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Coué, Emile (1857-1926)

Coué, Emile (1857-1926)

Founder of a popular system of autosuggestion that report-edly had great success in healing many illnesses and diseases. The essence of autosuggestion was that Coué himself was not a healer, but taught techniques by which his patients could heal themselves. His system is quite similar to New Thought and directly influenced modern ideas about the power of the mind.

Coué was born February 26, 1857, in Troyes, in the Aube district of France. He attended the town school until age 15 before studying in the high school, where he showed great aptitude for science. At the age of 19, he was apprenticed in a drugstore in Troyes, later studying chemistry at the École de Pharmacie in Paris. In 1882 he returned to Troyes and became proprietor of a drugstore. He married in 1884.

Soon afterward he was persuaded to listen to a lecture by a Dr. Liebault at the Nancy School of Hypnotism. Coué developed a great interest in hypnotism, but he thought Liebault's procedures lacked systematic method. He took an American correspondence course in hypnotism and practiced on patients who came to his drugstore. He observed that many subjects were not completely hypnotized although they were beneficially affected by simple drugs in a degree far beyond the actual medical potency of the drugs. From observation of his patients, Coué developed a theory of suggestion. He abandoned traditional hypnosis, requiring his patients to make their own suggestion for healing.

In 1910 he retired from business and moved to Nancy, where he concentrated on his practice of autosuggestion, sometimes treating as many as 15,000 people a year. He became well known after the celebrated psychologist Charles Baudoin described his methods in the book Suggestion and Autosuggestion (1920), which he dedicated to Coué. In 1921 the British physician Dr. Monier-Williams traveled to Nancy and studied Coué's methods. Upon returning to London, he opened a clinic for the practice of conscious autosuggestion, The Coué Institute for the Practice of Conscious Autosuggestion, in London treated thousands of patients annually. In 1923 a similar institute was established in Paris.

Coué toured America, where he popularized the phrase "Every day in every way, I get better and better" as part of his therapeutic method. This was a conscious suggestion that the subject was required to repeat in early morning and before going to sleep at night. Coué died at Nancy July 2, 1926. Conscious suggestion has since become an integral element in many popular systems of healing and self-improvement.

Sources:

Brooks, C. Harry. The Practice of Autosuggestion by the Method of Emile Coué. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1922.

Coué, Emile. My Method, Including American Impressions. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page, 1923.

. Self Mastery through Conscious Autosuggestion. New York: American Library Service, 1922.

Kirk, Ella Boyce. My Pilgrimage to Coué. New York: American Library Service, 1922.

MacNaghten, Hugh. Emile Coué: the Man and his Work. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1922.

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Coué, Émile

Émile Coué (āmēl´ kwā), 1857–1926, French psychotherapist. He is remembered for his formula for curing by optimistic autosuggestion, "Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better." His teaching achieved a vogue in England and the United States in the 1920s.

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