How to write DAP Progress Notes

In this short guide, we'll break down how to write effective DAP (Data, Assessment, Plan) progress notes for your therapy sessions step by step, making it the fastest and easiest training you've ever experienced on DAP notes. Whether you're a seasoned therapist looking to refresh your skills or a newbie navigating the world of therapy documentation, this guide has got you covered.

Understanding DAP Notes

DAP notes are an essential part of therapy documentation, providing a concise yet comprehensive overview of each client session. They help therapists track progress, assess outcomes, and plan future interventions effectively. Let's dive into each section of the DAP note and explore how to optimize them for efficient and effective communication.

Data Section (D)

In the data section of your DAP note, you'll summarize the key topics discussed during the therapy session. Keep it simple by listing out topics discussed and adding a few phrases to capture the essence of the conversation. Additionally, include any insightful client quotes and therapist interventions. Remember to keep the phrases short and concise, focusing on the most relevant information.

Assessment Section (A)

The assessment section of your DAP note is where you'll provide an overview of the client's presentation and progress. Use brief phrases to describe the client's mood, affect, and behavior, resembling a mini mental status exam. Then, highlight the client's progress towards treatment goals and any ongoing impairments or challenges they may be facing. This section serves as a snapshot of the client's current status and helps track their journey throughout therapy.

Plan Section (P)

In the plan section of your DAP note, outline the next steps and interventions for the client's treatment plan. Specify when the next appointment will take place and detail any actions or resources planned before the next session. This could include referrals, homework assignments, or reflections for the client to work on independently. By providing a clear plan, you set expectations and empower clients to take an active role in their healing process.


Mastering DAP progress notes is an essential skill for any therapist, ensuring effective communication and documentation of client sessions. By following the simple guidelines outlined in this guide, you can streamline your note-taking process and focus on what matters most—supporting your clients on their journey towards healing and growth. So, next time you sit down to write a DAP note, remember these tips and make the process faster and easier than ever before. Your clients—and your sanity—will thank you for it! If you would like to automate note-taking for your sessions, check out CraftyNotes.