A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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v                     THE EVOLUTION OF PSYCHOTHERAPY                207
For many neurologists Du Bois' method of medical moralization smacked too much of the metaphysical notion of sublime thought replacing disease. Pierre Janet, found fault with the method of persuasion because it bordered on the mystical. Janet discerned something of the metaphysics of Mary Baker Eddy about it. Du Bois' hearty insistence that his patients should think less of their bodies sounded to Janet like a retrogression to religious healing. He felt that the whole idea of the ' educative personality ' and ' personal force ' was an unscientific derivative of American psychology and the aggressive American spirit.
While psychologists in academic circles and neurologists in the clinic were struggling to evaluate and develop hypnosis, suggestion and persuasion as methods of treatment, other mental healers were continuing at their tasks. Of these, one whose efforts were modest, more ephemeral, yet, for a time, immensely popular, was Emile Coue. His autosuggestion followed the developments that have just been traced.
In common with many laymen throughout the world, Coue, an apothecary of Nancy, was intrigued with the idea of healing by means of suggestion for many years before he brought his interest to the outside world. As an amateur he could not devote as much time to healing as did his professional colleagues, but he worked on alone, developing the theories of the Nancy School. After some twenty years of experiment, it dawned on him that the power of suggestive therapy consisted in the stimulation of autosuggestion in the patient himself. Most of his therapy was done in his own home, his garden being used as a waiting room, and his parlour as his consulting-room. A simple man, he seemed genuinely interested in helping people. As his fame grew he saw more and more patients, until at