This collaboration combines methods from computational text analysis, literary studies, and clinical psychology to examine the therapeutic encounter as it manifests in a variety of texts. In particular, we compare a set of transcribed contemporary psychotherapy sessions to other forms of discourse including 20th- and 21st-century novels and memoirs, podcast interviews, and informal recorded conversation. We are interested in what distinguishes psychotherapeutic discourse from other types of discourse and how analytical protocols from literary studies and digital humanities can be productively applied to psychotherapeutic discourse issuing from a clinical setting. How is language used differently across these types of discourse? How similar are therapeutic encounters portrayed in fictional texts to actual therapy sessions? Which parts of 20th- and 21st-century literature look the most like therapy sessions? We approach these questions using a variety of computational tools sets that allow us to model the language of the therapeutic encounter in literary spaces.
TherapyTexts is a collaborative project of the Stanford Literary Lab featuring a group of researchers representing three different institutions. Members of the project include Anna Mukamal, a PhD Candidate in English at Stanford University; Kendra Terry, a PhD Candidate in Clinical Psychology at the Derner School of Psychology at Adelphi University; Mark Algee-Hewitt, an Assistant Professor of English and Digital Humanities at Stanford University; and Lisa Mendelman, an Assistant Professor of English and Digital Humanities at Menlo College.