Therapists observations need to be included in documentation but sometimes you’re writing and you just can’t think of the right words. Maybe you find yourself using the same affect words over and over. This post is just what you need to find words to describe therapists observations of a client’s affect, attitude, behavior, cognition or other terminology you may need for a progress note.

Affect (Mood)

  • Blunted
  • Curt
  • Jovial
  • Tearful
  • Enthusiastic
  • Dejected
  • Depressed
  • Flat
  • Shallow
  • Dispirited
  • Controlled
  • Detached
  • Placid
  • Preoccupied
  • Passive
  • Tranquil
  • Restless
  • Affable
  • Agreeable
  • Pleasant
  • Euphoric
  • Joyful
  • Carefree
  • Jovial
  • Elated
  • Cheerful
  • Optimistic
  • Somber
  • Sedate
  • Personable
  • Serious
  • Grave
  • Brooding
  • Despondent
  • Hopeless
  • Appropriate
  • Emotionally labile (mood swings)

Attitude

  • Belligerent
  • Suspicious
  • Apathetic
  • Indifferent
  • Distrustful
  • Optimistic
  • Hopeful
  • Angry
  • Anxious
  • Hostile
  • Critical

Appearance

  • Emaciated
  • Slovenly
  • Disheveled
  • Neat
  • Well-groomed
  • Poor hygiene
  • Well-dressed
  • Flashy
  • Gaudy
  • Messy
  • Tidy
  • Sloppy
  • Dressed appropriate to weather or situation
  • Dressed provocatively

Behavior

  • Excitable
  • Impulsive
  • Reckless
  • Impetuous
  • Hasty
  • Hurried
  • Abrupt
  • Blunt
  • Spontaneous
  • Serene
  • Cautious
  • Careful
  • Deliberate
  • Controllable
  • People pleasing
  • Lethargic
  • Self-possessed
  • Cool-headed
  • Hot-headed
  • Talkative
  • Uncooperative
  • Cooperative
  • Aggressive
  • Forceful
  • Assertive
  • Confident
  • Decisive
  • Indecisive
  • Leadership
  • Domineering
  • Compliant
  • Timid
  • Meek
  • Obedient
  • Consistent
  • Meticulous
  • Erratic
  • Dependable
  • Reliable
  • Organized
  • Unorganized
  • Reactionary

Interaction

  • Meddlesome
  • Intimate
  • Gregarious
  • Reserved
  • Hesitant
  • Accessible
  • Approachable
  • Bashful
  • Reticent
  • Shy
  • Shrinking
  • Solitary
  • Isolated

Self-esteem

  • Self-exalted
  • Pompous
  • Conceited
  • Boastful
  • Vain
  • Cocky
  • Confident
  • Self-respectful
  • Self-assured
  • Modest
  • Proper
  • Humble
  • Unassuming
  • Unpretentious
  • Pretentious
  • Self-doubtful
  • Self-effacing
  • Forlorn
  • Miserable

Socialization

  • Dependent
  • Possessive
  • Hostile
  • Resistive
  • Uncooperative
  • Cooperative
  • Belligerent
  • Sarcastic
  • Critical
  • Judgmental
  • Provocative
  • Jealous
  • Demanding
  • Helpful
  • Supportive
  • Ingratiating
  • Conforming
  • Manipulative
  • Domineering
  • Exhibitionist
  • Competitive
  • Defensive
  • Accepting

Cognition

  • Judgement
  • Problem-solving
  • Decision making
  • Goal setting
  • Comprehension
  • Memory

Flexibility

  • Inflexible
  • Conventional
  • Rigid
  • Stubborn
  • Tenacious
  • Unbending
  • Adaptable
  • Docile
  • Yielding
  • Spineless
  • Habitual
  • Repetitious
  • Superstitious
  • Highly suggestible

Orientation

  • Oriented (or disoriented) to
    • Person
    • Place
    • Time
    • Situation
    • Familiar objects
    • Other people
  • Forgetful
  • Confused
  • Memory loss
  • Poor memory for recent events
  • Poor memory for personal history
  • Wanders
  • Easily distracted
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusional
  • Detached
  • Distant

Psychomotor

  • Agitated
  • Nervous
  • Fidgeting
  • Restless
  • Grimacing
  • Hyperactive
  • Lethargic
  • Posturing
  • Seductive
  • Hostile
  • Rigid
  • Slow
  • Quick
  • Hurried
  • Slouching

Speech

  • Sarcastic
  • Gossiping
  • Vulgar
  • Obscene
  • Incoherent
  • Babbling
  • Rambling
  • Bizarre
  • Negative
  • Irrational
  • Paranoid
  • Hostile
  • Superficial
  • Obsessive
  • Ideation
  • Critical
  • Ideas of reference (thinking innocuous events as being personally significant)
  • Euphoric
  • Inconsistent
  • Insightful
  • Ambivalent
  • Flight of ideas (rapid shifting of ideas loosely connected)
  • Confabulation (fabricated or distorted memories)
  • Eloquent
  • Fluent
  • Poetical
  • Witty
  • Contemplative
  • Frank
  • Candid
  • Evasive
  • Literal

Rhythm

  • Slow
  • Trembling
  • Halted
  • Slurring
  • Stammering
  • Dysphasia (disorder of language or the process in which thoughts and ideas become spoken)
  • Dysarthria (disorder of speech or articulation and pronunciation)
  • Aphasia (disturbance of the comprehension and formulation of language caused by dysfunction in specific brain regions)
  • Natural
  • Cadence (inflection of voice)
  • Rhythmic

Tone

  • Loud
  • Soft
  • Low
  • Boisterous
  • Exuberant
  • Lively
  • Mellow
  • Sober
  • Monotonous
  • Inarticulate

Reflection (Warmth)

  • Doting
  • Compassionate
  • Congenial
  • Tender
  • Considerate
  • Cool
  • Unresponsive
  • Detached
  • Frigid
  • Unfeeling
  • Passionate
  • Fervent (Enthusiastic)
  • Vehement (Intense)
  • Disdainful (Scornful)
  • Excessive