  • Accuracy: Because our progress note template’s structure has been pre-designed for you, you can rest assured that your documents will contain accurate and comprehensive information.

Benefits Of Using The Mental Health Counselors Progress Note Template 

In addition to having a range of different uses for mental health counselors, our progress notes template is also guaranteed to benefit your practice, your patients, and the wider healthcare community. Some of the associated advantages include:

Track the progress of your patients

The primary purpose of progress notes is to track the progress of your patients. With our template, you will be able to do this in a more effective and efficient way. Our progress note template ensures that you don’t forget any important details and that your documents are being written in a cohesive and comprehensive way. You’ll be able to access the progress notes of a particular patient and easily assess how much the patient has achieved over a period of time. 


Our progress note template also guarantees consistency across all of your progress notes, which has a couple of further benefits. It makes it much easier for you to analyze the progress of your patients and determine the specific goals that they have achieved. It is also greatly beneficial for the members of a patient’s care team and other authorized users. When these third-parties request access to your progress notes, they will be able to quickly and easily extract the information they are looking for from the documents. 


Importantly, using a progress note template will also streamline the documentation process at your mental health counseling practice which in turn will boost productivity. It can be quite hard to find solutions that help healthcare practitioners save time without reducing the quality of the work that they are completing, but this is exactly what our template aims to do. You can encourage all practitioners to stay on top of their progress notes and focus on accuracy, all while saving a lot of time. 

More informed clinical decisions 

Progress notes that are consistent, organized, and accurate ultimately lead to more informed treatment decisions which in turn contribute to better overall clinical outcomes. Healthcare practitioners rely on accurate documentation in order to obtain a comprehensive overview of their patient’s condition, so that they can make the most appropriate clinical decisions. 

Insurance providers 

Lastly, if a patient’s insurance provider is paying for the services they receive, it is likely that the provider will request to view documentation, including the patient’s progress notes. By utilizing our template, you can make sure that this process occurs as smoothly as possible, leading to faster reimbursement.

Commonly asked questions

What is the most recommended format for documenting progress notes?

There are a range of different formats that you can use when writing your mental health progress notes – including SOAP, BIRP, and DAP. The most popular of these is SOAP, a format that separates information into four sections: subjective, objective, assessment, and plan. At the end of the day, the specific format that you use to structure your notes isn’t overly important, especially as they all cover the same kinds of information. What is important is that you are diligent and accurate in how you write your progress notes.

What should a therapy progress note include?

The exact contents of a therapy progress note will of course depend on what you covered during the relevant session. You need to record every component of a session with a client that was notable and/or relevant to their treatment. Your notes should be detailed yet concise, and a handy phrase to remember is: “If it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen”

How long should a progress note be?

Once again, the length of a mental health progress note will depend on the contents of the session you are writing about. You want the document to cover everything that was relevant in the session, but you should also maintain clarity and conciseness. A good rule of thumb is to keep your progress notes between 1-2 pages.

Why Use Carepatron For Mental Health Counselors Progress Notes?

One of the best ways that a mental health counseling business can improve their clinical documentation is to implement practice management software like Carepatron. Carepatron is an all-in-one online solution that has been designed to improve various clinical and administrative tasks at healthcare practices, including the creation and storage of progress notes. In addition to having a robust resource library of templates on offer, Carepatron has developed a sophisticated voice-to-text transcription software that allows practitioners to significantly cut down on the amount of time they spend writing their documentation. As a cloud-based software, Carepatron also allows you to store your progress notes (and any other documents) in their system, and they employ physical and electronic safeguards to ensure your patients’ privacy is protected at all times. Finding ways to improve the processes at your counseling practice is in the best interest of both practitioners and patients, and this is where Carepatron can excel. Get started with the platform for free today, and watch as you save significant amounts of both time and money – all while improving the accuracy of your progress notes.

Mental Health Software
What is the most recommended format for documenting progress notes?
What is the most recommended format for documenting progress notes?
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