Counseling Online and Over the Phone: When Preclosing Questions Fail as a Closing Device

Wyke Stommel*, Hedwig te Molder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
617 Downloads (Pure)


In this article, we present an analysis of closings in two counseling media: online, text-based exchanges (usually referred to as “chat” sessions) and telephone calls. Previous research has found that the participant who initiated a conversation preferably also initiates its termination with a possible preclosing. Advice acknowledgments, lying in the epistemic domain of the client, are devices that may work as preclosings. However, in text-based chat clients regularly refrain from advice acknowledgment. While counselors use various practices to elicit advice acknowledgment in the context of potential advice resistance, hoaxing, and/or seemingly long pauses, these questions do not always succeed as “closing devices.” This offers an explanation for counselors’ perception of online chatting as more difficult than calling. The data are in Dutch with English translation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-300
Number of pages20
JournalResearch on language and social interaction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2015


  • n/a OA procedure


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