Mental preparedness is an important factor in the successful use of the new process in daily life. Our mind, brain and body work together and affect the way we function. Neurologists believe that sensations and thoughts are stored and become memories that are linked into neural networks by means of synaptic connections. Dr. Shad Helmstetter, a highly acclaimed psychologist wrote, “Every thought we think, every conscious or unconscious thought we say to ourselves, is translated into electrical impulses which, in turn, direct the control centers in our brains to electrically and chemically affect and control every motion, every feeling, every action we take, every moment of every day.” This is why people who stutter feel that their stuttering is triggered by certain situations, such as talking on the phone, speaking with sales people, etc. Imagining that they are going to stutter subconsciously triggers the control mode for speaking. During therapy, clients work just as diligently to change their thoughts as well as their speech production processes. Work in both realms is done simultaneously. This insures that a link between new thoughts and experiences and the new neural network is established. Mindfulness training, aspects of cognitive psychology such as NLP, REBT, guided imagery, etc. are an integral part of the therapy process, especially for older clients who have negative memories and thoughts that relate to stuttering.
Here we see that trying to transfer fluency is an impossible and debilitating task that results in frustration. Taking steps that allow the process of normal speech production to seep into the mind, brain and body is possible. It requires changes in neurophysiological processes and the thoughts, perspective, and behaviors of our clients. This can be challenging not only for our clients, but also for clinicians. We must challenge our perspective, our beliefs, our thoughts and orientations. We all know that as much as they try and perhaps because they try, clients cannot transfer fluency into their lives. It doesn’t work. We also know that it is not necessary to accept stuttering as a life decree. There are ways to help our clients make the necessary changes so that the speaking experience is easy and automatic in the therapy room and outside.