dr. A.M. Sools (Anneke)

Assistant Professor

About Me

Anneke Sools is Assistant Professor at the department of Psychology, Health and Technology at the University of Twente (Enschede, The Netherlands). She is also Program Director of the Storylab (Dutch expert centre in the area of narrative psychology, health, and technology connected to the University of Twente). Sools is the recipient of the 2018 Early Career Award from AERA (American Educational Research Association) Narrative SIG (Special Interest Group). Her PhD dissertation at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht concerned narrative research methodology in the context of health promotion. She received a MSc Degree in Psychology of Culture and Religion from the University of Nijmegen. Her MSc thesis was awarded the Professor Halkes Thesis Award in 2001. For some years she has been a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Narrative Research (University of East London) and a member of the science committee of the international conference Narrative Matters. In 2010 she founded the Network for Narrative Research Netherlands together with Floor Basten from Campus Orléon. 


Behavioral Medicine
Natural Language Processing


My main research interest concerns the construction of possible futures in situations where possibilities are under pressure, such as deprived socio-economic and ecological circumstances, chronic illness, end of life, deprivation through stigma (e.g. mental illness,  migrant identities). I am interested in the cultural narratives through which people make sense of these situations, and how they construct viable alternatives through imagination and desire. While in my previous work the focus was on single moment, research-induced representations of the future, my recent work employs mobile technology to study how future imagination develops over time in everyday life. I am particularly interested in the interplay between spontaneous and reflective ways of navigating to the future in everyday life, and in the complex temporality involved in this navigational process. I collaborate within interdisciplinary teams of researchers, artists, and professionals in the Netherlands, Greece, the UK and Finland. 


Recent Articles
de Visser, M., Miao, S., Englebienne, G., Sools, A. M., & Visscher, K. (2017). Machine-based mapping of innovation portfolios. 667-671. Paper presented at 18th International CINet Conference, Potsdam, Germany.
Sools, A. M., Triliva, S., Fragkiadaki, E., & Tzanakis, M. (2017). De casus van het Griekse Referendum in 2015: Persoonlijke toekomstverbeelding als prospectief reflectie-instrument. Tijdschrift positieve psychologie, 2(10), 26-31.
Other Contributions

Current Research

  • Building resilience by imagining the future using stories
    Resilience is a relational concept, which concerns not only maintenance of well-being in the face of adversity, but extends to increased well-being and flourishing. From a social-ecological perspective, resilience is considered to be a context-specific process that includes control over the meaning of what and who is perceived as resilient. A narrative approach is particularly suited to address the meaning-making aspects of resilience, because stories offer the interpretive and evaluative context through which people construct their identities and actions. Future stories are less researched in relation to resilience, however these stories seem particularly apt to build resilience, because future stories function as meaning making devices which guide and motivate current thought and action. The potential of future stories to build resilience is studied in relation to various future treats, such as unemployment, acceleration of subjective time as part of high-tech developments, and mental health.

  • Narrative methodology for (therapy) change process research
    This research aims at developing tekst-based, automated (computerized) methods of analysis for therapy change process research. This methodological innovation to existing research methods enables 1) larger scale analysis that transcends in-depth single case studies; 2) greater complexity that allows inclusion of multiple, interacting processes; 3) monitoring change over time.

PHD Supervision

  • Anne Marie Lohuis: Narratieve team-identiteit en professionele identiteit van zorgprofessionals in een zorginstelling gespecialiseerd in oplossingsgericht werken.
  • Silvia Pol: Het gebruik van levensverhalen van mensen met een persoonlijkheidsproblemen in de geestelijke gezondheidszorg.
  • Tom van Steenkiste: een visueel-narratieve studie van beelden van herstel bij mensen met langdurige psychische gezondheidsproblematiek en zorgprofessionals.
  • Jacky van de Goor: Wonderful life: a novel, appreciative intervention to elicit meaning in life
  • Sheila Adjiembaks: Levensverhalen van ‘resisters to crime’ en de relatie met veerkracht en zelfcontrole

UT Research Information System


  • Module 6. Mental Health. Disorder and Story.
  • Supervision of Master theses
  • Supervision of Bachelor theses



What Works When for Whom

Mental illnesses, like depression and anxiety, are among the leading causes of the global burden of disease. E-mental health (EMH) interventions, i.e., web-based psychotherapy treatments, are increasingly used to improve access to psychotherapy for a wider audience. Whereas different EMH interventions tend to be equally effective, the responsiveness to a specific treatment shows large individual differences. Therefore, the personalization of treatments is seen as the major road for improvement. Because most EMH interventions use language for communication between counselors and clients, assessing language use provides an important avenue for opening the black box of what happens within therapy. Moreover, EMH makes data of the linguistic interactions between client and counselor available on an unprecedented large scale. The objective of this interdisciplinary proposal is to use e-science methods and tools, in particular natural language processing, visualization and multivariate analysis methods, to analyze patterns in therapy-related textual features in e-mail correspondence between counselor and client. By connecting patterns of known change indicators to therapy outcome, the question What Works When for Whom? can be answered, which will greatly improve the effectiveness of EMH. The core of the project concerns the development of integrated, modular software for the Dutch language, using data from six EMH-interventions with a total of 10.000 e-mails. These data are sufficiently large and varied to allow for computer-based modelling, and testing of use cases with varying complexity. At the end of the project, the step toward English language software will be made to increase the impact of the project.

Funding Agency: NWO/eScience

Principle Investigator: Anneke Sools

PhD-candidate: Wouter Smink

Postdoc Researcher: Janneke van der Zwaan

Project duration: 2016-2020



Narratives of bodily difference research project

The research project Narratives of bodily difference, funded by the Academy of Finland, aims at illuminating the challenges entailed by bodily difference from the perspective of those, who are different. Its starting point is a model of narrative circulation, according to which a person constructs in their mind an "inner narrative" of their life, taking into account the confines of their life situation and deploying model stories available in the cultural stock of stories. Moreover, a person attempts to enact thier inner narratives as "lived narrative" and shares parts of their stories with other people. Bodily difference hampers the narrative circulation in several ways. The constraints inherent in a certain form of difference in a certain social situations restrict the visions of what kind of life is possible, and the cultural stock of stories offers a limited array of story models for those with bodily differences. In addition, the experiences of being different are often difficult to narrate, and the "normal" audience is often reluctant to listen.

The project tries to identify the points in which the narrative circulation is hindered or constrained. At the first phase, it uses the life story data collected by Kynnys ry (Being disabled in Finland 2014), as well as philosophical texts on suffering and difference. Later on new data will be collected by interviews, focus group discussions and by narrative futuring workshops.

Funding Agency: Akademy of Finland

Principle Investigator: Vilma Hänninen

Postdoctoral researchers: Elisa Aaltola, Merja Tarvainen, and Hanna Pohjoja.  



Contact Details

Visiting Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Cubicus (building no. 41), room B 131a
De Zul 10
7522NJ  Enschede
The Netherlands

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Mailing Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Cubicus  B 131a
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands