Edited by Dennis Tay
[Metaphor and the Social World 10:2] 2020
► pp. 253–272
The importance of metaphor in psychotherapy and counseling has been shown by a growing number of studies. Image-schematic metaphors, which derive from experience of sensory processes and space, are potential resources for conceptualizing major themes like anger, anxiety, and depression in therapeutic discourse. To test the potential correlation between image-schematic metaphors and the themes of anger, anxiety, and depression, this study employs a mixed-method approach, integrating corpus linguistics techniques, discourse analysis, and statistical analysis, to examine a specialized corpus of therapeutic transcripts which contains approximately three million words. The findings show that containment, force, path, and vertical orientation are the most frequent types of image-schematic metaphors for describing the therapeutic themes of anger, anxiety, and depression in the corpus, and there is a significant correlation between the two variables (i.e., “types” and “themes”). This study has implications for how image-schematic metaphors can be used to facilitate the descriptions of anger, anxiety, and depression in therapeutic conversations.