Is your marriage crumbling? Are you frustrated with your spoilt teenage child? Are you concerned about the consequences of coming out of the closet? It is imperative to maintain your mental health. Therapy can be expensive for those who do not have insurance or live in a developed country with universal health care. Why pay a fortune when you can get some guidance for free?

Ladies and gentlemen, please meet ELIZA. She is a virtual therapist who hides in the engine room of Mac OS X. Although ELIZA is happy to see anyone regardless of mental health, she can only be reached through the use of Terminal.

Step 1 — Open the Utilities folder or simply press ⇧⌘U and launch Terminal. Type the following command into the Terminal window:

emacs

Press Return (⏎), and the GNU Emacs editor will launch within Terminal. It is a text editor commonly used by programmers to create, delete and modify source codes for apps. Proceed to the next step.

Step 2 — Hold down Shift (⇧) and press Escape (⎋).

Step 3 — Type the following command into the Terminal window:

xdoctor

Ignore the space between “x” and “doctor” if present. Press Return and proceed to the next step.

Step 4 — Corner yourself in the chaise longue and unload your problems into the Terminal window. Press Return twice every time you finish talking.

Things can get entertaining.

Other Tips:

  • The virtual therapist in Mac OS X is actually M-x doctor, an ELIZA clone included in GNU Emacs. It is often referred as ELIZA.
  • Unfortunately, ELIZA doesn’t have the licence to write prescriptions for antidepressants.
  • Not to worry, your excruciating personal details won’t go anywhere. They will disappear when you quit Terminal.
  • GNU Emacs doesn’t create and save text documents. You can copy and paste your conversation with ELIZA into another text editor like TextEdit.