The Children's Clinic

In different parts of France a little band of workers, recruited almost

exclusively from the ranks of former patients, is propagating the ideas

of Emile Coue with a success which almost rivals that of their master.

Among these helpers none is more devoted or more eminently successful

than Mlle. Kauffmant. She it is who, at the time of my visit, was

managing the children's department of the Nancy clinic.[1]

> While Coue was holding his consultations on the ground floor, young

mothers in twos and threes, with their babies in their arms, could be

seen ascending to the upper story, where a little drama was performed

of a very different nature from that going on below.

In a large room, decorated with bright pictures and equipped with toys,

a number of silent young women were seated in a wide circle. Their

sick children lay in their arms or played at their feet. Here was a

child whose life was choked at the source by hereditary disease--a

small bundle of skin and bone with limbs like bamboo canes. Another

lay motionless with closed eyes and a deathly face, as if pining to

return to the world it came from. A little cripple dragged behind it a

deformed leg as it tried to crawl, and near by a child of five was

beating the air with its thin arms in an exhausting nervous storm.

Older children were also present, suffering from eye and ear trouble,

epilepsy, rickets, any one of the ailments, grave or slight, to which

growing life is subjected.

In the centre of this circle sat a young woman with dark hair and a

kindly keen face. On her lap was a little boy of four years with a

club foot. As she gently caressed the foot, from which the clumsy boot

had been removed, she told in a crooning tone, mingled with endearing

phrases, of the rapid improvement which had already begun and would

soon be complete. The foot was getting better; the joints were more

supple and bent with greater ease; the muscles were developing, the

tendons were drawing the foot into the right shape and making it

straight and strong. Soon it would be perfectly normal; the little one

would walk and run, play with other children, skip and bowl hoops. He

would go to school and learn his lessons, would be intelligent and

receptive. She told him too that he was growing obedient, cheerful,

kind to others, truthful and courageous. The little boy had put one

arm round her neck and was listening with a placid smile. His face was

quite contented; he was enjoying himself.

While Mlle. Kauffmant was thus engaged, the women sat silent watching

her intently, each perhaps mentally seeing her own little one endowed

with the qualities depicted. The children were quiet, some dreamily

listening, some tranquilly playing with a toy. Except for an

occasional word of advice Mademoiselle was quite indifferent to them.

Her whole attention was given to the child on her knee; her thought

went out to him in a continual stream, borne along by a current of love

and compassion, for she has devoted her life to the children and loves

them as if they were her own. The atmosphere of the room was more like

that of a church than a hospital. The mothers seemed to have left

their sorrows outside. Their faces showed in varying degrees an

expression of quiet confidence.

When this treatment had continued for about ten minutes, Mlle.

Kauffmant returned the child to its mother and, after giving her a few

words of advice, turned to her next patient. This was an infant of

less than twelve months. While suffering from no specific disease it

was continually ailing. It was below normal weight, various foods had

been tried unsuccessfully, and medical advice had failed to bring about

an improvement. Mademoiselle resumed her seat with the child on her

lap. For some time the caresses, which were applied to the child's

head and body, continued in silence. Then she began to talk to it.

Her talk did not consist of connected sentences, as with the elder

child who had learned to speak, but of murmured assurances, as if her

thoughts were taking unconsciously the form of words. These

suggestions were more general than in the previous case, bearing on

appetite, digestion, assimilation, and on desirable mental and moral

qualities. The caress continued for about ten minutes, the speech was

intermittent, then the infant was returned to its mother and

Mademoiselle turned her attention to another little sufferer.

With patients who are not yet old enough to speak Mlle. Kauffmant

sometimes trusts to the caress alone. It seems to transmit the

thoughts of health quite strongly enough to turn the balance in the

child's mind on the side of health. But all mothers talk to their

children long before the words they use are understood, and Mlle.

Kauffmant, whose attitude is essentially maternal, reserves to herself

the same right. She adheres to no rigid rule; if she wishes to speak

aloud she does so, even when the child cannot grasp the meaning of her


This is perhaps the secret of her success: her method is plastic like

the minds she works on. Coue's material--the adult mind--is more

stable. It demands a clear-cut, distinct method, and leaves less room

for adaptation; but the aim of Mlle. Kauffmant is to fill the child

within and enwrap it without with the creative thoughts of health and

joy. To this end she enlists any and every means within her power.

The child itself, as soon as it is old enough to speak, is required to

say, morning and night, the general formula: "Day by day, in every way,

I'm getting better and better." If it is confined to its bed, it is

encouraged to repeat this at any time and to make suggestions of health

similar to those formulated in the sittings. No special directions are

given as to how this should be done. Elaborate instructions would only

introduce hindersome complications. Imagination, the power to pretend,

is naturally strong and active in all children, and intuitively they

make use of it in their autosuggestions. Moreover, they unconsciously

imitate the tone and manner of their instructress.

But the centre of the child's universe is the mother. Any system which

did not utilise her influence would be losing its most powerful ally.

The mother is encouraged during the day to set an example of

cheerfulness and confidence, to allude to the malady only in terms of

encouragement--so renewing in the child's mind the prospect of

recovery--and to exclude as far as possible all depressing influences

from its vicinity. At night she is required to enter the child's

bedchamber without waking the little one and to whisper good

suggestions into its sleeping ear. Thus Mlle. Kauffmant concentrates a

multiplicity of means to bring about the same result. In this she is

aided by the extreme acceptivity of the child's mind, and by the

absence of that mass of pernicious spontaneous suggestions which in the

adult mind have to be neutralised and transformed. It is in children,

then, that the most encouraging results may be expected. I will quote

three cases which I myself investigated to show the kind of results

Mlle. Kauffmant obtains:

A little girl was born without the power of sight. The visual organs

were intact, but she was incapable of lifting her eye-lids and so

remained blind to all intents and purposes up to her seventh year. She

was then brought by the mother to Mlle. Kauffmant. After a fortnight's

treatment the child began to blink; gradually this action became more

frequent, and a month after the treatment began she could see well

enough to find her way unaided about the streets. When I saw her she

had learnt to distinguish colours--as my own experiments proved--and

was actually playing ball. The details supplied by Mlle. Kauffmant

were confirmed by the mother.

A child was born whose tuberculous father had died during the mother's

pregnancy. Of five brothers and sisters none had survived the first

year. The doctors to whom the child was taken held out no hope for its

life. It survived, however, to the age of two, but was crippled and

nearly blind, in addition to internal weaknesses. It was then brought

to Mlle. Kauffmant. Three months later, when I saw it, nothing

remained of its troubles but a slight squint and a stiffness in one of

its knee-joints. These conditions, too, were rapidly diminishing.

Another child, about nine years of age, also of tuberculous parents,

was placed under her treatment. One leg was an inch and a half shorter

than the other. After a few months' treatment this disparity had

almost disappeared. The same child had a wound, also of tuberculous

origin, on the small of the back, which healed over in a few weeks and

had completely disappeared when I saw her.

In each of the above cases the general state of health showed a great

improvement. The child put on weight, was cheerful and bright even

under the trying conditions of convalescence in a poverty-stricken

home, and in character and disposition fully realised the suggestions

formulated to it.

Since the suggestions of Mlle. Kauffmant are applied individually, the

mothers were permitted to enter and leave the clinic at any time they

wished. Mademoiselle was present on certain days every week, but this

was not the sum of her labours. The greater part of her spare time was

spent in visiting the little ones in their own homes. She penetrated

into the dingiest tenements, the poorest slums, on this errand of

mercy. I was able to accompany her on several of these visits, and saw

her everywhere received not only with welcome, but with a respect akin

to awe. She was regarded, almost as much as Coue himself, as a worker

of miracles. But the reputation of both Coue and Mlle. Kauffmant rests

on a broader basis even than autosuggestion, namely on their great

goodness of heart.

They have placed not only their private means, but their whole life at

the service of others. Neither ever accepts a penny-piece for the

treatments they give, and I have never seen Coue refuse to give a

treatment at however awkward an hour the subject may have asked it.

The fame of the school has now spread to all parts not only of France,

but of Europe and America. Coue's work has assumed such proportions

that his time is taken up often to the extent of fifteen or sixteen

hours a day. He is now nearing his seventieth year, but thanks to the

health-giving powers of his own method he is able to keep abreast of

his work without any sign of fatigue and without the clouding of his

habitual cheerfulness by even the shadow of a complaint. In fact, he

is a living monument to the efficacy of Induced Autosuggestion.

It will be seen that Induced Autosuggestion is a method by which the

mind can act directly upon itself and upon the body to produce whatever

improvements, in reason, we desire. That it is efficient and

successful should be manifest from what has gone before. Of all the

questions which arise, the most urgent from the viewpoint of the

average man seems to be this--Is a suggester necessary? Must one

submit oneself to the influence of some other person, or can one in the

privacy of one's own chamber exercise with equal success this potent

instrument of health?

Coue's own opinion has already been quoted. Induced Autosuggestion is

not dependent upon the mediation of another person. We can practise

it for ourselves without others being even aware of what we are doing,

and without devoting to it more than a few minutes of each day.

Here are a few quotations from letters written by those who have thus

practised it for themselves.

"For a good many years now a rheumatic right shoulder has made it

impossible for me to sleep on my right side and it seriously affected,

and increasingly so, the use of my right arm. A masseuse told me she

could effect no permanent improvement as there was granulation of the

joints and a lesion. I suddenly realised two days ago that this

shoulder no longer troubled me and that I was sleeping on that side

without any pain. I have now lost any sensation of rheumatism in this

shoulder and can get my right arm back as far as the other without the

slightest twinge or discomfort. I have not applied any remedy or done

anything that could possibly have worked these results except my

practise of Coue."

L. S. (Sidmouth, Devon).

1 January, 1922.

"At my suggestion a lady friend of mine who had been ill for a good ten

years read La Maitrise de soi-meme. I encouraged her as well as I

could, and in a month she was transformed. Her husband, returning from

a long journey, could not believe his eyes. This woman who never got

up till midday, who never left the fire-side, whom the doctors had

given up, now goes out at 10 a.m. even in the greatest cold. Other

friends are anxiously waiting to read your pamphlet.

L. C. (Paris).

17 December, 1921.

"I am very much interested in your method, and since your lecture I

have, every night and morning, repeated your little phrase. I used to

have to take a pill every night, but now my constipation is cured and

the pills are no longer necessary. My wife is also much better in

every way. We've both got the bit of string with twenty knots."

H. (a London doctor).

7 January, 1922.

"Your method is doing me more good every day. I don't know how to

thank you for the happiness I now experience. I shall never give up

repeating the little phrase."

E. B. Guievain (Belgium).

23 November, 1921.

"I have followed your principles for several months and freed myself

from a terrible state of neurasthenia which was the despair of my three


G. (Angouleme).

23 January, 1922.

"My friend Miss C. completely cured herself of a rheumatic shoulder and

knee in a very short time, and then proceeded to turn her attention to

her eyesight.

She had worn spectacles for 30 years and her left eye was much more

short-sighted than her right. When she began she could only read

(without her glasses and with her left eye) when the book was almost

touching her face. In six weeks she had extended the limit of vision

so that she saw as far with the left as formerly with the right.

Meanwhile the right had improved equally. She measured the distances

every week, and when she was here a few days ago she told me she had in

three days gained 4 centimetres with her left and 6 centimetres with

her right eye. She had done this on her own."

G. (London).

5 January, 1922.