Practice Management Blog

How to Write a Therapy Treatment Plan (+ Template)

Therapy treatment plans can seem suspiciously similar to administrative legwork. Not a welcome prospect if the administrative responsibilities of running a practice are among your least favorite aspects of working in allied health.

The advantages of effectively drafted therapy treatment plans, however, are worth the effort.

Essentially, treatment plans help therapists structure their approach and track changes over time.

They’re collaborative documents created by therapists in partnership with clients. They provide a focus for sessions and serve as a map dotted with goals to plot therapeutic progress.
It sounds like a lot of work but don’t worry, we’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting for you.

Here’s our guide:

What Should a Therapy Treatment Plan Include?

Among all the information you’ll include in a treatment plan, certain key elements are essential to ensure clarity, efficacy and relevance to client needs.

Let’s break down some of the basic information to incorporate into every treatment plan:

Client Information

Gathering basic client information provides context for understanding the client’s unique circumstances and challenges.

Demographic details like age, gender and cultural background can influence the therapeutic approach. Additionally, knowing the client’s presenting concerns allows therapists to tailor the treatment plan to address specific issues effectively.

Medical History

Medical history includes any past diagnoses or treatments. This information helps therapists assess potential underlying factors that may contribute to the client’s current mental health concerns.

For example, knowledge of a history of trauma or medical conditions like depression or anxiety can impact the therapeutic process and guide treatment decisions.

Assessment & Diagnosis

The assessment phase of a therapy treatment plan involves gathering information through methods like interviews, questionnaires and direct observations to evaluate the client’s mental health status and needs. This may include assessing symptoms, exploring past experiences and identifying underlying factors contributing to the client’s condition.

Once the assessment is complete, a diagnosis may be formulated based on established diagnostic criteria, like those outlined in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) or the ICD-11 (International Classification of Diseases).

This phase lays the groundwork for a focused and targeted therapeutic approach.

Goal-Setting & Objectives

Therapy treatment plans benefit from clear and actionable goals. One widely employed approach in goal-setting is creating “SMART” goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

The Importance of SMART Goals

SMART goals provide a structured framework for goal-setting that enhances clarity, accountability and measurability.

Here’s a breakdown of each component:

  • Specific: Goals should be clearly defined and specific, leaving no room for ambiguity. This ensures that both therapists and clients have a clear understanding of what’s to be achieved.
  • Measurable: Goals should be quantifiable or observable, allowing progress to be tracked objectively.
  • Achievable: Goals should be realistic and attainable within the client’s capabilities and resources. Setting achievable goals fosters motivation and confidence.
  • Relevant: Goals should be relevant to the client’s presenting concerns and aligned with their values, needs and aspirations.
  • Time-Bound: Goals should have a clear timeframe or deadline for achievement. Establishing time-bound goals can create a sense of urgency and momentum.

Example of SMART Goals in a Therapy Treatment Plan

Treatment Plan Example: Presenting Problem – Anxiety

  • Specific: Reduce the frequency of panic attacks from 3 times per week to once per month.
  • Measurable: Track panic attack frequency using a calendar or app.
  • Achievable: Implement relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises daily.
  • Relevant: Improve coping strategies to manage anxiety symptoms and enhance overall well-being.
  • Time-Bound: Achieve goal within 3 months.

Treatment Plan Example: Presenting Problem – Depression

  • Specific: Increase engagement in enjoyable activities by scheduling one enjoyable activity per week.
  • Measurable: Record enjoyable activities and rate mood before and after each activity using an agreed-upon scale.
  • Achievable: Identify and prioritize activities that bring pleasure and satisfaction.
  • Relevant: Address symptoms of anhedonia and low motivation commonly associated with depression.
  • Time-Bound: Achieve goal within 6 weeks.

Treatment Plan Example: Presenting Problem – Unresolved Grief

  • Specific: Process and manage feelings of grief related to the loss of the client’s loved one by establishing coping strategies.
  • Measurable: Rate emotional distress related to grief on a scale of 1 to 10 during therapy sessions, with the goal of reducing distress from an initial rating of 8 to a rating of 4 within three months.
  • Achievable: Engage in weekly grief support group sessions to connect with others who have experienced similar losses and learn coping skills. Additionally, explore and practice self-care activities such as journaling, exercise and spending time with friends and family.
  • Relevant: Address bouts of seemingly overwhelming grief for overall mental and emotional well-being, allowing the individual to honor their loss, adjust to life changes and find meaning and purpose moving forward.
  • Time-Bound: Achieve a reduction in emotional distress related to grief within three months of therapy initiation, with ongoing evaluation and adjustment as needed.

Treatment Interventions

Treatment interventions refer to the strategies and techniques employed to address specific goals identified in the treatment plan. They must be tailored to the client’s individual needs and circumstances.

Tailoring Interventions to Specific Goals

Treatment interventions are selected based on their relevance to the client’s identified goals and presenting concerns. By aligning interventions with objectives outlined in the treatment plan, therapists can address the underlying factors contributing to the client’s difficulties.

Examples of treatment interventions include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a structured, goal-oriented therapy approach that focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and behaviors. Therapists work with clients to explore the connection between thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and develop strategies to replace unhelpful patterns with more adaptive ones.

Mindfulness Techniques

Mindfulness techniques involve cultivating present-moment awareness and acceptance of thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. Mindfulness-based interventions, such as mindfulness meditation and body scan exercises, help clients develop greater self-awareness and stress reduction skills.

Communication Skills Training

Communication skills training focuses on improving interpersonal communication and relational dynamics. Unsurprisingly, this makes it a popular intervention for couples counseling.
Therapists help clients develop effective communication skills such as active listening, assertiveness and conflict resolution.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a behavioral therapy approach used to treat anxiety disorders, phobias and trauma-related disorders. It involves gradually exposing clients to feared stimuli or situations in a controlled and systematic manner, allowing them to confront and overcome their fears.

Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a psychotherapy approach primarily used to help clients reduce the distress that’s triggered by upsetting or traumatic memories. EMDR is based on the idea that traumatic experiences can become “stuck” in the brain’s memory networks, leading to ongoing emotional distress and symptoms.

During EMDR sessions, clients are guided by their therapist to recall distressing memories while simultaneously engaging in bilateral stimulation, such as following the therapist’s hand movements or listening to alternating auditory tones.

Therapy Treatment Plan Example

Crafting an effective therapy treatment plan doesn’t have to be a taxing experience. One strategy to simplify drafting mental health treatment plans is to use a pre-designed template.
Templates can provide a structured framework to streamline the drafting process and ensure essential components are included. Choose practice management software like Power Diary that includes configurable treatment plan templates. Or check out our downloadable PDF template for a helpful starting point.

Here’s an example of the elements you can expect to include in a therapy treatment plan:

  • Client information: Here, you’ll record basic demographic details about the client, including their name, age, contact information and any relevant medical history.
  • Presenting concerns: Clearly articulate the client’s primary reasons for seeking therapy, including any symptoms, challenges or issues they wish to address. This section serves as a blueprint for identifying the client’s therapeutic needs and setting appropriate goals.
  • Goals: Collaboratively establish specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) goals that reflect the client’s desired outcomes and objectives for therapy.
  • Interventions: Outline the therapeutic interventions and strategies that will be employed to support the client in achieving their goals. This may include specific therapeutic approaches such as CBT or mindfulness techniques and strategies tailored to the client’s individual needs and preferences.
  • Session frequency: Determine the frequency and duration of therapy sessions based on the client’s needs, availability and treatment goals. Clearly communicate the expected frequency of sessions to ensure consistency and progress in the therapeutic process.
  • Estimated treatment duration: Provide an estimated timeline for the duration of therapy based on the client’s goals, presenting concerns and progress indicators. While the duration of therapy may vary depending on individual factors, providing an estimated timeframe helps set realistic expectations.

Monitoring Progress & Collaboration with Clients

As important as effective goal-setting is when developing a treatment plan, it’s equally important that you monitor progress toward treatment goals in collaboration with your client. In fact, peer-reviewed studies support the hypothesis that active therapist-client collaboration in monitoring treatment progress tends to improve treatment outcomes.

Importance of Tracking Progress

  • Evaluation and Adjustment: Regularly monitoring progress toward treatment goals allows therapists to evaluate whether the current approach is yielding the desired outcomes. By tracking progress, therapists can identify areas of improvement, address any challenges encountered and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
  • Accountability and Motivation: Tracking progress provides clients with a tangible measure of their growth and achievements, fostering a sense of accountability and motivation to continue working towards their goals. Celebrating milestones and acknowledging progress can boost confidence and reinforce the client’s commitment to therapy.
  • Identification of Patterns: Monitoring progress allows therapists to identify patterns and trends in the client’s behavior, emotions and thoughts over time.

The Importance of Collaboration With Clients

  • Client-Centered Approach: By involving clients in the treatment planning process, therapists empower them to take an active role in their own healing journey.
  • Shared Decision-Making: Collaborative treatment planning (and monitoring) fosters a sense of partnership. Clients are encouraged to provide feedback on their progress, express any concerns or preferences and actively participate in revising the treatment plan as needed. This collaborative approach promotes trust and transparency in the therapeutic relationship.
  • Enhanced Engagement and Ownership: When clients feel involved in the treatment planning process, they’re more likely to feel invested in therapy and motivated to actively engage in the therapeutic process. Active collaboration enhances clients’ sense of ownership over treatment goals and strategies.
Download a Behavioral Health Treatment Plan Template

How to Use a Treatment Plan Template with your EHR

Streamline documentation and maintain client records professionally by using treatment plan templates in a secure Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. This promotes consistency in treatment planning and facilitates communication and collaboration among members of the care team.

Advanced practice management software like Power Diary includes a template library with pre-designed treatment plan templates for multiple specialties. These templates serve as a convenient starting point for therapists to create mental health treatment plans tailored to client needs.

Benefits of Using an EHR for Treatment Planning

By leveraging the features and benefits of EHR software, therapists can streamline documentation, enhance collaboration and ultimately improve client care and outcomes.


A well-written treatment plan offers clarity, structure and efficiency in guiding the therapeutic process. It ensures that interventions are targeted, evidence-based and aligned with the client’s objectives, leading to more meaningful and impactful outcomes.

To experience the benefits of streamlined treatment planning firsthand, start a 14-day Free Trial of Power Diary today.

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