Today I’m going to introduce a project that is one of many formulations of functional assessment I’ve been developing. The current formulation was first put to use more than a year ago with Benji Schoendorff, MSc and the Contextual Psychology Institute (CPI).

Below, you’ll see a data visualization I built around The Matrix. This is best conceptualized as a functional assessment of verbal behavior and experience. The picture below is only one of many formats in which many layers of verbal behaving and actual behavior of individuals (obtained from passively collected mobile phone behavior, web behavior, Apps, Internet of Things (IoT) or other technologies) that can be fed into a real-time data visualization to allow us to see the experience of clients differently.

Though admittedly looking at a visualization such as this will likely feel unnatural for the average clinician at first, I have found that most clinicians comfortable with The Matrix begin to get a sense of what they are seeing quite quickly.

In this post, I will simply show the visualization and the source and describe what you are seeing. Future posts will provide more detail of some of the layers of analysis that go into this visualization of behavior in The Matrix format.

This visualization is a run of my own writing from an earlier post entitled, RFT the Space-time of the Human Universe. Here you will see a moment of time of my own experience reflected in this Matrix. Though we have used this formulation since then it is under development with the Contextual Psychology Institute.

RFT: The Space-time of the Human Universe

Original post to June, 2016 I’m going to start this post off by telling you a little secret. I get a little obsessive with ideas. Give me something interesting to think about and I’m a kid with a Rubik’s cube all over again. When I immersed myself in...

The Matrix Viz

A functional assessment of verbal behaving.

  • This is a data-driven analysis of verbal behavior only, but speaks to experience through detection of patterns of verbal relating on several levels.
  • This is not about “content.” It is driven ideographic relating patters, and to a lesser extent, the nomothetic functions of verbal behavior. It is ideographic in the sense that it reflects that patterns of relating specific to the individual over the time covered. It is nomothetic in the sense that at some level language must have a shared cultural conditioning history to function as a “language.” That is, if we don’t share enough of the same conditioning/relating history with regard to any word, sound, or group of words – they don’t function as language. Therefore, there is a level at which “content” based analysis does become relevant, most analysis of relating is more vector based and places much more importance on “signal” changing across time, person, context, etc.
  • At any moment, we relate many levels of our experience. The “what” of what we relate is the layer most commonly assessed by psychological measures – it is by nature highly biased. “What” we say is highly rule-governed and influenced heavily by contextual factors. It is well appreciated that our ability and willingness to report our experience. This kind of assessment speaks more to the “how” of verbal relating, an indicator of experience. This is, in a way, similar to the difference between asking someone how much they hurt and having them rate 0 (None) to 10 (A Lot)… versus listening to their experience of pain from the warble in their voice or the strength of the words which they use to describe their pain.

The Matrix Viz

A functional assessment of verbal behaving.

What can we see from this visualization?

  • Notice that the content is not sorted simply by base level meaning. There are phrases which on the face of them would appear to belong in another quadrant. They are sorted in a different quadrant because the overall piece of writing and stylistic features (the “how”) place them in a different category. In other words, “latent” levels of relating show you the deeper levels of experience relative to the surface “content” levels.
  • The words are colored red, green, and black in this visualization. These are micro indicators akin to red = aversive, green = appetitive, and black = neutral. So, for example – you can see that in this visualization “personal experience” comes up as both “red” = aversive, and yet, it is in the “Toward” half of The Matrix. This reflects that I was approaching a personal experience that was aversive. This has been done with other data; however, most of that data is currently organizational and proprietary.
  • In the bottom right quadrant, you see indications of my values – again, you must step around surface content to see that I don’t value “dancing” per se but playfulness. This is akin to what you might do in a clinical session, pick out the patterns in relating and try to understand their significance in both the individual’s life and their behavior – allowing you to create relevant and personalized metaphors as well as complete a contextualized case conceptualization (particularly from ACT and FAP perspectives).
  • In the bottom left quadrant, “Thinking/Away” – the main noticable characteristic is the volume of material that shows up, both aversive and appetitive material. Notably, the content is also intellectualized and a bit defused sounding. Anyone who knows me very well, might tell you I’ve been known to over-think.
  • In the top left quadrant, “Sensing/Away,” you see indications of experiences that fall in networks of relations that were being moved away from at this point in time.

Is this more, less, or similarly useful to traditional assessment in the context of intervention?

The Matrix Viz


This formulation that uses several layers of Natural Language Processing.

Data is weighted and sorted by algorithm into layers of relating.



This formulation is available for sale.

We make no current claims about the clinical utility of this formulation over traditional assessment.

If you have comments or questions please submit them in the comments section below.


Angela Cathey, MA

Angela Cathey, MA

Founder, Director, and Consultant

Angela Cathey, M.A. has over ten years of experience in applied and integrative methods to produce better outcomes. Within industry she has worked one-on-one, with organizations, and across systems to create change. This has included data-driven Executive Coaching to help leaders refine their effectiveness and awareness. She has worked as an Organizational Consultant and Data Analyst with organizations to measure and create more adaptive behavior. Her approach is deeply contextual and relies on creating methods and spaces for open communication. She believes that sustainable change must involve integrative, aware solutions that adjust to changing conditions. Her long-term focus is on creating collaborations between knowledge silos and creating integrative supportive technologies. Angela believes that in order for humanity to survive and thrive in increasing complexity, we must attend to creating systems and tools that allow us to better connect to ourselves, each other, and our environments. In order to achieve this, she consults with forward thinking businesses to create innovative products and strategies that support human development.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This