A mixed-method analysis of image-schematic metaphors in describing anger, anxiety, and depression

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1 Citation (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-272
Number of pages20
JournalMetaphor and the Social World
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2020


  • Image-schematic metaphors
  • Mixed-methods
  • Therapeutic themes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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