Project "Constitution of meaning in social interaction (interactional semantics)"

Clarification of meaning in psychotherapy

This project focuses on the constitution and elaboration of meaning in psychodiagnostic interviews. Starting point of the analysis are reactions to patients’ descriptions in which therapists request further explication or illustration. Patients are prompted to elaborate on the meaning of their previous descriptions. We analyze questions, (re)formulations, and requests for examples that aim to solve problems of incomprehension, uncertainty, or vagueness. Practices of meaning constitution are analyzed in their local origin as well as with regard to their applied potential, for example with respect to psychodynamic diagnostics.


  • Marciniak, Agnieszka / Ehrenthal, Johannes C. / Nikendei, Christoph / Spranz-Fogasy, Thomas (2016). "... durch Worte Heilen" – Linguistik und Psychotherapie [„... healing through words“ – Linguistics and Psychotherapy]. In: Sprachreport 3/2016, pp. 1-11. PDF
  • Mack, Christina / Nikendei, Christoph / Ehrenthal, Johannes / Spranz-Fogasy, Thomas (2016). "[...] hab ich glaub ich die richtigen Fragen gestellt". Therapeutische Fragehandlungen in psychodiagnostischen Gesprächen ["[...] I think I asked the right questions". Therapeutic questions in psychodiagnostic interviews]. Mannheim: Institute for the German Language. PDF

Contact: Prof. Dr. Thomas Spranz-Fogasy, spranz(at)