Conversation therapy for aphasia: a qualitative review of the literature

Simmons-Mackie, Nina, Savage, Meghan C. and Worrall, Linda (2014) Conversation therapy for aphasia: a qualitative review of the literature. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 49 5: 511-526. doi:10.1111/1460-6984.12097

Author Simmons-Mackie, Nina
Savage, Meghan C.
Worrall, Linda
Title Conversation therapy for aphasia: a qualitative review of the literature
Journal name International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1460-6984
Publication date 2014-09-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1111/1460-6984.12097
Open Access Status
Volume 49
Issue 5
Start page 511
End page 526
Total pages 16
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract

A diverse literature addresses elements of conversation therapy in aphasia including intervention rooted in conversation analysis, partner training, group therapy and behavioural intervention. Currently there is no resource for clinicians or researchers that defines and organizes this information into a coherent synopsis describing various conversation therapy practices.


To organize information from varied sources into a descriptive overview of conversation therapy for aphasia.

Methods & Procedures

Academic search engines were employed to identify research articles published between 1950 and September 2013 reporting on conversation therapy for aphasia. Thirty articles met criteria for review and were identified as primary sources for the qualitative review. Using qualitative methodology, relevant data were extracted from articles and categories were identified to create a descriptive taxonomy of conversation therapy for aphasia.

Main Contribution

Conversation interventions were divided into descriptive categories including: treatment participants (person with aphasia, partner, dyad), primary guiding orientation (conversation analysis, social model, behavioural, relationship centred), service delivery (individual, group), focus of intervention (generic/individualized; problem/solution oriented; compensatory), training methods (explicit/implicit; external/embedded), activities or tasks, and outcomes measured. Finally, articles were categorized by research design. There was marked variation in conversation therapy approaches and outcome measures reported and a notable gap in information about one-on-one conversation therapy for individuals with aphasia.

Conclusions & Implications

This review provides a description of various conversation therapy approaches and identified gaps in the existing literature. Valid measures of natural conversation, research on one-on-one conversation approaches for individuals with aphasia, and a systematic body of evidence consisting of high quality research are needed.
Keyword Aphasia
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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