University of Twente Student Theses


Referential Activity in the E-Therapy Program “Look at Your Drinking” – A Text-Mining Approach

Giesler, L. (2019) Referential Activity in the E-Therapy Program “Look at Your Drinking” – A Text-Mining Approach.

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Abstract:Introduction: The verbal exchange between therapist and client in the psychotherapeutic setting provides opportunities to express emotions, thoughts, intentions, and motivations. Analysing linguistic properties in the verbal exchange of client and counsellor can be helpful in understanding the process and outcome of psychotherapy. One psycholinguistic variable related to the process and outcome of psychotherapy is referential activity (RA). RA is the degree to which a person expresses nonverbal experience, such as emotions, imagery and bodily experience, verbally. Patterns of RA were identified in an online therapy setting focusing on the timing of the program, clients who completed or stopped prematurely, and whether counsellors and clients displayed synchronicity in their levels of RA. Method: The data was retrieved from the online program “Look at your drinking”. The sample consisted of nine English speaking clients and the email sequences between the clients and counsellor were analysed. The emails were analysed by using the Weighted Referential Activity Dictionary (WRAD) from the Discourse Attributes Analysis Program (DAAP). The WRAD provides the DAAP with a weighted list of words, whereas the DAAP calculates the RA scores of given text sequences. Patterns of RA were identified in all cases. Results: First, seven out of nine clients scored highest on referential activity at the beginning of the program, whereas two clients scored highest at the end of the program. Second, two clients who completed the program are within top four of the highest referential activity measured. Third, synchronicity between client and counsellor referential activity was mostly visible at the beginning of the program and less towards the end of the program. Conclusion: This study shows that RA can be meaningfully detected in digital data and therefore, can be used as a variable to assess process and outcome of an e-therapy program. Further research about the three findings of this study should be conducted to gain a deeper understanding of what makes a program effective and to provide the counsellor with an effective tool to access and monitor the progress and possible outcomes of the e-therapy
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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