Have you tried to get your therapy notes? - Forums at Psych Central


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Old 03-25-2019, 12:50 AM #1
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Default Have you tried to get your therapy notes?

Did you fail or succeed?

If you failed, what was the reason?

If you succeeded, did it take a lot of convincing? How did that play out? Were you ultimately hurt or helped by reading your notes?

Bonus question:
What type of therapist did you see credentials wise?
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Old 03-25-2019, 02:16 AM #2
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Default Re: Have you tried to get your therapy notes?

My T gave me the notes I asked for when I asked for them. In the UK he has a legal obligation to do so. I only asked for a particular session, and it was very helpful and interesting to read. They were a lot more detailed than I expected and included some of his own hypotheses and thoughts.
My T has been a therapist for 40 years.
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Old 03-25-2019, 04:45 AM #3
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Default Re: Have you tried to get your therapy notes?

i requested my notes from my T after ending six years of therapy with him. he had no issues giving them to me and he even offered to meet with me after i had reviewed them so we could discuss any concerns or issues i may have had.

i found it helpful to read his notes. many of the session notes were quite detailed and some where short and simple. while i was in therapy, i kept my own detailed notes of my sessions in my personal journals and i referred to them often to compare to his notes. there were occasions where he had completely misanalysed me or issues i was trying to communicate to him or his interpretations of what was going on were way out and incorrect, but there were times he was spot on and seemed very attuned to me. i found some of his misinterpretations of me a bit hurtful or even sometimes comical because they were so far off from the truth. but reading these misinterpretations in his notes completely validated an overall 'gut' feeling i had often been struggling with when i was in therapy and confirmed my belief that he did not truly understand or 'see' me for who i was.

we met casually, on two separate occasions, after i completed reviewing his notes and we openly discussed them. personally, i found it incredibly beneficial to do so. it provided us both an opportunity to discuss and revisit some aspects of those six years. i also found it quite healing post therapy, not only to have the chance to share my feelings about some of his misinterpretations, especially about feeling not being 'seen' and understood by him, but i also received an apology from him. in the time since finishing therapy and after our conversations, he has come to recognise and acknowledge some of the unhelpful and hurtful mistakes he made along the way. he sincerely apologised for those errors and i was deeply touched by his gesture.
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Old 03-25-2019, 06:07 AM #4
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Default Re: Have you tried to get your therapy notes?

I asked him and he emailed including his clinical log which was a spreadsheet with the dates I'd seen him, if I'd skipped and short one sentences. It was interesting to see what stood out for him.

I don't have copies for everything, though as I've been seeing him for 2 years and 3 months at the moment, most of that at twice a week so that's a lot of sessions.

I think I might ask again.
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Old 03-25-2019, 06:11 AM #5
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Default Re: Have you tried to get your therapy notes?

I asked to see my notes spontaneously during a session and my T opened up the file on the computer and I read them until I didn't want to read them anymore, maybe 10 minutes. Maybe it was helpful in the sense that I realized I was not so clever at avoiding things, he just never let on to me that he knew I was avoiding, except it was in his notes. The other thing that maybe helped me was realizing that he was very good at describing the content of my therapy without providing any details of my life experience or precisely detailing the issues.
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:19 AM #6
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Default Re: Have you tried to get your therapy notes?

My T has a PhD.

I’ve never asked to see his notes (I honestly don’t even know that he has any), but if/when we end I will ask for them at that time. He is legally obligated to provide them within 30 days.

I have a feeling that if I asked to see them now it would do far more harm than good.
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:22 AM #7
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Default Re: Have you tried to get your therapy notes?

In the US they have to give them to you. I have found though that good T’s keep crappy files as a way of protecting your confidentiality should they ever be court ordered to provide a copy to someone. I never found them to be of much use.
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:29 AM #8
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Default Re: Have you tried to get your therapy notes?

I can't read my T handwriting. I'm pretty sure she writes her notes in Sanskrit. You'd laugh if you saw them.
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:58 AM #9
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Default Re: Have you tried to get your therapy notes?

I was never interested in reading them, and definitely not it actually acquiring them. My T is a PhD. I've seen my notes because there were a few times over the years he actually handed them to me when we were trying to remember something we had talked about previously.

He wasn't one to put much detail in them, so they were basically a rather objective, brief set of phrases stating what we discussed (in broad terms). No detail. No deep, dark insights or even much opinion actually. Nothing I didn't already know.
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Old 03-25-2019, 11:52 AM #10
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Default Re: Have you tried to get your therapy notes?

Never asked. Well I did ask her what she wrote about a particular session (the one where she said I was 'possessed' - whatever, t) and it was so dry and barely anything. I just know she must keep secret notes that are just for her own use, those are the ones I would want to see but that she denies existence of. I just don't see how anyone could remember as much as she does without writing it down. Although she does have copies of many many of of my dreams...
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