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Title: wtf? : the role of netspeak on levels of distress in internet based therapies and subsequent impact on therapist understanding
Author: Daynes, Lu
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 1638
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2012
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Internet-based therapies are growing in number and popularity and cover a diverse range of practices for both individuals and groups. In concordance with the hyperpersonal theory and online disinhibition effect, people more readily disclose personal information when conducted via the internet. Due to technological constraints and social interactions, a non-standard language developed and has widely been termed “netspeak” (Crystal, 2006). Emotional words are processed differently to non-emotional words. Further, people do not connect with abbreviations on the same emotional level as they do when the words are written in full. Three studies were conducted: the first focused on assessing if a short emotionally evocative mini-biography had an emotional impact on participants. This material was then used in a second study which was a mass-testing of 62 young people on whether netspeak can change the impact on mood. The study used 3 conditions whereby participants re-wrote the mini-biography into either full English, using Netspeak or in their own words. A new vignette was created from the Netspeak condition to use as material for a third study. This final study was conducted via email into how much a psychological therapist understood what had been written in the Netspeak vignette. No differences were seen from re-writing an emotional biography in netspeak to English. Although psychological therapists demonstrated some understanding of the netspeak vignette, there was evidence of misinterpretation, presumption and misunderstanding suggesting that there may be some barrier to communication in internet therapy. The clinical implications of this research suggest that psychological therapists need to reflect on their practice in order to be aware of the level of assumption that can be made during therapy.
Supervisor: Fullwood, Chris Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Couns.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: textspeak ; netspeak ; communication ; internet ; therapy ; understanding ; counselling