How to write a SOAP note

In the world of therapy documentation, SOAP notes are a fundamental tool for therapists to track progress, assess outcomes, and plan future interventions effectively. But what exactly goes into a SOAP note, and how can therapists ensure they are capturing the essential details of each client session? Let's break it down step by step in this comprehensive guide.

Subjective Section (S)

In the subjective section of a SOAP note, therapists can include any topics discussed during the therapy session. This may encompass a range of issues, from reviewing progress since the last session to exploring current challenges and successes. By summarizing these topics in a concise manner, therapists can capture the essence of the client's subjective experience.

Additionally, the subjective section is an opportunity to include client quotes that provide insight into their thoughts and feelings. These quotes offer valuable context and help therapists gain a deeper understanding of the client's perspective.

Ojective Section (O)

Moving on to the objective section, therapists document the client's presentation during the session. This includes assessing mood, affect, and behavior, often resembling a mini mental status exam. By recording these observations objectively, therapists can track changes over time and identify patterns in the client's emotional state.

Interventions are also documented in the objective section, detailing the actions taken by the therapist during the session. From providing active listening and validation to offering coping strategies, these interventions play a crucial role in supporting the client's progress.

Assessment Section (A)

In the assessment section, therapists provide an overview of the client's progress and ongoing challenges. This includes a client progress statement, highlighting improvements since the last session and identifying areas where further growth is needed. By assessing progress in this way, therapists can tailor interventions to meet the client's evolving needs effectively.

Plan Section (P)

Finally, the plan section outlines the next steps and interventions for the client's treatment plan. This includes specifying actions to be taken before the next session, such as practicing relaxation techniques or providing resources for anxiety management. By setting clear goals and expectations, therapists empower clients to take an active role in their healing journey.


In conclusion, mastering SOAP notes is an essential skill for any therapist. By following the guidelines outlined in this guide, therapists can streamline their documentation process and ensure they are capturing the essential details of each client session effectively. So, the next time you sit down to write a SOAP note, remember these tips and make the process faster and easier than ever before. Your clients—and your practice—will thank you for it! If you would like to automate note-taking for your sessions, check out CraftyNotes.