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Monday, January 22nd 2018

Collaborative Therapeutic In-Session Note Taking

Facilitator: Bonnie Miller, MSW, RSW
presented by SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health / Hincks-Dellcrest Institute

This Training is Suitable for: Therapists, social workers, in-home workers, health services workers, education/school staff; anyone in a helping capacity who is obligated to keep records of their work, and who sees clients, whether single session meetings or over a number of meetings.

Description: This workshop will introduce an in-session note taking method that is ethical, informative and therapeutic. Learn how to use note taking to make overwhelming, long-standing problems manageable. Understand how to map visually the problem and effects to identify starting points for change, and use in-session notes to document strengths and next steps. More


When people engage in a helping conversation, there is often a sense that something special has taken place, that something has been made sense of in a new and useful way. However, this “sense of something” often fades once the person leaves the consulting room. It is easy to forget the details of the conversation, and people often find that the problem reasserts itself in a persistent and overbearing way once they are outside of the therapy conversation.

In a different way, helpers can be burdened by the responsibility of record keeping and find themselves reducing a useful conversation to a few lines of problem-saturated writing that may or may not accurately reflect the scope of the conversation.

Ethical approaches to records invite us to consider the effect of what we write in a person or family’s record. This, along with time constraints and heavy caseloads, underscores the usefulness of in-session and collaborative note-making processes.

This workshop will introduce an in-session note taking method that is ethical, informative and therapeutic.

Participants Will Learn To:

Use note taking to make overwhelming, long-standing problems manageable
Map visually the problem and problem effects to identify starting points for change
Use in-session notes to document strengths and next steps

About the Presenter:

Bonnie Miller has a busy private practice, where she specializes in working with people whose lives are influenced by anger, family conflict, depression and anxiety. Bonnie also works part-time in a family health team setting, engaging in therapeutic conversations with people on a wide variety of issues, such as identity issues related to grief, loss and serious health concerns, the impact and meaning of growing older, concerns related to sexuality, couple conflict, parenting and family change. Bonnie has been practising in the field since 1990 and has grounded her work in post-structural and narrative therapy practices since 2002. Bonnie also taught the advanced year-long brief and narrative therapy extern program for several years at the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, Gail Appel Institute, providing skills development and live supervision to experienced practitioners in the helping professions. She has presented at conferences across Canada and in the U.S., and values the important intersections between clinical work, reflective practices and the rich opportunities for mutual influence in teaching and training.


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