Making Progress

It's June and for all of us at The Sonatina Center, that means we are reviewing and documenting the progress our clients have made this quarter on their personal goals in music therapy and in art therapy. We do this by writing quarterly progress notes that outline some of the accomplishments we've seen our clients achieve in the last three months and identifying areas of need to focus on as we move forward. Today I'm going to take you through the process I go through when writing progress notes for my music therapy clients. 

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Step One

The first thing I do when I'm preparing to write my progress notes, is review and update current goal progress on my client's treatment plan.  I make note of all achievements and areas of need. Awhile back, I wrote about music therapy goals and why we write them (you can read that here!). During the initial music therapy or art therapy intake, we create a treatment plan that has very specific goals and objectives for our individual clients. In the treatment plan, we also track where the client is presently leveling on that goal using three categories: not yet achieved, emerging skill, and achieved. We also have a section on the treatment plans that we update every quarter with a brief note about the client's present level and progress on that goal.

Step Two

Once I've reviewed and updated my client's treatment plan, I head over to my weekly session notes and go back through the quarter to review and make note of any specific notable moments that occurred in my client's music therapy sessions. I'll also make notes of the activities that were particularly beneficial to my clients so I can be sure to include those in the progress note. Finally, I'll review any experiences that did not go well, and make note of why they were not beneficial to my client.

Step Three

In the next step, I return to my client's treatment plan. If my client has met some of their goals, my next job is to evaluate whether those goals can be expanded on or whether the client is appropriate for termination of services. Reviewing the weekly session notes helps me in this evaluation process and enables me to look at the details of the progress in addition to the big picture that the treatment plan offers. This is also where I might add in new goals and objectives, adjust goals to be applicable to the present needs of the client and remove goals that are no longer relevant. 

Step Four  

Now I am ready to write my progress report! If you are a music therapy client of mine, then you know I break it down into four sections: Background Information, Goal Progress, Summary of Progress, and Recommendations. I've reviewed all pertinent information in my client's file, and I'm ready to share that in a narrative format with my client or with their parent or guardian.  

We write progress notes at the end of every quarter (March, June, September, and December) at the Sonatina Center. Our team of music and art therapists are always evaluating their clients to ensure that music therapy or art therapy is still providing benefits to the individual and that each individual is making progress. We strive to be aware of the changing needs of our clients and provide the highest quality of music and art therapy services that we are trained and qualified for.