Take care of the speech first, then focus on any remaining psychological problems!
Stuttering - What is it? How do you Treat?
With the understanding that a person suffering from speech fluency disorders does not suffer from emotional problems but that they arise from the stuttering itself, research proves that treatment has to be primarily focused on the cause and not the emotions. The success of the stuttering treatment will lead him to overcome all the problems created by the stuttering. One of the problems of people who stutter is that they often fail to speak due to ingrained habits and memory of their failed speech. So, how can one learn to communicate without getting stuck repeatedly in the same vicious cycle of severe feelings of failure?
Stuttering - What Exactly is it, and How is it Treated?
Dr Fluency's method of treating stuttering is relearning how to speak based on breathing, vocalization, and pronunciation via practice with a remarkable bio-feedback-driven computer tablet.
Clients must forget everything they know about speech (and therefore will not fail because speech memory is not involved). They learn to breathe correctly, progressing to slowly learning to pronounce words without stress while gradually gaining confidence. The confidence follows because he manages to pronounce whole words for the first time without getting stuck. Like a baby learning his first steps, the client acquires newfound speech fluency without fail. They learn to control every spoken syllable, and even if a slipup occurs, the ability to correct and continue talking without those around even noticing it will be in the patient's hands. The next step is consistent practice of the correct speech tools he learned to preserve long-lasting results and how to apply the "new speech" in all the different speech situations. Personal guidance from a person who has gone through the treatment themself and knows what is needed to overcome any obstacles, mainly with the help of cognitive-behavioral therapy in which by the process of dealing with the stressful situations caused by the speech fluency disorder over the years, changes the balance of successes/failures and helps the client experience their victories over stuttering.
Many years ago, stuttering was diagnosed as a psychological problem. People who stuttered turned to psychologists to "solve" the psychological issues that caused them to be dysfluent. This was the approach of medicine towards the field of stuttering, which, of course, did not contribute anything to the community of stutterers but exacerbated the problem, having nothing to do with psychology. On the contrary, the disturbance in the flow of speech caused psychological issues, making things worse for the person suffering from them.
The Psychological Challenges of People Who Stutter
Every person suffering from some abnormality often distances themself from society, feeling rejected and unworthy because of their difference. Imagine, though, if that abnormality affects the #1 tool in communication.
Speech is our only means of communication. Therefore, when a person suffers from a speech problem and fails or hesitates to speak, he will find ways to avoid verbal communication. Examples include searching for a job where talking is unnecessary, shying away from relationships with members of the opposite sex due to feelings of shame and rejection, and ordering unwanted food from a menu because he couldn't say what he really wanted to order. People who stutter often feel lonely, distant, and anxious about day-to-day situations.
In the past, when such a person sought psychological treatment, the therapists attributed the speech problem to his mental state. The assumption was that he stuttered because he was anxious, stressed, shy, or insecure.
Today, we know much more about stuttering. A person who stutters does not stutter because he is anxious, stressed, or shy. He stutters because of the negative feelings accompanying his dysfluent speech, with the emotions being a byproduct and not the actual cause.
So, how do you overcome stuttering?
To overcome stuttering, one must go through a rehabilitation process of learning how to control the speech system -- in essence, starting anew -- and not let dysfluency dictate how speech is produced, what is said, and overall quality of life.
You can hear more about the subject in the fascinating lecture we give as part of our compatibility test.