PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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3J2          PSYCHOTHERAPY : SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
attention, the second that it shall be enveloped in some more or less powerful affect. The New Nancy School emphasize a third condition, that it shall not be held in attention by conscious effort. This is considered by Baudouin to be Coue's most original contribution to the psychology of autosuggestion and is called by him the Law of Reversed Effort.
Coue's own formula runs thus, ' When the will and imagination are at war, the imagination always wins \
This really means that in making a conscious effort of will we call up into the mind the idea of a hostile force, and this second suggestion cancels the first. A completed will involves imagination. In the original French of the formula the word ' will ' (vou/ozr) also means ' wish ' ; so it is possible to render the formula thus, ' When an effortful wish and the imagination are in conflict, the imagination wins \
Baudouin's own statement of this law, however, runs thus, ' When an idea imposes itself on the mind to such an extent as to give rise to a suggestion, all the conscious efforts which the subject makes in order to counteract this suggestion are not merely without the desired effect, but they actually run counter to the subject's conscious wishes and tend to intensify the suggestion \ These conditions he illustrated by the impossibility of walking along a high plank with a sheer drop on both sides without falling off, although the plank may be of such a width that it would be quite easy to walk along it if it were lying on the floor. Spontaneous attention is unavoidably caught by the idea of falling off, and there is a very powerful emotional accompaniment (of fear or horror) to this idea. These are the first two conditions which have been mentioned as those under which ideas tend to become realized by spontaneous autosuggestion. If the person concerned could manage either not to think about