Coué, Emile (1857–1926)
Founder of a popular system of autosuggestion that reportedly
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 tradiCoué,
Emile Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
344
tional 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.