Which note type should I use?

Choosing from SOAP, DAP, GIRP, or EMDR progress note types.

Alena Miklasova avatar
Written by Alena Miklasova
Updated over a week ago

Upheal creates a variety of AI-powered progress note types in order to save healing professionals time on administrative work.

You may already be familiar with these various progress note styles, but just in case you're not, our team of psychotherapists has defined their various benefits for you.


SOAP stands for Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan. This note type is oriented towards effectively tracking the client’s progress, thoughts, behavioral changes, and subjective experiences, as well as facilitating therapeutic insights and enabling effective planning for the next session.

SOAP notes are suited to medicine in general because the subjective and objective sections are separate. However, in mental health sessions, most likely only the physical presentation and assessment results can be recorded.


DAP stands for Data, Assessment, and Plan. It combines subjective and objective data in one section and primarily focuses on the client’s goals and the interventions used to address those goals.

Many mental health professionals prefer the DAP note because it doesn't require the categorization of information as objective or subjective and they can simply include everything as data.


GIRP stands for Goals, Intervention, Response, and Plan. It helps therapists focus on the specific goals and objectives identified by the client for their therapy. It outlines the therapeutic interventions and techniques used, evaluates their effectiveness, and facilitates planning for continued progress and growth.

GIRP-formatted notes are perfect for when a client and mental health professional have defined a clear goal together. It helps show the client their ability to make small steps toward larger objectives, offering encouragement.


EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This approach is primarily used to treat PTSD and traumatic events. EMDR notes may include details about the client’s emotional and physical responses, shifts in beliefs or perceptions, and any insights gained during the session.

EMDR notes allow for very detailed tracking of traumatic memories, associated cognition and emotions, and a scale for the validity of the image/incident itself. Accompanying emotions are rated and located in the body, followed by bilateral stimulation and desensitization.

Did this answer your question?