Please join us every Wednesday for the next seven weeks as we examine the unique aspects of treating stuttering with online therapy.
This week’s focus – all about teletherapy
Time, place, the number of treatment hours are less important factors for the successful treatment of stuttering than the clinician’s depth of knowledge, experience and ability to lead clients through an exciting and adventurous process of changing their speaking experience. They are also secondary to the client’s willingness and ability to participate in the process of breaking away from the thoughts, feelings, and procedures that have interfered with satisfying communication through verbal self-expression.
Now let’s imagine that a person who stutters is ready for change, but does not know where to go to find that experienced clinician, or that he lives a great distance from a center that specializes in stuttering treatment. The constraints of time, place or accessibility no longer need to preclude receiving treatment from a clinician who specializes in stuttering. In this series of posts, I will explain how telepractice has broadened the scope of therapy for adolescents and adults.
I began using the Internet for treatment out of necessity. I am located in Israel, but travel to the USA several times a year to work in clinics in northern and central New Jersey. The in-person treatment that I administer involves one-on-one sessions for approximately 4-6 weeks with follow-up sessions. Once the technology became available, I used the Internet follow-up sessions. I soon realized that the ease, effectiveness, and functionality of this format make it possible to treat clients online from the start. That is how in 2008 I came to establish Stuttering Online Therapy. Now, after two years, I am traveling the globe from the comfort of my home office. To date, I have treated and/or held consultations with people in Australia, Bangalore, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Ecuador, Egypt, France, India, Israel, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Slovakia, Sudan, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and USA.
Teletherapy is not new to speech therapy. It is used in Aphasia-Apraxia treatment and for distance delivery of stuttering treatment (Harrison et. al.,1999; Kuly, 2000; Sicotte et. al., 2003; Wilson et. al., 2004). The American Speech Hearing and Language Association (ASHA) has studied its application since 1998 leading to position papers (2005; 2010).
The teletherapy model lends itself extremely well to stuttering therapy, because most approaches rely on auditory and visual communicative interaction. Treatment is non-invasive and does not require hands-on intervention. There is really little need for adapting therapeutic procedures for teletherapy.
Coming next week: Ethical Issues for online therapy