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Enhancing Online Therapy for Second Language Speakers Through Understanding Listening and Reading Rates

Enhancing Online Therapy for Second Language Speakers Through Understanding Listening and Reading Rates

Online therapy services have significantly expanded access to mental health support, particularly for populations that may face barriers to traditional therapy methods, such as second language speakers. A key factor in the effectiveness of these services is the ability to tailor communication styles to the needs of the client, especially in terms of listening and reading rates. A deeper understanding of these aspects can significantly enhance the therapeutic process for individuals who speak English as a second language.

Research by Leeper and Mashunkashey (1979) provides valuable insights into the listening rate preferences and oral reading rates of second language speakers, offering implications for online therapy. Their study revealed that the most preferred listening rate for adult male college students, who learned English as a second language, was 200 words per minute (wpm), with the least preferred rates being 100 and 300 wpm. Interestingly, their mean oral reading rate was significantly lower, at 108 wpm, showing a low correlation with their preferred listening rate.

These findings suggest that second language speakers might prefer to receive spoken information at a faster rate than they can read aloud in English. This discrepancy highlights the importance of adjusting the pace of spoken content in online therapy sessions to align with the client's listening preferences, potentially improving comprehension and engagement.

Furthermore, the study underlines the impact of phonological structure of the native language on rate preferences. This indicates that therapists should consider the linguistic background of their clients when planning and delivering therapy sessions, possibly incorporating varying speech rates to match their comfort levels.

Implementing the outcomes of this research can help practitioners improve their skills by:

For online therapy practitioners working with second language speakers, these insights can guide the development of more effective communication strategies, ultimately fostering a more supportive and understanding therapeutic environment.

To read the original research paper, please follow this link: A Correlational Study of Listening Rate Preference and Oral Reading Rates of Second Language Speakers.

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