Friday, 4 July 2014

Couéism - The Power of Positive Thought

A photograph of Emile Coué
Coué on a visit to the US in 1917


Noun. Early 20th century.
[Emile Coué (1857-1926), French psychologist.]

A system of psychotherapy by systematic autosuggestion,
usually of an optimistic nature.

Were you ever told that optimism is good for your health? That philosophy, one that is supported by scientific research, was developed by Emile Coué, a French doctor, hypnotherapist and psychologist. While working in an apothecary, Coué became interested in the placebo effect, noting that it not only worked with placebo medication but also boosted the efficacy of genuine treatments; therefore, he openly praised the merits of medication he was prescribing, and even popped a brief, positive note in with the prescription. What a corking chap!

Ultimately, Coué became so convinced of the power of positive thought that he abandoned traditional hypnotherapy and developed a system of conscious autosuggestion. This involved the subject repeating a positive phrase throughout the day, the most famous being: "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better." While few of us practise formal Couéism, all of us constantly run an internal dialogue, giving ourselves encouragement and guidance and, sadly, berating ourselves too. By the principles of Couéism, the more positive that internal commentary is, the better it will be for us. So come on! You can do it! And so can I! Let's get out there and take this world ...

Beautiful Boy by John Lennon references Couéism

Have you ever practised Couéism?

Do please leave your most positively optimistic comments in the box below.


  1. Well, I read a while ago that being pessimist is the trick for happiness ahahahah so go figures ;)

    I've witnessed the placebo effect in Grandmother, who took sleeping pills all her adult life but after the last, of 8, heart surgeries doctors said she could no longer have them.
    At the hospital they forbid the pills and she didn't sleep for two days - not even a blink - until she begged for them. They gave her a new ones and she slept like an angel. When she went home she would fret to be without those magical pills. One day my father went to the hospital because she was almost without and the doctor confided that she was taking a pill of nothing... her own mind was being Couéismed ;) to believe she was taking sleeping pills and shut when she felt the effect. What about you praising a glum person who instantly sees the world and yourself through more rosy glasses?
    Words have power. Gestures too. And this is the guy to blame, uh?
    Wishing you a lovely weekend,

    1. he power of placebo is quite astonishing. What I like about Coué, though, is that he used the power of placebo, not to swindle, but to enhance the genuine medical efficacy of treatments. Therefore, when supplying an allopathic medicine, he knew that being positive about its effects would make the patient more positive and therefore enhance the entire therapy.

      With regards his psychotherapy system, I don't know anyone that's done it formally, but it's easy to see how we all do this: "Come on, Ed! You can do it!" I believe that the benefits of such positive reinforcement to both health and the achievement of specific goals are well attested to in scientific research.

    2. Really like your reply to Teresa's comment ... great attitude!

  2. Ha! I'd never heard of Coueism before ( by the way, what an impressive string of consecutive vowels ) but I had heard that line before: "Every day, in every way..." but couldn't for the life of me think where.
    It was in the beginning of an Inspector Clouseau movie just before Inspector Dreyfuss loses it completely after seeing Clouseau.
    Didn't work that time either.

    1. I was exactly the same, A.N - that classic chat by the lake scene!

      And you're right about the vowels, which would make 'Couéism' a really useful Scrabble word for divesting oneself of surplus vowels. If it wasn't capitalised. And didn't have a diacritic. Which makes it an utterly useless Scrabble word. Nuts.

  3. This is exactly what Joel Osteen preaches (he obviously doesn't preach the Gospel).

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