Analysis of behavior classification in motivational interviewing

Leili Tavabi, Trang Tran, Kalin Stefanov, Brian Borsari, Joshua D. Woolley, Stefan Scherer, Mohammad Soleymani

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Analysis of client and therapist behavior in counseling sessions can provide helpful insights for assessing the quality of the session and consequently, the client's behavioral outcome. In this paper, we study the automatic classification of standardized behavior codes (i.e. annotations) used for assessment of psychotherapy sessions in Motivational Interviewing (MI). We develop models and examine the classification of client behaviors throughout MI sessions, comparing the performance by models trained on large pretrained embeddings (RoBERTa) versus interpretable and expertselected features (LIWC). Our best performing model using the pretrained RoBERTa embeddings beats the baseline model, achieving an F1 score of 0.66 in the subject-independent 3-class classification. Through statistical analysis on the classification results, we identify prominent LIWC features that may not have been captured by the model using pretrained embeddings. Although classification using LIWC features underperforms RoBERTa, our findings motivate the future direction of incorporating auxiliary tasks in the classification of MI codes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNAACL HLT 2021 - Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology
Subtitle of host publicationImproving Access, Proceedings of the Seventh Workshop
EditorsNazli Goharian, Philip Resnik, Andrew Yates, Molly Ireland, Kate Niederhoffer, Rebecca Resnik
Place of PublicationStroudsburg PA USA
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781954085411
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventWorkshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology 2021: Improving Access - Online, United States of America
Duration: 11 Jun 202111 Jun 2021
Conference number: 7th (Proceedings)


WorkshopWorkshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology 2021
Abbreviated titleCLPsych 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
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