Caveat Emptor for therapy clients part 3: psychotherapy notes

One of the more interesting aspects of filing a licensing complaint against my former therapist turned out to be that after the case was “closed” (the first time) I was able to obtain the full set of the therapists psychotherapy notes, by requesting a copy of the entire file through the Freedom of Information Act.
Now, in most cases the therapist takes a just a sufficient amount of notes to substantiate therapy with you and you have nothing to be concerned about. However, the therapist I’m speaking of wrote some 6-12 page “rants” about me at times….mostly gibberish like psycho-babble …yet 6-12 pages of it! It sort of reminds of the scene in the movie “Contact” at the end where the scientists wonder why the camera recorded 18 minutes (or so) of static when the contraption crashed immediately to the ground! Can you imagine taking up that much of your time on a single client with a “best-guess” diagnosis (no evaluation of any kind)) of depression not otherwise specified? Me neither. This guy had issues…and perhaps an obsession…or simply…he lied.

Even more interesting was that this therapist rarely wrote notes in session! He may have written these after I left, after seeing a few clients in a row, sometime in the middle of the night, after having a drink, or smoking weed …who knows…what I know is that 95% of them were not written during my sessions…and may have been written after I filed the licensing board complaint.

Most therapists will not share “all” of their notes with you. They are allowed to keep a set of “private notes” that are not subject to your legal request to review. This is the set of notes that can and will be used against you in a courtroom should you ever file a malpractice suit against the therapist, or a licensing board complaint. I never knew the therapist had such an extensive bunch of lies…oops I mean notes…about me!
I also do not believe he had them prior to my filing a complaint against him. The first page of the first session alone contained information that I didn’t even tell him about until 4 to 6
months into therapy. The notes as I said above also cycled…meaning that it was as if
subjects of the sessions “rotated around” for 2 and 1/2 years of therapy. Then again, therapy that isn’t working will also go around in circles with no resolve!

What did become clear in reading through the notes was the therapists own counter-transference going on that pervaded my sessions with him. That was interesting!

It’s really kind of a creepy feeling knowing that once you hire a therapist they can write anything they want about you in your official record at any time, and call it their objective experience and opinion! Come to think of it however, if my former therapist ever sees this blog, he’ll probably get creeped out as well!

Again all….Caveat Emptor in regards to Mental Health Professionals!

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2 Responses

  1. That IS creepy! Kind of scary, too. I would think the reviewing board would have to know that the therapist can do this, though, and take that into consideration?

    • The Licensing Agency, the Department of Public Health, I dealt with in Connecticut (there is not a licensing board in this State for LCSW’s,MFT’s or LPC’s) told me I would have to prove it! Now how the heck do you prove what happens behind closed doors and what a therapist can write AT ANY TIME…They know it happens, but sadly do not care! Much easier for them if they don’t have to have a hearing, and the State can keep collecting Licensing fees and taxes!

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