The Rogerian psychotherapist built into EMACS. It can actually be quite soothing, believe it or not. It has a companion in M-x psychoanalyze-pinhead. Naturally, it is a the lisping second cousin of Eliza.

The Emacs doctor is actually fairly interesting to take apart. If you have the Emacs .el files installed (most Emacs dists seem to come with only the compiled .elc files these days by default), take a look at them some day.

Here are some interesting things I noticed about the doctor... This is NOT the version I have installed at the moment, and doesn't seem to have a version number - other than it's from XEmacs and "Synched up with FSF 19.34", so I suppose this is old.

It does have the CDA message in it (RMS censored all of the Emacs programs when the CDA discussion was up...), so I guess it isn't ancient, though. =)

  • The parser recognizes typos (it7s an interesting feature, never mind ' isn't shift-7 on my keyboard =)
  • The doctor doesn't like monosyllablic words and non-nice behavior.
  • Some of the things it likes to talk of with the patient
  • Some things it can react to:
    • User saying s/he is afraid of something.
    • User saying s/he wants something.
    • User asking if the doctor is capable of something ("I am the doctor, I can do anything I damn please.")
    • User using only short responses to things. ("I need a little more detail please.")
    • User's anger and "foul words".
    • User talking of computers. ("You have your mind on machines, it seems.")
  • The doctor can ask user to tell more about random things (plans, life, people s/he hangs around, problems at school, hobbies, sex life, hangups, inhibitions, problems in childhood, problems at home. RMS has commented out all computer-related topics ("Let's make this less computer oriented").

I've always wondered what the heck this does:

(defun doctor-strangelove ()
  (insert "Mein fuehrer!!\n")


And here's a sample session. GTK+ XEmacs upgrade wasn't that smooth, so I thought it'd be cool to ask Emacs itself why it wasn't so. The doctor wasn't too clueful about it. It did, however, see that I was talking about Emacs problems.

(Start of log)

I am the psychotherapist. Please, describe your problems. Each time you are finished talking, type RET twice.


How do you do? What brings you to see me?

I upgraded you recently, but the install didn't go nicely...

Is it because the install didn't go nicely that you came to me?


I see... Well, why do you say this is so?

I tried to install the GTK+ version, but only the normal version works.

Does it bother you that only the normal version works?

Yes, it does.

What makes you believe yes it does?

Gnus blows up if I try to start it in GTK+ Emacs.

Emacs? Hah! I would appreciate it if you would continue.

You give me stress.

Earlier you said the install didn't go nicely?


Can you elaborate on that?

Gnus doesn't work on GTK+ version. It works fine in normal version.

Maybe your plans have something to do with this.


Why not?

I wish the newer and better version would work...

Are you sure that that?


Perhaps you could continue.

I think I will now just finish writing about you instead... Bye.

My secretary will send you a bill.

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