We perform large-scale, quantitative studies on counseling conversations to better understand what factors drive positive conversation outcomes.
Mental illness is one of the most pressing public health issues of our time. While counseling and psychotherapy can be effective treatments, our knowledge about how to conduct successful counseling conversations has been limited because previous studies are largely qualitative and small-scale. In this work, we present a large-scale, quantitative study on the discourse of text-message-based counseling conversations. We develop a set of novel computational discourse analysis methods to measure how various linguistic aspects of conversations are correlated with conversation outcomes. Applying techniques such as sequence-based conversation models, language model comparisons, message clustering, and psycholinguistics-inspired word frequency analyses, we discover actionable conversation strategies that are associated with better conversation outcomes.
Researchers can obtain access to the dataset (over 13M messages) used in our work through Crisis Text Line.
Tim Althoff, Kevin Clark, Jure Leskovec. Large-scale Analysis of Counseling Conversations: An Application of Natural Language Processing to Mental Health. TACL, 2016.Bibtex Reference
The following people contributed to the crisis counseling project:Tim Althoff