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Coué, Emile / The Practice of Autosuggestion
Produced by Al Haines










THE PRACTICE OF AUTOSUGGESTION


BY THE METHOD _of_ EMILE COU

_Revised Edition_


BY

C. HARRY BROOKS



WITH A FOREWORD BY

EMILE COU



"For what man knoweth the things of a man save the
spirit of the man which is in him?"

1 CORINTHIANS ii. 11.




NEW YORK

DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY

1922




COPYRIGHT 1922

BY DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY, INC.


First Printing, May, 1922
Second Printing, June, 1922
Third Printing, June, 1922
Fourth Printing, July, 1922
Fifth Printing, July, 1922
Sixth Printing, Aug., 1922
Seventh Printing, Aug., 1922
Eighth Printing, Aug., 1922
Ninth Printing, Sept., 1922
Tenth Printing, Sept., 1922
Eleventh Printing, Nov., 1922
Twelfth Printing, Nov., 1922
Thirteenth Printing, Dec., 1922
Fourteenth Printing, Jan., 1923


PRINTED IN THE U. S. A. BY
The Quinn & Boden Company
BOOK MANUFACTURERS
RAHWAY NEW JERSEY




TO

ALL IN CONFLICT WITH

THEIR OWN IMPERFECTIONS

THIS LITTLE BOOK

IS DEDICATED




PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION

To my American readers a special word of gratitude is due for their
generosity to this little book. I hope that it has given them as much
encouragement and help as they have given me.

In America, the home of so many systems of mental healing, it is
perhaps even more necessary than in Europe to insist on the distinctive
features of M. Cou's teaching. It is based, not on transcendental or
mystical postulates, but on the simple and acknowledged facts of
psychology. This does not mean that it has no relation to religion.
On the contrary it has a very close one. Indeed I hope in a future
volume to point out its deep significance for the Christian churches.
But that relationship remains in M. Cou's teaching unexpressed. The
powers he has revealed are part of the natural endowment of the human
mind. Therefore they are available to all men, independently of
adherence or non-adherence to any sect or creed.

The method of M. Cou is in no sense opposed to the ordinary practice
of medicine. It is not intended to supplant it but to supplement it.
It is a new ally, bringing valuable reinforcements to the common
crusade against disease and unhappiness.

Induced Autosuggestion does not involve, as several hasty critics have
assumed, an attack upon the Will. It simply teaches that during the
actual formulation of suggestions, that is for a few minutes daily, the
Will should be quiescent. At other times the exercise of the Will is
encouraged; indeed we are shown how to use it properly, that is without
friction or waste of energy.

C. H. B.

19 _October_, 1922.




AUTHOR'S PREFACE

The discoveries of Emile Cou are of such moment for the happiness and
efficiency of the individual life that it is the duty of anyone
acquainted with them to pass them on to his fellows.

The lives of many men and women are robbed of their true value by
twists and flaws of character and temperament, which, while defying the
efforts of the will, would yield rapidly to the influence of
autosuggestion. Unfortunately, the knowledge of this method has
hitherto been available in England only in the somewhat detailed and
technical work of Professor Charles Baudouin, and in a small pamphlet,
printed privately by M. Cou, which has not been publicly exposed for
sale. To fill this gap is the aim of the following pages. They are
designed to present to the layman in non-technical form the information
necessary to enable him to practise autosuggestion for himself.

All readers who wish to obtain a deeper insight into the theoretical
basis of autosuggestion are recommended to study Professor Baudouin's
fascinating work, _Suggestion and Autosuggestion_. Although in these
pages there are occasional divergences from Professor Baudouin's views,
his book remains beyond question the authoritative statement on the
subject; indeed it is hardly possible without it to form an adequate
idea of the scope of autosuggestion. My own indebtedness to it in
writing this little volume is very great.

My thanks are due for innumerable kindnesses to M. Cou himself. That
he is the embodiment of patience everyone knows who has been in contact
with him. I am also indebted to the Rev. Ernest Charles, of Malvern
Link, who, though disclaiming responsibility for some of the views
expressed here, has made many extremely valuable suggestions.

C. H. B.

MALVERN LINK,
21 _February_, 1922.




FOREWORD

The materials for this little book were collected by Mr. Brooks during
a visit he paid me in the summer of 1921. He was, I think, the first
Englishman to come to Nancy with the express purpose of studying my
method of conscious autosuggestion. In the course of daily visits
extending over some weeks, by attending my consultations, and by
private conversations with myself, he obtained a full mastery of the
method, and we threshed out a good deal of the theory on which it rests.

The results of this study are contained in the following pages. Mr.
Brooks has skilfully seized on the essentials and put them forward in a
manner that seems to me both simple and clear. The instructions given
are amply sufficient to enable anyone to practise autosuggestion for
him or herself, without seeking the help of any other person.

It is a method which everyone should follow--the sick to obtain
healing, the healthy to prevent the coming of disease in the future.
By its practice we can insure for ourselves, all our lives long, an
excellent state of health, both of the mind and the body.

E. COU.

NANCY.




CONTENTS


PREFACE

FOREWORD


I

COU'S NANCY PRACTICE

CHAPTER

I THE CLINIC OF EMILE COU
II A FEW OF COU'S CURES
III THE CHILDREN'S CLINIC


II

THE NATURE OF AUTOSUGGESTION

IV THOUGHT IS A FORCE
V THOUGHT AND THE WILL


III

THE PRACTICE OF AUTOSUGGESTION

VI GENERAL RULES
VII THE GENERAL FORMULA
VIII PARTICULAR SUGGESTIONS
IX HOW TO DEAL WITH PAIN
X AUTOSUGGESTION AND THE CHILD
XI CONCLUSION




I

COU'S NANCY PRACTICE



CHAPTER I

THE CLINIC OF EMILE COU

The clinic of Emile Cou, where Induced Autosuggestion is applied to
the treatment of disease, is situated in a pleasant garden attached to
his house at the quiet end of the rue Jeanne d'Arc in Nancy. It was
here that I visited him in the early summer of 1921, and had the
pleasure for the first time of witnessing one of his consultations.

We entered the garden from his house a little before nine o'clock. In
one corner was a brick building of two stories, with its windows thrown
wide to let in the air and sunshine--this was the clinic; a few yards
away was a smaller one-storied construction which served as a
waiting-room. Under the plum and cherry trees, now laden with fruit,
little groups of patients were sitting on the garden seats, chatting
amicably together and enjoying the morning sunshine while others
wandered in twos and threes among the flowers and strawberry beds. The
room reserved for the treatments was already crowded, but in spite of
that eager newcomers constantly tried to gain entrance. The
window-sills on the ground floor were beset, and a dense knot had
formed in the doorway. Inside, the patients had first occupied the
seats which surrounded the walls, and then covered the available
floor-space, sitting on camp-stools and folding-chairs. Cou with some
difficulty found me a seat, and the treatment immediately began.

The first patient he addressed was a frail, middle-aged man who,
accompanied by his daughter, had just arrived from Paris to consult
him. The man was a bad case of nervous trouble. He walked with
difficulty, and his head, arms and legs were afflicted with a continual
tremor. He explained that if he encountered a stranger when walking in
the street the idea that the latter would remark his infirmity
completely paralysed him, and he had to cling to whatever support was
at hand to save himself from falling. At Cou's invitation he rose
from his seat and took a few steps across the floor. He walked slowly,
leaning on a stick; his knees were half bent, and his feet dragged
heavily along the ground.

Cou encouraged him with the promise of improvement. "You have been
sowing bad seed in your Unconscious; now you will sow good seed. The
power by which you have produced these ill effects will in future
produce equally good ones."

The next patient was an excitable, over-worked woman of the artisan
class. When Cou inquired the nature of her trouble, she broke into a
flood of complaint, describing each symptom with a voluble minuteness.
"Madame," he interrupted, "you think too much about your ailments, and
in thinking of them you create fresh ones."

Next came a girl with headaches, a youth with inflamed eyes, and a
farm-labourer incapacitated by varicose veins. In each case Cou
stated that autosuggestion should bring complete relief. Then it was
the turn of a business man who complained of nervousness, lack of
self-confidence and haunting fears.

"When you know the method," said Cou, "you will not allow yourself to
harbour such ideas."

"I work terribly hard to get rid of them," the patient answered.

"You fatigue yourself. The greater the efforts you make, the more the
ideas return. You will change all that easily, simply, and above all,
without effort."

"I want to," the man interjected.

"That's just where you're wrong," Cou told him. "If you say 'I want
to do something,' your imagination replies 'Oh, but you can't.' You
must say 'I am going to do it,' and if it is in the region of the
possible you will succeed."

A little further on was another neurasthenic--a girl. This was her
third visit to the clinic, and for ten days she had been practising the
method at home. With a happy smile, and a little pardonable
self-importance, she declared that she already felt a considerable
improvement. She had more energy, was beginning to enjoy life, ate
heartily and slept more soundly. Her sincerity and nave delight
helped to strengthen the faith of her fellow-patients. They looked on
her as a living proof of the healing which should come to themselves.

Cou continued his questions. Those who were unable, whether through
rheumatism or some paralytic affection, to make use of a limb were
called on, as a criterion of future progress, to put out their maximum
efforts.

In addition to the visitor from Paris there were present a man and a
woman who could not walk without support, and a burly peasant, formerly
a blacksmith, who for nearly ten years had not succeeded in lifting his
right arm above the level of his shoulder. In each case Cou predicted
a complete cure.

During this preliminary stage of the treatment, the words he spoke were
not in the nature of suggestions. They were sober expressions of
opinion, based on years of experience. Not once did he reject the
possibility of cure, though with several patients suffering from
organic disease in an advanced stage, he admitted its unlikelihood. To
these he promised, however, a cessation of pain, an improvement of
morale, and at least a retardment of the progress of the disease.
"Meanwhile," he added, "the limits of the power of autosuggestion are
not yet known; final recovery is possible." In all cases of functional
and nervous disorders, as well as the less serious ones of an organic
nature, he stated that autosuggestion, conscientiously applied, was
capable of removing the trouble completely.

It took Cou nearly forty minutes to complete his interrogation. Other
patients bore witness to the benefits the treatment had already
conferred on them. A woman with a painful swelling in her breast,
which a doctor had diagnosed (in Cou's opinion wrongly), as of a
cancerous nature, had found complete relief after less than three
weeks' treatment. Another woman had enriched her impoverished blood,
and increased her weight by over nine pounds. A man had been cured of
a varicose ulcer, another in a single sitting had rid himself of a
lifelong habit of stammering. Only one of the former patients failed
to report an improvement. "Monsieur," said Cou, "you have been making
efforts. You must put your trust in the imagination, not in the will.
Think you are better and you will become so."

Cou now proceeded to outline the theory given in the pages which
follow. It is sufficient here to state his main conclusions, which
were these: (1) Every idea which exclusively occupies the mind is
transformed into an actual physical or mental state. (2) The efforts
we make to conquer an idea by exerting the will only serve to make that
idea more powerful. To demonstrate these truths he requested one of
his patients, a young anaemic-looking woman, to carry out a small
experiment. She extended her arms in front of her, and clasped the
hands firmly together with the fingers interlaced, increasing the force
of her grip until a slight tremor set in. "Look at your hands," said
Cou, "and think you would like to open them but you cannot. Now try
and pull them apart. Pull hard. You find that the more you try the
more tightly they become clasped together."

The girl made little convulsive movements of her wrists, really doing
her best by physical force to separate her hands, but the harder she
tried the more her grip increased in strength, until the knuckles
turned white with the pressure. Her hands seemed locked together by a
force outside her own control.

"Now think," said Cone, "'I can open my hands.'"

Slowly her grasp relaxed and, in response to a little pull, the cramped
fingers came apart. She smiled shyly at the attention she had
attracted, and sat down.

Cou pointed out that the two main points of his theory were thus
demonstrated simultaneously: when the patient's mind was filled with
the thought "I cannot," she could not in very fact unclasp her hands.
Further, the efforts she made to wrench them apart by exerting her will
only fixed them more firmly together.

Each patient was now called on in turn to perform the same experiment.
The more imaginative among them--notably the women--were at once
successful. One old lady was so absorbed in the thought "I cannot" as
not to heed the request to think "I can." With her face ruefully
puckered up she sat staring fixedly at her interlocked fingers, as
though contemplating an act of fate. "Voil," said Cou, smiling, "if
Madame persists in her present idea, she will never open her hands
again as long as she lives."

Several of the men, however, were not at once successful. The whilom
blacksmith with the disabled arm, when told to think "I should like to
open my hands but I cannot," proceeded without difficulty to open them.

"You see," said Cou, with a smile, "it depends not on what I say but
on what you think. What were you thinking then?"

He hesitated. "I thought perhaps I could open them after all."

"Exactly. And therefore you could. Now clasp your hands again. Press
them together."

When the right degree of pressure had been reached, Cou told him to
repeat the words "I cannot, I cannot...."

As he repeated this phrase the contracture increased, and all his
efforts failed to release his grip.

"Voil," said Cou. "Now listen. For ten years you have been thinking
you could not lift your arm above your shoulder, consequently you have
not been able to do so, for whatever we think becomes true for us. Now
think 'I can lift it.'"

The patient looked at him doubtfully.

"Quick!" Cou said in a tone of authority. "Think 'I can, I can!'"

"I can," said the man. He made a half-hearted attempt and complained
of a pain in his shoulder.

"Bon," said Cou. "Don't lower your arm. Close your eyes and repeat
with me as fast as you can, 'Ca passe, a passe.'"

For half a minute they repeated this phrase together, speaking so fast
as to produce a sound like the whirr of a rapidly revolving machine.
Meanwhile Cou quickly stroked the man's shoulder. At the end of that
time the patient admitted that his pain had left him.

"Now think well that you can lift your arm," Cou said.

The departure of the pain had given the patient faith. His face, which
before had been perplexed and incredulous, brightened as the thought of
power took possession of him. "I can," he said in a tone of finality,
and without effort he calmly lifted his arm to its full height above
his head. He held it there triumphantly for a moment while the whole
company applauded and encouraged him.

Cou reached for his hand and shook it.

"My friend, you are cured."

"C'est merveilleux," the man answered. "I believe I am."

"Prove it," said Cou. "Hit me on the shoulder."

The patient laughed, and dealt him a gentle rap.

"Harder," Cou encouraged him. "Hit me harder--as hard as you can."

His arm began to rise and fall in regular blows, increasing in force
until Cou was compelled to call on him to stop.

"Voil, mon ami, you can go back to your anvil."

The man resumed his seat, still hardly able to comprehend what had
occurred. Now and then he lifted his arm as if to reassure himself,
whispering to himself in an awed voice, "I can, I can."

A little further on was seated a woman who had complained of violent
neuralgia. Under the influence of the repeated phrase "a passe" (it's
going) the pain was dispelled in less than thirty seconds. Then it was
the turn of the visitor from Paris. What he had seen had inspired him
with confidence; he was sitting more erect, there was a little patch of
colour in his cheeks, and his trembling seemed less violent.

He performed the experiment with immediate success.

"Now," said Cou, "you are cultivated ground. I can throw out the seed
in handfuls."

He caused the sufferer first to stand erect with his back and knees
straightened. Then he asked him, constantly thinking "I can," to place
his entire weight on each foot in turn, slowly performing the exercise
known as "marking time." A space was then cleared of chairs, and
having discarded his stick, the man was made to walk to and fro. When
his gait became slovenly Cou stopped him, pointed out his fault, and,
renewing the thought "I can," caused him to correct it. Progressive
improvement kindled the man's imagination. He took himself in his own
hands. His bearing became more and more confident, he walked more
easily, more quickly. His little daughter, all smiles and happy
self-forgetfulness, stood beside him uttering expressions of delight,
admiration and encouragement. The whole company laughed and clapped
their hands.

"After the sitting," said Cou, "you shall come for a run in my garden."

Thus Cou continued his round of the clinic. Each patient suffering
from pain was given complete or partial relief; those with useless
limbs had a varying measure of use restored to them. Cou's manner was
always quietly inspiring. There was no formality, no attitude of the
superior person; he treated everyone, whether rich or poor, with the
same friendly solicitude. But within these limits he varied his tone
to suit the temperament of the patient. Sometimes he was firm,
sometimes gently bantering. He seized every opportunity for a little
humorous by-play. One might almost say that he tactfully teased some
of his patients, giving them an idea that their ailment was absurd, and
a little unworthy; that to be ill was a quaint but reprehensible
weakness, which they should quickly get rid of. Indeed, this denial of
the dignity of disease is one of the characteristics of the place. No
homage is paid to it as a Dread Monarch. It is gently ridiculed, its
terrors are made to appear second-rate, and its victims end by laughing
at it.

Cou now passed on to the formulation of specific suggestions. The
patients closed their eyes, and he proceeded in a low, monotonous
voice, to evoke before their minds the states of health, mental and
physical, they were seeking. As they listened to him their alertness
ebbed away, they were lulled into a drowsy state, peopled only by the
vivid images he called up before the eyes of the mind. The faint
rustle of the trees, the songs of the birds, the low voices of those
waiting in the garden, merged into a pleasant background, on which his
words stood out powerfully.

This is what he said:

"Say to yourself that all the words I am about to utter will be fixed,
imprinted and engraven in your minds; that they will remain fixed,
imprinted and engraven there, so that without your will and knowledge,
without your being in any way aware of what is taking place, you
yourself and your whole organism will obey them. I tell you first that
every day, three times a day, morning, noon and evening, at mealtimes,
you will be hungry; that is to say you will feel that pleasant
sensation which makes us think and say: 'How I should like something to
eat!' You will then eat with excellent appetite, enjoying your food,
but you will never eat too much. You will eat the right amount,
neither too much nor too little, and you will know intuitively when you
have had sufficient. You will masticate your food thoroughly,
transforming it into a smooth paste before swallowing it. In these
conditions you will digest it well, and so feel no discomfort of any
kind either in the stomach or the intestines. Assimilation will be
perfectly performed, and your organism will make the best possible use
of the food to create blood, muscle, strength, energy, in a word--Life.

"Since you have digested your food properly, the excretory functions
will be normally performed. This will take place every morning
immediately on rising, and without your having recourse to any laxative
medicine or artificial means of any kind.

"Every night you will fall asleep at the hour you wish, and will
continue to sleep until the hour at which you desire to wake next
morning. Your sleep will be calm, peaceful and profound, untroubled by
bad dreams or undesirable states of body. You may dream, but your
dreams will be pleasant ones. On waking you will feel well, bright,
alert, eager for the day's tasks.

"If in the past you have been subject to depression, gloom and
melancholy forebodings, you will henceforward be free from such
troubles. Instead of being moody, anxious and depressed, you will be
cheerful and happy. You will be happy even if you have no particular
reason for being so, just as in the past you were, without good reason,
unhappy. I tell you even that if you have serious cause to be worried
or depressed, you will not be so.

"If you have been impatient or ill-tempered, you will no longer be
anything of the kind; on the contrary, you will always be patient and
self-controlled. The happenings which used to irritate you will leave
you entirely calm and unmoved.

"If you have sometimes been haunted by evil and unwholesome ideas, by
fears or phobias, these ideas will gradually cease to occupy your mind.
They will melt away like a cloud. As a dream vanishes when we wake, so
will these vain images disappear.

"I add that all your organs do their work perfectly. Your heart beats
normally and the circulation of the blood takes place as it should.
The lungs do their work well. The stomach, the intestines, the liver,
the biliary duct, the kidneys and the bladder, all carry out their
functions correctly. If at present any of the organs named is out of
order, the disturbance will grow less day by day, so that within a
short space of time it will have entirely disappeared, and the organ
will have resumed its normal function.

"Further, if in any organ there is a structural lesion, it will from
this day be gradually repaired, and in a short period will be
completely restored. This will be so even if you are unaware that the
trouble exists.

"I must also add--and it is extremely important--that if in the past
you have lacked confidence in yourself, this self-distrust will
gradually disappear. You will have confidence in yourself; I repeat,
_you will have confidence_. Your confidence will be based on the
knowledge of the immense power which is within you, by which you can
accomplish any task of which your reason approves. With this
confidence you will be able to do anything you wish to do, provided it
is reasonable, and anything it is your duty to do.

"When you have any task to perform you will always think that it is
easy. Such words as 'difficult,' 'impossible,' 'I cannot' will
disappear from your vocabulary. Their place will be taken by this
phrase: 'It is easy and I can.' So, considering your work easy, even
if it is difficult to others, it will become easy to you. You will do
it easily, without effort and without fatigue."

These general suggestions were succeeded by particular suggestions
referring to the special ailments from which Cou's patients were
suffering. Taking each case in turn, he allowed his hand to rest
lightly on the heads of the sufferers, while picturing to their minds
the health and vigour with which they would soon be endowed. Thus to a
woman with an ulcerated leg he spoke as follows: "Henceforth your
organism will do all that is necessary to restore your leg to perfect
health. It will rapidly heal; the tissues will regain their tone; the
skin will be soft and healthy. In a short space of time your leg will
be vigorous and strong and will in future always remain so." Each
special complaint was thus treated with a few appropriate phrases.
When he had finished, and the patients were called on to open their
eyes, a faint sigh went round the room, as if they were awaking
reluctantly from a delicious dream.

Cou now explained to his patients that he possessed no healing powers,
and had never healed a person in his life. They carried in themselves
the instrument of their own well-being. The results they had seen were
due to the realisation of each patient's own thought. He had been
merely an agent calling the ideas of health into their minds.
Henceforth they could, and must, be the pilots of their own destiny.
He then requested them to repeat, under conditions which will be later
defined, the phrase with which his name is associated: "Day by day, in
every way, I'm getting better and better."[1]

The sitting was at an end. The patients rose and crowded round Cou,
asking questions, thanking him, shaking him by the hand. Some declared
they were already cured, some that they were much better, others that
they were confident of cure in the future. It was as if a burden of
depression had fallen from their minds. Those who had entered with
minds crushed and oppressed went out with hope and optimism shining in
their faces.

But Cou waved aside these too insistent admirers, and, beckoning to
the three patients who could not walk, led them to a corner of the
garden where there was a stretch of gravel path running beneath the
boughs of fruit trees. Once more impressing on their minds the thought
of strength and power, he induced each one to walk without support down
this path. He now invited them to run. They hesitated, but he
insisted, telling them that they could run, that they ought to run,
that they had but to believe in their own power, and their thought
would be manifested in action.

They started rather uncertainly, but Cou followed them with persistent
encouragements. They began to raise their heads, to lift their feet
from the ground and run with greater freedom and confidence. Turning
at the end of the path they came back at a fair pace. Their movements
were not elegant, but people on the further side of fifty are rarely
elegant runners. It was a surprising sight to see these three
sufferers who had hobbled to the clinic on sticks now covering the
ground at a full five miles an hour, and laughing heartily at
themselves as they ran. The crowd of patients who had collected broke
into a spontaneous cheer, and Cou, slipping modestly away, returned to
the fresh company of sufferers who awaited him within.



[1] The translation given here of Cou's formula differs slightly from
that popularised in England during his visit of November, 1921. The
above, however, is the English version which he considers most suitable.




CHAPTER II

A FEW OF COU'S CURES

To give the reader a better idea of the results which Induced
Autosuggestion is yielding, I shall here describe a few further cases
of which I was myself in some part a witness, and thereafter let some
of Cou's patients speak for themselves through the medium of their
letters.

At one of the morning consultations which I subsequently attended was a
woman who had suffered for five years with dyspepsia. The trouble had
recently become so acute that even the milk diet to which she was now
reduced caused her extreme discomfort. Consequently she had become
extremely thin and anaemic, was listless, easily tired, and suffered
from depression. Early in the proceedings the accounts given by
several patients of the relief they had obtained seemed to appeal to
her imagination. She followed Cou's remarks with keen interest,
answered his questions vivaciously, and laughed very heartily at the
amusing incidents with which the proceedings were interspersed. About
five o'clock on the same afternoon I happened to be sitting with Cou
when this woman asked to see him. Beaming with satisfaction, she was
shown into the room. She reported that on leaving the clinic she had
gone to a restaurant in the town and ordered a table d'hte luncheon.
Conscientiously she had partaken of every course from the hors
d'oeuvres to the caf noir. The meal had been concluded at 1.30, and
she had so far experienced no trace of discomfort. A few days later
this woman returned to the clinic to report that the dyspepsia had
shown no signs of reappearing; that her health and spirits were
improving, and that she looked upon herself as cured.

On another occasion one of the patients complained of asthma. The
paroxysms destroyed his sleep at night and prevented him from
performing any task which entailed exertion. Walking upstairs was a
slow process attended by considerable distress. The experiment with
the hands was so successfully performed that Cou assured him of
immediate relief.

"Before you go," he said, "you will run up and down those stairs
without suffering any inconvenience."

At the close of the consultation, under the influence of the suggestion
"I can," the patient did this without difficulty. That night the
trouble recurred in a mild form, but he continued to attend the clinic
and to practise the exercises at home, and within a fortnight the
asthma had finally left him.

Among other patients with whom I conversed was a young man suffering
from curvature of the spine. He had been attending the clinic for four
months and practising the method at home. His doctor assured him that
the spine was gradually resuming its normal position. A girl of
twenty-two had suffered from childhood with epileptic fits, recurring
at intervals of a few weeks. Since her first visit to the clinic six
months previously the fits had ceased.

But the soundest testimony to the power of Induced Autosuggestion is
that borne by the patients themselves. Here are a few extracts from
letters received by Cou:

"At the age of sixty-three, attacked for more than thirty years by
asthma and all the complications attendant upon it, I spent
three-quarters of the night sitting on my bed inhaling the smoke of
anti-asthma powders. Afflicted with almost daily attacks, especially
during the cold and damp seasons, I was unable to walk--I could not
even _go down hill_.

Nowadays I have splendid nights, and have put the powders in a drawer.
Without the slightest hesitation I can go upstairs to the first floor."

D. (Mont de Marsan.)
15 _December_, 1921.


"Yesterday I felt really better, that is to say, of my fever, so I
decided to go back to my doctor, whom I had not seen since the summer.
The examination showed a normal appendix. On the other hand, the
bladder is still painful, but is better. At any rate, there is at
present no question of the operation which had worried me so much. I
am convinced that I shall cure myself completely."

M. D. (Mulhouse.)
24 _September_, 1921.


"I have very good news to give you of your dipsomaniac--she is cured,
and asserts it herself to all who will listen. She told me yesterday
that for fourteen years she had not been so long without drink as she
has been lately, and what surprises her so much is that she has not had
to struggle against a desire; she has simply not felt the need of
drink. Further, her sleep continues to be splendid. She is getting
more and more calm, in spite of the fact that on several occasions her
sang-froid has been severely tested. To put the matter in a nutshell,
she is a changed woman. But what impresses me most is the fact that
when she took to your method she thought herself at the end of her
tether, and in the event of its doing her no good had decided to kill
herself (she had already attempted it once)."

P. (a Paris doctor.)
1 _February_, 1922.


"For eight years I suffered with prolapse of the uterus. I have used
your method of Autosuggestion for the last five months, and am now
completely cured, for which I do not know how to thank you enough."

S. (Toul).[1]


"I have a son who came back from Germany very anaemic and suffering
from terrible depression. He went to see you for a short time, and now
is as well as possible. Please accept my best thanks. I have also a
little cousin whom you have cured. He had a nervous illness, and had
become, so to speak, unconscious of what was going on around him. He
is now completely cured."

S. E. (Circourt, Vosges.)
19 _October_, 1921.


"My wife and I have waited nearly a year to thank you for the
marvellous cure which your method has accomplished. The very violent
attacks of asthma from which my wife suffered have completely
disappeared since the visit you paid us last spring. The first few
weeks my wife experienced temporary oppression and even the beginnings
of an attack, which, however, she was able to ward off within a few
minutes by practising Autosuggestion.

In spite of her great desire to thank you sooner my wife wished to add
more weight to her testimony by waiting for nearly a year. But the bad
time for asthma has not brought the slightest hint of the terrible
attacks from which you saved her."

J. H. (Saarbruck.)
23 _December_, 1921.


"All the morbid symptoms from which I used to suffer have disappeared.
I used to feel as though I had a band of iron across my brain which
seemed to be red-hot; added to this I had heartburn and bad nights with
fearful dreams; further, I was subject to severe nervous attacks which
went on for months. I felt as though pegs were being driven into the
sides of my head and nape of my neck, and when I felt I could not
endure these agonies any longer a feeling would come as if my brain
were being smothered in a blanket. All these pains came and went. I
had sometimes one, sometimes others. There were occasions when I
wanted to die--my sufferings were so acute, and I had to struggle
against the idea with great firmness.

At last, having spent five weeks at Nancy attending your kindly
sittings, I have profited so well as to be able to return home in a
state of normal health."

N. (Pithiviviers le Vieil.)
16 _August_, 1921.


"After having undergone four operations on the left leg for local
tuberculosis I fell a victim once more to the same trouble on 1
September, 1920. Several doctors whom I consulted declared a new
operation necessary. My leg was to be opened from the knee to the
ankle, and if the operation failed nothing remained but an amputation.

Having heard of your cures, I came to see you for the first time on 6
November, 1920. After the sitting I felt at once a little better. I
followed your instructions exactly, visiting you three times. At the
third time I was able to tell you that I was completely cured."

L. (Herny, Lorraine.)


"I am happy to tell you that a bunion that I had on my foot, which grew
to a considerable size and gave me the most acute pain for over fifteen
years, has gone."

L. G. (Caudran, Gironde.)


"I cannot leave France without letting you know how grateful I feel for
the immense service you have rendered me and mine. I only wish I had
met you years ago. Practically throughout my career my curse has been
a lack of continuous self-control.

I have been accused of being almost brilliant at times, only to be
followed by periodic relapses into a condition of semi-imbecility and
self-indulgence.

I have done my best to ruin a magnificent constitution, and have wasted
the abilities bestowed upon me. In a few short days you have made
me--and I feel permanently--master of myself. How can I thank you
sufficiently?

The rapidity of my complete cure may have been due to what at the time
I regarded as an unfortunate accident. Slipping on the snow-covered
steps of the train when alighting, I sprained my right knee badly. At
the breakfast table, before paying you my first visit, a fellow-guest
said to me: 'Tell Monsieur Cou about it. He will put it all right.'

I laughed and said 'Umph!' to myself, and more for the fun of the thing
than anything else did tell you. I remember you remarking 'That's
nothing,' and passing on to the more serious part of our conversation,
preliminary to commencing your lecture to the assembled patients.

I became more than interested, and when at the conclusion you suddenly
turned round and asked me: 'How's your knee?' (not having alluded to
knees in particular), and I discovered there _wasn't_ a knee, I laughed
again, as did those who saw me hobble into your room; but I laughed
this time from a sense of bewildered surprise and dawning belief. This
belief you very soon firmly implanted in me."

G. H. (London.)
11 _January_, 1922.



[1] This letter, together with the two quoted on page 34, is reprinted
from the _Bulletin de la Socit Lorraine de Psychologie Applique_ of
April, 1921. They were received by Cou during the preceding three
months. The other letters were communicated to me privately by Cou
and bear their original dates.




CHAPTER III

THE CHILDREN'S CLINIC

In different parts of France a little band of workers, recruited almost
exclusively from the ranks of former patients, is propagating the ideas
of Emile Cou with a success which almost rivals that of their master.
Among these helpers none is more devoted or more eminently successful
than Mlle. Kauffmant. She it is who, at the time of my visit, was
managing the children's department of the Nancy clinic.[1]

While Cou was holding his consultations on the ground floor, young
mothers in twos and threes, with their babies in their arms, could be
seen ascending to the upper story, where a little drama was performed
of a very different nature from that going on below.

In a large room, decorated with bright pictures and equipped with toys,
a number of silent young women were seated in a wide circle. Their
sick children lay in their arms or played at their feet. Here was a
child whose life was choked at the source by hereditary disease--a
small bundle of skin and bone with limbs like bamboo canes. Another
lay motionless with closed eyes and a deathly face, as if pining to
return to the world it came from. A little cripple dragged behind it a
deformed leg as it tried to crawl, and near by a child of five was
beating the air with its thin arms in an exhausting nervous storm.
Older children were also present, suffering from eye and ear trouble,
epilepsy, rickets, any one of the ailments, grave or slight, to which
growing life is subjected.

In the centre of this circle sat a young woman with dark hair and a
kindly keen face. On her lap was a little boy of four years with a
club foot. As she gently caressed the foot, from which the clumsy boot
had been removed, she told in a crooning tone, mingled with endearing
phrases, of the rapid improvement which had already begun and would
soon be complete.



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