Measuring Linguistic Synchrony in Psychotherapy

Natalie Shapira, Dana Atzil-Slonim, Rivka Tuval Mashiach, Ori Shapira

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

We study the phenomenon of linguistic synchrony between clients and therapists in a psychotherapy process. Linguistic Synchrony (LS) can be viewed as any observed interdependence or association between more than one person’s linguistic behavior. Accordingly, we establish LS as a methodological task. We suggest a LS function that applies a linguistic similarity measure based on the Jensen-Shannon distance across the observed part-of-speech tag distributions (JSDuPos) of the speakers in different time frames. We perform a study over a unique corpus of 872 transcribed sessions, covering 68 clients and 59 therapists. After establishing the presence of client-therapist LS, we verify its association with therapeutic alliance and treatment outcome (measured using WAI and ORS), and additionally analyse the behavior of JSDuPos throughout treatment. Results indicate that (1) higher linguistic similarity at the session level associates with higher therapeutic alliance as reported by the client and therapist at the end of the session, (2) higher linguistic similarity at the session level associates with higher level of treatment outcome as reported by the client at the beginnings of the next sessions, (3) there is a significant linear increase in linguistic similarity throughout treatment, (4) surprisingly, higher LS associates with lower treatment outcome. Finally, we demonstrate how the LS function can be used to interpret and explore the mechanism for synchrony.1

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCLPsych 2022 - 8th Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology, Proceedings
EditorsAyah Zirikly, Dana Atzil-Slonim, Maria Liakata, Steven Bedrick, Bart Desmet, Molly Ireland, Andrew Lee, Sean MacAvaney, Matthew Purver, Rebecca Resnik, Andrew Yates
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Pages158-176
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781955917872
StatePublished - 2022
Event8th Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology, CLPsych 2022 - Seattle, United States
Duration: 15 Jul 2022 → …

Publication series

NameCLPsych 2022 - 8th Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology, Proceedings

Conference

Conference8th Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology, CLPsych 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySeattle
Period15/07/22 → …

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Association for Computational Linguistics.

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Measuring Linguistic Synchrony in Psychotherapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this