Semantic analysis

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

It is an analysis that allows researchers and clinicians to identify and classify both the semantic polarities and the positioning within the polarities of the various conversational partners’ positioning within the polarities. Initially developed to analyze transcripts and video recordings of individual, couple and family psychotherapy sessions, it can also be applied to other types of conversations and to literary texts and films.

This semantic analysis allows to identify both the Narrated Semantic Polarities (NSPs) and the Interactive Semantic P(ISPs). The NSPs are the semantic oppositions within which partners define themselves and others, the relationships in which they are involved, the ways in which they relate to and the emotions they feel and attribute to others and the values that inspire them and their conversational partners. These polarities construct the “narrated story” that can be very different from the “lived story” that each conversational partner puts into play when interacting. ISPs are semantic oppositions inferred from the reciprocal positioning that conversational partners enact among them and with the therapist. They answer the question “How does each conversational partner position herself in relation to her interlocutors? How is she positioned by other conversational partners? The ISPs are about what is done rather than what is being said, they are an expression of the “lived story” experienced in therapy which also includes the therapist

WHICH INSTRUMENTS DOES THIS ANALYZES USE?

The FAMILY SEMANTICS GRID, which provides an operational definition of both the Narrated Semantic Polarities (NSPs) and the Interactive Semantic Polarities (ISPs) and details the procedures to identify and classify them, as well as to identify the various conversational partners’ various positioning.

There are four versions of this instrument to which the same number of articles are dedicated.

One version allows the identification of NSPs in transcripts of patient-therapist sessions and in other transcripts of dyadic conversations or monologues:

Ugazio, V., Negri, A., Fellin, L., & Di Pasquale, R. (2009). The Family Semantics Grid (FSG). The narrated polarities. A manual for the semantic analysis of therapeutic conversation and self-narratives.TPM. Testing, Psychometrics and Methodology in Applied Psychology,16(4), 165-192. DOI: 10.4473/TPM.16.4.1

A subsequent version allows the identification and classification of the ISPs in patient and therapist videotaped sessions.

Its objective is to identify the interactions in which patient and therapist leave the roles ascribed.

Thus, these ISPs clearly expres the meanings they are constructing in client – therapist mutual interaction

Ugazio, V., Castelli D. (2015). The Semantics Grid of the Dyadic Therapeutic Relationship (SG-DTR). TPM. Testing, Psychometrics and Methodology in Applied Psychology,22(1),135-159. DOI: 10.4473/TPM22.1.8

We also developed a version that identifies and classifies PSNs within transcripts of family and couple sessions, where the conversational partners are at least three (the couple plus the therapist). This version streamlines and makes the NSPs’ identification and classification procedure more reliable. Therefore it is preferable to use it for identification and classification of NSPs also in dyadic interactions:

Ugazio V. & Guarnieri S. (2017) The Family Semantic Grid II. Narrated polarities in couples. TPM. Testing, Psychometrics and Methodology in Applied Psychology, 24(2) 215-253 DOI: 10.4473/TPM24.2.4

The latest version identifies and classifies the ISPs and the relative positioning of the conversational partners in video recordings of psychotherapeutic couple and family sessions. These are the polarities that most capture the clinical concept of family semantic polarities formulated by Valeria Ugazio:

Ugazio,V. & Guarnieri S., Sotgiu I. (2018) The Family Semantic Grid (FSG) III. Interactive semantic polarities in couples and families. TPM. Testing, Psychometrics and Methodology in Applied Psychology, 25(3),32- DOI: 104473/TPM25.3.2

This semantic analysis is essentially qualitative, but allows a quantification of the data. It has been applied to single case studies, but also to research with relatively numerous participants. However, it is not suitable for studies with large samples as it is a time-consuming analysis.

 WHICH STUDIES DID USE IT?

It has been applied to single case studies, but also to research with relatively numerous participants. However, it is not suitable for studies with large samples as it is a time-consuming analysis.

Ugazio V. & Guarnieri S. (2018) A couple in love entangled in enigmatic episodes. A semantic analysis Journal of Marital and Family Therapy,44,3,438-457 DOI: 10.1111/jmft.12321

Ugazio, V.& Fellin, L. (2016) Family Semantic Polarities and Positionings. A semantic analysis. In Rober,P. & Borcsa  M. (eds.) Research perspectives in couple therapy: Discursive qualitative methods), Cham: Springer, pp. 125-148. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-23306-2_9.

Ugazio, V., Negri A., & Fellin L. (2015) Freedom, Goodness, Power and Belonging: The Semantics of Phobic, Obsessive- compulsive, Eating, and Mood Disorders. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 28 (4), 293-315 DOI: 10.1080/10720537.2014.951109

Ugazio, V., Negri A., & Fellin L. (2017) Libertà, Bontà, Potere e Appartenenza: le semantiche dei disturbi fobici, ossessivo compulsivi, alimentari e dell’umore. Rivista italiana di costruttivismo, 5, 1, Aprile 2017,pp.4-27.

We carried out also other two studies; hopefully, they will be published soon

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