(born in Troyes, France, of old noble Breton stock; died 2 July 1926 in Nancy,
France) Émile Coué was a French psychologist and pharmacist
who introduced a method of psychotherapy, healing, and self-improvement,
based on autosuggestion or self-hypnosis. He has been called the Father
of Applied Conditioning. He is remembered for his formula for curing
by optimistic autosuggestion. His teaching achieved a vogue in England and
the United States in the 1920s.
Most of us are
familiar with the quote by Émile Coué, "Every day, in every
way, I am getting better and better."
Few people are
aware that he was also a pharmacist and a pioneer in hypnosis. He believed
in "autosuggestion" (self-hypnosis). He noticed that remedies given with
positive autosuggestion worked better than the remedies alone. He also was
known to state that each person had the solution to their own problem; "You
have in yourself the instrument of your cure."
often worked with patients to build what we would call today, their self-image
or self-esteem. He did this by utilizing his "Law of Concentrated Attention."
The Law of Concentrated Attention states that whenever attention is concentrated
on an idea over and over again, it spontaneously tends to realize itself.
That's where "every day..." came in.
Much of the
modern brief therapy and solution focused therapy share parts of this philosophy.
learned hypnosis from Ambroise-Auguste Liébault, the founder of Nancy
School, and in 1913 Coué founded the Lorraine Society of Applied Psychology.
His book Self-mastery
through conscious autosuggestion caused a sensation on
its publication in England (1920) and in the United States (1922). Coué introduced
a new method, the self-starting of conscious autosuggestion. He modified
the theory of Abbé Faria by proposing that for autosuggestion to flow
from the mind, one has to feed it first. By repeating words or images as self-suggestion
to the subconscious mind, one can condition the mind, and then the conditioned
mind will produce an autogenic command when required.
mantra, "Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better" (Tous
les jours à tous points de vue je vais de mieux en mieux), is sometimes
known as Couéism, or the Coué method. The method
depended in part on routine repetition of the formula.
Coue`'s method of directing
the unconscious and the reasons behind the method are. in the reviews understanding.
essentially as follows: He states that thoughts filling our mind tend to
realize themselves; that when thoughts are dwelled upon, the mind tends to
transform them into action. if it accepts them. "That whatever we think becomes
true for us." In other words, if you can get a person to think and believe
that they are getting better, they will do so. Secondly. he says that the
imagination (unconscious) always dominates the will. If we try to control
our actions through the use of our will, we shall fail, unless our will happens
to be in agreement with out imagination. If we can control our thoughts,
--our imagination then we can control our actions. Thus we should always
try to think that we will be healthy rather than ill. happy rather than sad.
and successful rather than a failure. The problem then is one of implanting
the proper thoughts. Coue` says that it is impossible for the mind to accept
two thoughts at the same time; that is a person is thinking two contradictory
thoughts they will not be accepted. If, however, a person dwells upon one
thought only, this thought will penetrate the unconscious and be acted upon.
In the practice of giving oneself beneficial suggestion, this problem of
having two different thoughts simultaneously shows up in a lack of belief
in the method or a lack of confidence in oneself; giving oneself a beneficial
suggestion, but at the same time believing that it won't work. Thus, trying
to get two opposing ideas into the unconscious at the Same time. Coue` found
a simple way of overcoming this problem. It is to give oneself repeated verbal
suggestions at such a high rate of speed that the conscious mind is only
able to dwell on the act of repeating the suggestion. This enables the subconscious
to receive and accept the beneficial suggestion, without having interfering
critical thoughts block it. For example, in the case of pain such as is associated
with arthritis, neuralgia, or asthma, Coue` has the patient repeat over and
over, "It's going, it's going, it's going." This is done rapidly for a minute
or two until the pain or other difficulty subsides. Moods and habits are
controlled the same way -- by a rapid repetition of a phrase implying happiness
or the desired condition.
Coue` repeatedly stresses that in order for auto-suggestion to work, efforts
must not be made; the will must not be used. Beneficial phrases are to be
given effortlessly; for to make efforts is to use the conscious mind or will.
Coue` didn't put his patients to "sleep" as he found it unnecessary and sometimes
hard to do. After preliminary tests, such as the handclasp test, to demonstrate
imagination and suggestion and will, he had his patients close their eyes
and concentrate on his voice.
Coue` explains how suggestions work, and gives case histories as examples,
he gives the phrase by which people are to cure themselves, Every day in
every way, I am getting better and better," which is to be repeated twenty
times every morning before rising and every night on going to bed. He considered
the teaching of the use of this phrase to be his finest work.
Coue deduced the following
1. IT IS NOT THE WILL BUT THE IMAGINATION WHICH IS THE PRINCIPAL FORCE IN
THE HUMAN BEING. Cou always repeated that, at the time of the conscious autosuggestion,
i.e., the establishment of an idea in oneself by oneself, one did not have
to in no case to use its will. You do not tell history! If our unconscious
is the source of many evils, it can also support their cure. But attention,
if you have 40!c fever, especially do not tell you that you are well, because
your conscious and your unconscious would enter then in duality. However,
each time that there is conflict between imagination and the will, it is
always the imagination which carries it, and in this case, not only we do
not do what we want, but we make the opposite precisely. And, more we carry
out voluntary efforts, more we make the opposite of what we want.
2. IMAGINATION IT IS MORE POWERFUL THAN THE WILL. Emile Coue` highlighted
the importance of imagination like starting point of the human behavior.
Our imagination is, when it is controlled and guided, noblest faculty in
the human being. All that was created by men on our ground is the fruit of
imagination. All was thought, imagined before being created. It is advisable
thus to implement this faculty and to enable him to impregnate our deep being,
our subconscious, which will be given the responsibility to transform into
act what imagination programmed. It acts, obviously to imagine the events
to come in the field from what is reasonable. One would not thus know, is
needed the statement, to make push back a cut leg or to gain with the lottery
but if the impregnation of the subconscious is correctly carried out, by
respecting the method, " you will be astonished to see occurring the thing
which you thought. "
3. EACH ONE OF OUR THINKING TIGHTENS TO REALIZE. The thought is stronger
than all other force, more powerful than the matter and than all the external
conditions. It should be understood that the positive thoughts, such of healthy
food, nourish and maintain the harmony in us and create forces of achievements.
Conversely, the thoughts and passed negative generate: toxic waste, disharmony,
discomfort, destruction. We are not victims, but simply of bad actors.
4. WHEN IMAGINATION AND THE WILL ARE IN FIGHT, IT IS ALWAYS THE IMAGINATION
WHICH CARRIES IT, WITHOUT ANY EXCEPTION. Let us imagine for example by ground,
board a four meters length and 20 cm broad. It is very easy for us to cross
this board. But, if we pose this board above a chasm, our imagination will
already see us slipping, going to side and falling into the chasm. Despite
everything our efforts of will, we will not succeed in crossing the board.
5. WHEN THE WILL AND IMAGINATION ARE IN AGREEMENT, ONE MULTIPLIES BY THE
OTHER. As soon as imagination and the will aim at the same aim, it results
such a power and confidence from it from realization which any resistance
will be overcome.