Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

First Advisor

Marcia L. Martin, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Carol Kahn, Ph.D.


While there has been a surge in the texting literature related to the innovative uses of mobile technology in clinical social work practice, there is a dearth of knowledge related to the use of texting between clients and clinicians. Regardless of a clinician’s individual preference for using texting, cultural paradigm shifts in communication and interpersonal expectations will require incorporation of texting technology to meet client demands. This two-part dissertation provides a critical review of the literature that chronicles the rapid diffusion of texting into American culture and identifies its current use in psychotherapy. It demonstrates a significant gap related to its impact on the therapeutic relationship, as well as the absence of theoretical evolution to guide practice. An accompanying article expands relational theory as a way to conceptualize texting and texting behaviors in order to make responsible and purposeful decisions when integrating this technology. Composite case vignettes will demonstrate how “theoretical knowing” can be translated into “clinical doing” to address this current gap between theory and practice.