I have been watching a chat in which some people who stutter expressed the feeling that it is better to stutter than to use strategies to control stuttering. That is very understandable. They don’t want to work to control stuttering. Isn’t trying to speak hard enough work! Speaking should not have to be work so, believing that speaking fluently requires even more work than they are used to when they speak, they reject therapy altogether.
The thing is though, improving one’s ability to speak easily doesn’t mean learning a way to speak that is hard work. This is precisely the reason that I am writing this blog. I want people who stutter to know this. It is also the reason that I’ve gone beyond the walls of my clinic and gone online. I want more people to have the opportunity to experience what it means to speak without effort. I want the stuttering community throughout the world to know that there is another choice beside stuttering or managing your stuttering with effort. By a fortunate stroke of serendipity, while trying all the other treatment approaches, I have discovered that there is another option, an empirically proven option. Successful therapy enables people who stutter to peel away the layers of control, and to change their thoughts and perspective about how to speak. People who stutter can actually give up working hard to talk.
It is true that some people who stutter are so used to speaking with control that they aren’t aware that they are even doing something that non-stuttering speakers don’t do. They simply do not think that speaking can be so much easier. The belief that there are words and sounds that are hard to say is common among people who stutter, and so many people accept that it is natural to have to struggle to say words that begin with a particular letter or to say certain words. They think the only option is to slow down and remember to breath when saying these words, especially when speaking to or in front of more than one person.
The good news is that speaking can be comfortable, automatic, and fun. That’s what I believe the goal of stuttering therapy should be. That is why Dynamic Stuttering Therapy is all about getting free from the struggle to get words out. It’s that freedom that leads to good communication.
One of my clients described his treatment experience this way:
“I worked with Barbara Dahm via Skype for approximately 6 months and the result has been very significant and lasting improvements in fluency. I literally began to see results after the first session. The resulting increase in fluency has allowed me to accept professional challenges that I would have ordinarily rejected out of fear. Speaking is now fun rather than something to be avoided.
“Barbara is a visionary because she sees what is hidden in plain sight, but what other therapists have ignored—the differences in how normal speakers and stutterers produce speech. Thus, Barbara’s therapy is a process of subtracting what a stutterer does to interfere with normal speech—she helps to free the normal speaker within. Barbara led me through a gentle and rewarding process of observation and exercises that made it increasingly obvious what I am doing when I stutter. She provided a clear roadmap to increased fluency. The process is fun and enjoyable; Barbara is a generous, gracious and gentle guide. I feel fortunate beyond measure to know Barbara. She has literally helped to change my life.”