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Challenges and possibilities for the linguistic analysis of counseling talk

  • 2019.04.17
  • Event
Psychological counseling is known as the ‘talking cure’ because counselors and clients talk through perceived issues with the latter’s behaviors, cognitions, emotions, and other personal qualities. Although it concerns mental health, counseling talk has attracted linguists who often have an inherent descriptive interest in language across various contexts. Productive collaboration between counselors and linguists is however not straightforward for several reasons. Nuanced linguistic analyses of isolated examples sometimes fall short of applicability because i) no clear connection is made between linguistic variables and counseling processes and outcomes; ii) rich qualitative insights from session fragments need to be balanced with more representative or generalizable insights across higher levels (e.g. multiple sessions and dyads). In this talk, the speaker will present a general overview of these issues and specific analytic approaches that attempt to address them. These include traditional approaches like conversation and discourse analysis of things ranging from formulations to metaphors, as well as more contemporary approaches leveraging on data analytics. In particular, he will share his recent work combining computerized text analysis with clustering techniques to identify recurrent language patterns across multiple sessions. His main objective is to illustrate the exciting possibilities that lie ahead for promising future researchers who want to apply linguistic research in real-world settings.

Speaker: Prof. Dennis Tay

Dennis Tay is associate professor in the Department of English and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, with previous appointments in Singapore and New Zealand. He is interested in cognitive linguistics, metaphor theory, mental healthcare communication, and the statistical modeling of discourse. He is academic editor of PLOS One and review editor of Cognitive Linguistic Studies. His monographs include Metaphor in Psychotherapy. A Descriptive and Prescriptive Analysis (John Benjamins), and more recently, Time Series Analysis of Discourse. Method and Case Studies (Routledge). Both explore the interactions between discourse analysis and other social sciences such as psychology andeconometrics.

Time: 10:30-12:30, Tuesday, April 23th 2019

Venue: Governing Board Meeting Room, Dao Yuan Building