CACTI: Free, Open-Source Software for the Sequential Coding of Behavioral Interactions
The sequential analysis of client and clinician speech in psychotherapy sessions can help to identify and characterize potential mechanisms of treatment and behavior change. Previous studies required coding systems that were time-consuming, expensive, and error-prone. Existing software can be expensive and inflexible, and furthermore, no single package allows for pre-parsing, sequential coding, and assignment of global ratings. We developed a free, open-source, and adaptable program to meet these needs: The CASAA Application for Coding Treatment Interactions (CACTI). Without transcripts, CACTI facilitates the real-time sequential coding of behavioral interactions using WAV-format audio files. Most elements of the interface are user-modifiable through a simple XML file, and can be further adapted using Java through the terms of the GNU Public License. Coding with this software yields interrater reliabilities comparable to previous methods, but at greatly reduced time and expense. CACTI is a flexible research tool that can simplify psychotherapy process research, and has the potential to contribute to the improvement of treatment content and delivery.