A look at Stuttering Therapy Online – a seven-part series
Please join us every Wednesday for the next two weeks as we examine the unique aspects of treating stuttering with online therapy.
This week’s focus – participation procedures for teletherapy
The procedure for participating in online therapy is quite simple. People contact me through my website or email. Once they send me their skype name we set up an appointment for a free initial consultation. During this meeting we begin to get to know each other and can assess if online therapy is the right option for the individual. We also have an opportunity to sort out problems with the connection, cameras, microphones, headsets or even lighting conditions. If, after this consultation, the individual decides to begin treatment, we set a time for the first session.
Sessions are from 45 minutes to 1-½ hours depending on the stage of therapy and other personal criteria. All sessions are held by appointment only. Being prompt and available at the agreed time is a requirement. Since I am treating people in various time zones, I try to be as flexible as possible with my treatment schedule. Often the time zone differences work to everyone’s benefit, because I can keep fairly normal working hours while the client can participate in therapy either very early in the morning before going to work or during the quiet hours of the evening.
There is no magic number of sessions required. I have divided the treatment process into these four stages. Stage 1 focuses on understanding speech production, and doing activities to change the way you speak and relate to yourself as speaker. In Stage 2 the client gains heightened awareness of speech processes and does repetitive exercises in normal connected speech while creating new thoughts. During Stage 3, the client etches the process in procedural memory while gradually increasing use of new process at will in real life. In Stage 4 the client uses the new way of producing speech automatically in real life as part of the subconscious self.
Roughly speaking, Stage 1 & 2 take 3-6 sessions each, depending on the individual. Stage 3 takes from six months to a year of mainly self-practice and gradually incorporating changes into real-life situations. Sessions with the clinician in Stage 3 are optional and depend on the client’s feelings and personal need for support.
Clients do not have to commit to a certain number of sessions. Ideally, it is best to have clinical guidance at frequent intervals during stages 1 & 2, but progress can be made at a slower rate with less frequent sessions. Payment is made per session via PayPal. Some people have a very small budget for treatment so they suffice with only minimal direction and continue on their own. Others work through one stage with me, take a break while reinforcing what they have learned, then return for a few more sessions to work through the next stage. Still others prefer to have me guide them through treatment until they are well into stage 4.
Units of the Dynamic Stuttering Therapy workbook are sent to clients for their personal use as they progress through therapy. All people who participate in treatment work at giving up unnatural control of the speech production system and developing the normal automatic way of speaking. However, the content of the sessions are individualized to suit each client’s needs.
Last week: Appropriate Populations
Coming next week: Pros and Cons of Teletherapy