A brilliant pupil in school, he initially intended to become an analytical chemist. However, he eventually abandoned these studies, as his father, who was a railroad worker, was in a precarious financial state. Schuller , and W. Clement Stone , became famous in their own right by spreading his words. It tentatively began c. Yeates c , p.

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Copyright c Donald Robertson All rights reserved. Therefore I send no-one to sleep. Baudouin himself was an educationalist, psychotherapist and professor of philosophy at the Rousseau Institute and University of Geneva. Even scantier are the writings of his pupils. The New Nancy School supplied the elements of an entire psychology, but this psychology remains unwritten. His ideas seem mainly to have spread through his seminars and word of mouth.

Baudouin says he saw him treating over a hundred patients each day, carrying out 40, consultations per year Baudouin, Internal conflict occurs between the will and imagination, but the imagination is always stronger. The Law of Concentrated Attention Ideas upon which attention becomes focused become correspondingly magnified in their effect. Spontaneous autosuggestions may capture the attention automatically. Conscious autosuggestions must be repeated with mental focus, and with certainty and faith in them.

The auxiliary role of emotion in capturing attention and transforming an idea into bodily action is a key feature of spontaneous negative autosuggestion. Negative ideas stick in our minds because of the powerful emotions attached to them, especially the emotion of fear. Baudouin stresses that this gives spontaneous autosuggestion a kind of initial advantage, as many people implicitly recognise, because our deliberate attempts at conscious autosuggestion are unlikely to be accompanied by such strong and sincere emotion.

The Law of Reversed Effort The law of reversed effort raises a second obstacle to the use of autosuggestion because the more we try to consciously struggle with a dominant idea the more powerful its effects become.

This obstacle is surmounted by the special prescription of the New Nancy School which insists that conscious autosuggestion should be used without the slightest tension caused by too much effort and with an accompanying sense that things are easily accomplished. When you make conscious autosuggestions, do it naturally, simply, with conviction, and above all without any effort. If unconscious and bad suggestions are so often realised, it is because they are made without effort.

Autosuggestion therefore focuses upon the goal and allows the mind to spontaneously find its own means to achieve that goal. It is true that this attitude seems conducive to autosuggestion, though it should be qualified by adding that in terms of complex or long-term goals it is usually advisable to break them down into steps and stages because the mind sometimes has a limited ability to work out solutions spontaneously.

Only in obstinate cases will it be necessary to do this every day. But the subject will find the practice extremely useful whenever he has a few minutes to spare. Baudouin, 2. The Specific Method. The following account is worth quoting in full, Therefore every time that you have a pain, physical or otherwise, you will go quietly to your room it is better if you can do this, but you can do it also in the middle of the road if necessary , but if you go to your room, sit down and shut your eyes, pass your hand lightly across your forehead if it is mental distress, or upon the part that hurts if it is a pain in any part of the body, and repeat the words: It is going, it is going, etc.

Very rapidly, even at the risk of gabbling, it is of no importance. The essential idea is to say: it is going, it is going, so quickly, that it is impossible for a thought of contrary nature to force itself between the words. We thus actually think it is going, and as all ideas that we fix upon the mind become a reality for us, the pain, physical or mental vanishes.

And should the pain return, repeat the process 10, 20, 50, , times if necessary, for it is better to pass the entire day saying: It is going! Be more patient than your pain, drive it back to its last entrenchments.

And you will find that the more you use this process, the less you will have to, that is to say, that if today you use it 50 times, tomorrow you will only use it 48, and the next day 46 and so on… so that at the end of a relatively short space of time, you will have no need to use it at all. Paradoxically, Baudouin suggests that more complex methods of autosuggestion are only necessary for less intelligent people who fail to understand the basic underlying mechanism of suggestion in its simplicity.

We know that the practice of autosuggestion is simple and easy; that it need not occasion any loss of time; that everyone can and everyone should acquire the art. The morning and evening concentration is the basis of the whole thing. Exercises are no more than adjuvants, doubtless of great value. But we must be careful not to overestimate their importance. He gives the example of stage fright or compulsive giggling which, as everyone knows, tend to be made worse by the struggle to suppress them by willpower alone.

As Baudouin puts it, when we are in the grip of a negative idea it dominates the imagination and emotions and insofar as we try to use force against it, in the form of conscious effort or willpower, without substituting a positive counter-idea, we merely aggravate the situation by strengthening the mental image of the problem. Excessive conscious effort presupposes and evokes the idea of failure, thereby risking the evocation of antagonistic ideas.

For example, the conscious effort to fall asleep is likely, in many cases, to focus attention also on the risk of staying awake, and thereby to stimulate conflicting ideo-reflex responses. Voluntary effort presupposes the idea of a resistance to be overcome. It comprises both action and reaction. The two notions are simultaneously [resent at the moment of the effort. If, then and this is a matter of the first importance , I concentrate voluntary attention on an idea, which implies my making an effort, I am simultaneously conscious of an action toward this idea, and of a resistance in consequence of which the idea continually tends to escape me, so that I must unceasingly recall my wandering attention.

Baudouin, Hence, spontaneous and reflective autosuggestion come into direct conflict and create an antagonism in the mind which paralyses the ideo-motor response, In these circumstances, we do not think a single idea, but two conflicting ideas. And if our state of consciousness is sufficiently reinforced by attention for the origination of a suggestion to be possible, it is not a single suggestion that will result, but there will be two conflicting suggestions which will neutralise one another more or less perfectly.

The yield, therefore, will be far less copious than in the case of spontaneous suggestion. And if it should unfortunately happen that the sentiment of effort and resistance predominates, we shall probably arrive at a negative result, the reverse of that which we desire, a result whose dimensions will be proportional to the efforts we have made to avoid it.

Always think that what you have to do is easy, if possible. In this state of mind you will not spend more of your strength than just what is necessary; if you consider it difficult, you will spend ten, twenty times more strength than you need; in other words you will waste it. Effort becomes superfluous if we can acquire belief in the ease of change.

Nevertheless, effort and willpower are an interference but faith in oneself and confidence are essential, Make this autosuggestion with confidence, with faith, with the certainty of obtaining what you want. The greater the conviction, the greater and more rapid will be the results. Baudouin, This is absolutely the only manifestation of will necessary, or even desirable.

During the daytime, autosuggestions are repeated very rapidly to prevent the mind from straying onto antagonistic ideas. When one learns the trick he is able to become master of himself. To help students get the knack of autosuggestion, he repeatedly makes use of the same set of examples intended to support his argument that the conscious will is weaker than the imagination, 1.

The Insomnia Example. He could have added the corollary that they may, however, fall asleep if they believe they have been given sleeping tablet, which is actually a placebo. The Forgetting Example. The Laughter Example. When people have an uncontrollable fit of the giggles they often complain that the more pressure is put upon them to stop laughing the more they find it difficult to stop. The Cycling Example. When someone is learning to ride a bike and they worry about hitting a bump and falling off, the more they struggle to maintain balance the more likely they seem to be to achieve the opposite and crash into things.

He could have used the example of people struggling to swim, who thrash around and go under rather than calmly treading water. The Stammering Example. The more worried a stammerer becomes about their speech the more errors they tend to make.

Yet when alone they may be able to read aloud without flaw. They must understand autosuggestion to benefit from the method, and his performance is crucial in building their confidence in themselves and their ability to influence their mind and body.

The Hand Clasp Experiment Subjects are asked to clasp their hands tightly together and straighten their arms. Sometimes muttering the words rapidly under their breath. Indeed, this particular test has become a mainstay of hypnotic demonstrations over the intervening years. The Fist-Clench Experiment The subject clenches their fist and suggests to themselves that it cannot open, after an initial effort they tell themselves it can open again.

The Pen-Drop Experiment The subject grasps a pen between their fingers and suggests to themselves, and imagines, that they cannot release it and let it drop. The Hand Stuck Experiment The subject presses their palm onto a tabletop and suggests that it is stuck in place and cannot be lifted.

The Stiff Leg Experiment The subject imagines their legs are stiff and stuck in place so they cannot walk. The Stuck in Chair Experiment The subject imagines being glued to their chair so that they cannot stand up. These techniques take the form either of autosuggestions of one simple muscular movement e.

He felt this experiment worked best of all, probably because it inherently amplifies the ideo-motor response and involves a simple movement rather than a challenge entailing antagonistic responses.

He then delivers a long series of positive suggestions for the whole group, which each person is to repeat internally. What follows is a fairly traditional hypnosis script, focused on general physical well-being and healthy functioning. I repeat it, and this confidence will enable you to do whatever you want to do well, even very well, whatever it may be, on condition, naturally, that it is reasonable […]. Believing that the thing which you wish to do is easy, it becomes so for you, although it may appear difficult to others.

And you will do this thing quickly and well, with pleasure, without fatigue, without effort; while, on the other hand, had you considered it difficult or impossible, it would have become so for you, simply because you would have thought it so! Nevertheless, the overall effect of these seminars must have given participants an impressive sense of the potential of autosuggestion.


Emile Coue Quotes



Émile Coué



Émile Coué’s Method of “Conscious Autosuggestion”


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