Part V: 

Handling Special Problems - Such as Stuttering  

Reactivated 10/25/98


To find which sections I have updated since your last visit, use edit find function with the dates you did not visit this page. E.g. 10/26/97, 10/27/97, 11/3/97 etc. 


Table of contents

Suggested Reading

REBT ans Stuttering

Measurable Signs of Progress

REBToS Phases

Contrast with Other Therapies

Psychological Health

Psychological Health for PWoS

Socratic Therapy

Daily Rational Rethinking

Exercises

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Comments on STUTT-L List Server E-Mail

 

 

 


updated 10/26/97

Suggested Reading

1) Ellis, Albert and Harper, Robert A Guide to Rational Living 3rd Edition (This book should be available at any book store. I suggest the website www.amazon.com.) This is the the basic book of introduction to REBT.

2) Webster, William G. and Poulos, Marie G. Facilitating Fluency, Transfer Strategies for Adult Stuttering Treatment Programs. This book can be ordered from ISTAR This book illustrates how REBT can be used with Fluency Shaping, but REBT can be used it with Van Riper's technique, SSMP, Schwartz techniques, etc. The general attitudes and self talk applies equally well across the board. 


updated 11/3/97

REBT and Stuttering

Back in 1954, when I was first undergoing stuttering therapy, and, as a consequence, starting to learn more about the topic, I found two opposite schools of thought about the topic: first led by Charles Van Riper, which taught how to stutter more fluently and gain control of the speech and second led by Wendell Johnson, a general semanticist, who in a primitive way, tried to prevent those of us who stutter, infrequently or frequently, not to define ourselves into a box, by labeling ourselves as "stutterers" (since we have many more aspects to ourselves than just the one characteristic of stuttering). Through decades, these two schools of stuttering therapy fought each other, not understanding that both approaches are prerequisites for effective stuttering therapy.

With the advent of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT formerly known as Rational Emotive Therapy, RET), the missing links were scientifically established to flesh out both the arguments why both Charles Van Riper and Wendell Johnson were right. Moreover, REBT provides the major tools to facilitate the therapy process, as well as guide the person who has a tendency to stutter to a full and enjoyable life.

Stuttering syndrome consists of the 10 elements listed below:

1. The overt stuttering.

2. The underlying physical mechanism where stress (usually self created) translates into disfluency.

3. The self created and reinforced habit of struggling behavior, also known as secondary stuttering.

4. The concomitant self created anxiety and shame.

5. Which is based on underlying irrational beliefs and self talk such as I am not a worthwhile person if I stutter and only inadequate people stutter.

6. The consequent avoidance in going after desirable social contacts, vocational goals, and avocational activities.

7. The resulting deficiencies in social skills such as communication and assertiveness.

8. And also the resulting deficiencies in personal skills such as goal setting, self discipline and overcoming procrastination, since we PWoS tend to postpone living until we "cure" stuttering.

9. The universal problems of enraging ourselves over some event or person, refusal to unconditionally accept ourselves, making ourselves depressed over sad events, making oneself ashamed of things we can't do anything about, making oneself feel guilty about being fallible human beings, feeling sorry for ourselves, making ourselves feel inadequate, demanding that world run according to our whims and wishes, making ourselves needlessly anxious, otherwise foolishly upsetting ourselves, or just plain whining, whimpering or worse yet, wasting ourselves in alcohol or drugs (which unfortunately I have seen a number of PWoSs do). These all too human tendencies are unfortunately exaggerated by the unfortunate problems that we face.

10. Underdeveloped lack of sense of humor. Having had to solve stuttering problem we often take life too seriously as evidenced by my and other PWoSs e-mail.

If we accept the above definition, and there is a lot of evidence that all of the ten above problems are visible in a majority of the stutters then no "pink pill", no matter how good, would only address all of the above elements. At the best it would treat item #2 and posibly item #1. What do we do about the other eight? We use Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy to work on them!

In summary, I believe that stuttering is not something to be cured like a broken leg or bacterial pneumonia, where the proper treatment is setting the broken bone or giving antibiotics, respectively. Instead it is like diabetes or chronic pain that better be managed. Using the medical jargon the treatment is not curative.

When a PWoS asks whether he can be "cured". We take time to answer that perfect, stutter free speech is unlikely, but it is also not necessary, since the resulting flowingness of the speech is such that an onlooker would not be able to tell if the speaker does or does not have any blocks. Moreover, most people stutter and stammer time to time, thus, stripped of secondary stuttering, the PWoS after enough practice can fall, looking from outside, in the fuzzy category of "having normal speech". The apparent paradox is that those people who demand perfect fluency are exactly those who will not attain normally flowing speech, which might be catagorized by some people as fluent speech. In REBT terms, however, there is no paradox. REBT states that practically all neurotic emoting and behaving stems from placing demands on oneself, others or the world. 


updated 11/7/97

Measurable Signs of Progress in Dealing with Stuttering Syndrome

One of the basic rules of rational stuttering therapy is not to focus on
the fluency of the client, since the client tends to build up demands
around the issue of fluency and, thus, sabotage his progress toward a
pursuit of happiness. Anecdotal evidence documents that when an
individual no longer demands that he be fluent, his stuttering behavior
extinguishes itself.

Therefore, in order not to use fluency as a measure of progress in
dealing with stuttering syndrome rational emotive behavioral stuttering
therapy uses these measures to document progress:

In the area of beliefs and attitudes:
1. Stuttering behavior is no longer considered as awful, horrible, and
terrible but a only inconvenience, a hurdle in pursuit of practical
goal, and a challenge to be overcome through proper, maybe even life
long, self therapy where the person who stutters hires in consultants
such as speech/language professionals and cognitive psychological
counselors, such as rational emotive behavior therapists, gestalt
therapist, etc. The individual takes charge of solving his own problem
and believes that as he learns more about it his pursuit of happiness
will be more successful. Proper questions and scales can be set up to
make this measurable.
2. Stuttering is no longer considered to be something to be ashamed of,
but accepted as a nuisance to be worked on.
3. Practically all the anxiety about a speech situation has been
eliminated through desensitization and cognitive work, work on ones self
talk, and the person who stutters understands that whenever he is
anxious, he is holding on to some demands about himself, others, or the
world. He understands that even if he stutters, it will not diminish
his self worth nor make his life unbearable. The individual has learned
to accept himself or herself what he/she is now, and calmly pursue
future goals.

In a given situation:
4. Fluency is not measured in any shape or form.
5. Application of home work technique is graded.
6. Secondary stuttering symptoms are recorded both in frequency and
severity.
7. Avoidances are recorded.
8. Eye contact is graded.

In the area of pursuit of happiness and general life style:
9. The planning and pursuit of occupational goals is graded.
10. The planning and pursuit of avocational goals is graded.
11. The planning and pursuit of friendships and romantic goals are
graded.

In the area of communication:
12. The ever expanding set of speaking situations are recorded. Calmly
every person who stutters better have some goal, no matter how distant,
to speak in front of a crowd or at least local televison or radio. This
is a goal which may take decades, but which can be aimed at.
13. Have an expert group such as Toastmasters judge the effectiveness of
communicating of ones ideas.

Sense of humor
14. The person who stutters has a philosophica outlook about life, a
sense of self, and, hence, can take a joke, even though it is about him
or his stuttering.


updated 10/21/97

REBToS Phases

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy of Stuttering (henceforth known as REBToS) is a comprehensive therapy consisting of six phases:

1. Searching for, discovering, and uprooting the main irrational, self-defeating beliefs and attitudes. The irrational beliefs become evident as the result of how you feel. REBT considers the highly charged upseting emotions of anxiety, shame, guilt, shyness, anger, extreme urgency and depression as irrational. Behind each of them is a demand that you have placed on yourself, others or the world in general.

For example, shame is a devout belief that "I should have spoken more fluently. Since, I did not speak more fluently, I should be damned and I should be ashamed of myself. I am not as good as other people". These type of sentences are called irrational self-talk and they reflect irrational beliefs. Why are these called irrational? Let us examine them.

Is it rational to say, "I should have spoken more fluently"? I don't know about you, but most of the time, if I could have I would have. Anyway, since it is a statement about the past, I really cannot do anything about it. Thus, "I should have spoken more fluently" is irrational. On top of if, when I devoutly believe in such a statement, then I make myself upset, which does not help me.

The statement, "Since, I did not speak more fluently, I should be damned and I should be ashamed of myself" is also irrational for the following reasons. There is no evidence that people should be damned for anything they do nor is there any advantage of me making myself ashamed of anything.

Upon closer examination you can see that "I am not as good as other people", cannot be logically supported. Since we are such complex persons, we cannot rate ourselves or others. The only rational and philosophically tenable position is that we better accept ourselves unconditionally, and try to change our traits if we consider them undesirable. But we do not have to choose to change our traits if we do not want to. This is a personal choice.

Once we have found some irrational self-talk or idea we better convince ourself through use of empirical evidence and strong emotional self talk that these irrational beliefs are truly irrational and self-defeating and then mercilessly rooting out these beliefs. For example, I can say dramatically to myself, "There really is no reason, why I should feel ashamed." Sometimes using strong rhetorical questions helps: "Why should I feel ashamed?"

The next step is to change the self-talk into a set of more rational and self-actualizing statements. For example, "Although it would have had practical advantages, if I would not have stuttered, there is no reason why I should not have had. Based on my inborn tendencies, my past history, as well as the immutable laws of nature since I stuttered I should have stuttered. Furthermore, there is no reason and no value of making myself ashamed. I can unconditionally accept myself. Furthermore, I can teach myself to completely believe the that I am not less of a person just because one of my characteristics is a tendency to stutter."

If difficulty is experienced in this phase, the PWoS can consult a good REBT therapist or do some reading of the basic works of REBT. Talking or e-mailing to clarify the REBT concepts is extremely helpful.

This phase and phase two overlap.

2. Reclaiming the control over the speech mechanisms and other body parts while in a safe environment. Playing with your speech, doing voluntary or phony stuttering. Prolonging, bouncing, or in any other way altering the speech until you are aware what you are doing.Then arriving at a way of doing controlled speech which is palatable to you.

This usually better be done with the help of a Speech/Language Professional. But there are some people who have learned to do this on their own. The famous actress Marilyn Monroe's breathy way of speaking, the deep baritone of James Earl Jones, and possibly even the way former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger talked, may well have been done without the help of an SLP.

 

3. Having developed a rational set of beliefs about the world in general and stuttering in particular, now you are ready to transfer the control skills to normal speaking situations. This takes practice and work. During all of this time you will be actively working on your attitudes and your ability to control speech.

4. Stabilizing.Once you have arrived at a satisfactory level of flowingness of speech (note not fluency), once you accept that you might stutter on a few words here and there and that this can't hurt you, that this is not awful, you can start stabilizing your success and become a life long flowing speaker with minimum disfluencies.In this stage we keep on working on both the anxiety and shame about disfluencies, and learn how to minimize them.

5. Social skills development.

6. Getting fully involved in living life.


Contrast with Other Therapies

1. Firstly, its main emphasis is on the psychological change that comes about when an individual changes his beliefs and attitudes. Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy posits that all people are born with tendency to be at least neurotic if not outright psychotic. Moreover, our society , as has been the case of all known civilizations, is highly irrational, self-defeating, and outright silly. Our society perpetuates attitudes and beliefs that are extremely harmful to its members. However, if we apply our native intelligence to work on our beliefs and attitudes, we can learn not to be disturbed by things, and, in addition, not to be disturbable about anything, yes, anything.

2. Our fears, shame, helplessness, hopelessness, anger, extreme frustration, and debilitating anxiety about stuttering are only a subset of the general disturbances mentioned above, and with diligent work can be overcome. THIS THEN SHOULD BE THE MAIN GOAL OF ANY COMPLETE stuttering therapy. This is done by working on learning how to accept present stuttering while working on achieving "flowing" not fluent speech. When somebody works on speech mechanisms and does not at the same time work on "his head", his self-talk, he is putting the cart before the horse!!! Surely some people will adapt their self-talk spontaneously, but it is so much more efficient to work explicitly on the attitudes and beliefs.

3. Most speech therapists know this step all too well. Every speech therapy has their own methods, and it may be even interesting to master all of them and then pick the control mechanisms that suit you. I think that Jimmy Stewart, Marilyn Monroe, Earl Ray Jones were geniuses in their own way. But they also had their heads on straighter (about the speech) than most of us.

4. Transferring flowingness to everyday situations, without having a good attitude and sound beliefs is a hit and miss affair. In REBToS this is a very methodological and FUN part of the therapy. By this time the individual has attained a rational outlook on life in general, and stuttering in particular, and he can count on many successes, along with a few "learning experiences". There are no bad outcomes, only good learning experiences, eh?

5. Stabilization may be the hardest part of the stuttering therapy, because as we become more and more fluent we fall back into the trap of wishing to be "normal" speakers. And when the wishes turn back into demands, then the stuttering behaviors return in spades. Let me repeat it again, REBToS states that whenever we demand something, we must have something, we think it will answer all of our worldly desires, we make ourselves unnecessarily anxious. Thus, a few reminders each day that there is nothing inherently wrong with a person who stutters, nor is there anything awful about stuttering itself, nor any reason to feel hopeless and helpless when we lapse a wee bit, will serve one well.


Updated 11/2/97

Psychological Health (portions adapted from REBT as stated by Albert Ellis & Windy Dryden - please refer to their work on Web)

The above gentlemen and many other Rational Emotive Behavior Therapists can teach you the following criteria of psychological health. It may take a little work but it will be worth your while. If you are a good reader and willing to work, you may even arrive at these characteristics on your own. But either with or without help do not expect to become "perfect", that is not about to happen. However, to be a happy, sane person we better strive toward this ideal.

1. Self-Interest: Sensible and emotionally healthy people tend to be primarily interested in themselves and to put their own interests at least a little above the interests of others. They sacrifice themselves to some degree for those for whom they care but not overwhelmingly or completely.

2. Social Interest: Social interest is usually rational and self-helping because most people choose to live and enjoy themselves in a social group or community. If they do not act morally, protect the rights of others, and abet social survival, it is unlikely that they will create the kind of world in which the themselves can live comfortably and happily.

3. Self-Direction: Healthy people tend mainly to assume responsibility for their own lives while simultaneously preferring to cooperate with others. They do not need or demand considerable support or succoring from others, though they may prefer and work for this.

4. High frustration tolerance: Rational individuals give both themselves and others the right to be wrong. Even when they intensely dislike their own and others' behavior, they refrain from damning themselves or others, as persons, for unacceptable or obnoxious behavior. People who are not plagued with debilitating emotional distress tend to go along with St. Francis and Reinhold Niebuhr by changing obnoxious conditions they can change, accepting those they cannot, and constantly learning to tell the difference between the two.*[altered from the original]

5. Flexibility: Healthy and mature individuals tend to be flexible in their thinking, open to change, and unbigoted and pluralistic in their view of other people. They do not make rigid, invariant rules for themselves and others.

6. Acceptance of uncertainty: Healthy men and women tend to acknowledge and accept the idea that we seem to live in a world of probability and chance where absolute certainties do not and probably never will exist. They realize that it is often fascinating and exciting and definitely not horrible to live in this kind of probabilistic and uncertain world. They enjoy a good degree of order but do not demand to know exactly what the future will bring or what will happen to them.

7. Commitment to creative pursuits: Most people tend to be healthier and happier when they are vitallly absorbed in something outside themselves and preferably have at least one powerful creative interest, as well as some major human involvement, that they consider so important that they strucuture a good part of their life around it.

8. Scientific thinking: Nondisturbed individuals tend to be more objective, realistic, and scientific than more disturbed ones. They are able to feel deeply and act concertedly, but they tend to regulate their emotions and actions by reflecting on them and evaluating their consequences in terms of the extent to which they lead to the attainment of short-term goals.

9. Self-acceptance: Healthy people are usually glad to be alive and accept themselves just because they are alive and have some capacity to enjoy themselves. They refuse to measure their intrinsic worth by theur extrinsic achievements or by what others think of them. They frankly choose to have unconditional self-acceptance (USA), and they tru to avoid rating themselves-their totality or their being. They attempt to enjoy rather than to prove themselves.

10. Risk-taking: Emotionally healthy people tend to take a fair amount of risk and to try to do what they want to do, even when there is a good chance that they may fail. They tend to be adventurous but not foolhardy.

11. Long-range hedonism: Well-adjusted people tend to seek both the pleasures of the moments and those of the future and do not often court future pain for present gain. They are hedonistic, that is, happpiness-seeking and pain-avoidant, but they assume that they will probably live for quite a few years and that they had therefore better think of both today and tomorrow and not be obsessed with immediate gratification.

12. Nonutopianism: Healthy people accept the fact that utopias are probably unachievable and that they are never likely to get everything they want and to avoid all pain. They refuse to strive unrealistically for total joy, happpiness, or perfection or for total lack of anxiety, depression, self-downing, and hostility.

13. Self-responsibility for own emotional disturbance: Healthy individuals tend to accept a great deal of responsibility for their own disturbance rather than defensively blame others or social conditions for their self-defeating thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Other characteristics that are frequently present in a mentally healthy person:

14. Healthy Sense of Humor (added by author): Healthy individuals do not take life too seriously and allow themselves to laugh at the incongruencies in the universe, their culture, and their own and others' ideas and behaviors. Taking themselves too seriously impedes their forming a healthy skepticism about their understanding of the world and often leads people to becoming "true believers", that is fanatics who will needlessly sacrifice themselves and others for some (often ridiculous) cause.

15. Good Sense of Priorites: Healthy people understand that life is too short to ever accomplish all that they want to. They feel no need no urgency to do everything, but can prioritize their tasks, albeit, imperfectly. Once they have established their priorities they work in accordance with these.

16. Feeling of Non-Urgency: Healthy people do not feel excessive pressure of time. Since, they do not demand anything, they play the game of life, contendedly, focused, and for the most part relaxed.

17. Nonperfectionism: Perfectionism is the cause for letting most opportunities go by because it is the major cause of procrastination and self damnation afterwards. This web site is a good indication that things can evolve, that a person does not have to have a writer's block. If I were to constantly polish it I would not have time to put down new ideas.

18. Taking Initiative: Healthy people start things not asking for any guarantees of success.

19. Zest for Life: Healthy people live life to the fullest no matter in what circumstances they are.

20. Being Absorbed by Something Creative: Healthy people find something in which they can be creatively absorbed. Be it baking a good cake, building a web site, raising a family, writing a novel, inventing or polishing a scientific theory, music, dance, etc.

21. Curiosity: Healthy people are curious about what is going on around them. They like to talk to others to find out how others think. They like to learn about darn near anything around them.


updated 11/03/97

Psychological Health for PWoS (People Who occasionally Stutter), the Characteristics that Help us Overcome Disfluency, Anxiety, and Underachievement

The Persons With occasional Stuttering (PWoS) who want to lead a happy lives better develop and keep the characteristics stated above and expand them in the following ways as it applies specifically to stuttering. Again let me emphasize that if you are unable to do it on your own contact an REBT therapist. It is cheap at any cost. It may take a little work but it will be worth your while. If you are a good reader and willing to work, you may even arrive at these characteristics on your own. But either with or without help do not expect to become "perfect", that is not about to happen. However, to be a happy, sane PWoS we better strive toward this ideal.

1. Self-Interest: As sensible and emotionally healthy people we understand that we are working to reduce both disfluencies and anxiety about speech for ourselves. We do not do this out of obligation to our parents, spouses, or children. We understand as we step from under the burdens of anxiety and disfluency our life will get easier and we will enjoy it more. We are not doing this to impress other people.

2. Social Interest: However, neither as therapists or stutterers do we needlessly harm other people in the name of "stuttering therapy". It is OK to inconvenience other persons, but expect others or even ourselves to go "beyond the call of duty" is clearly irrational. Even during stuttering therapy we act morally, protect the rights of others, and abet social survival, and try to live comfortably and happily.

3. Self-Direction: Because of the many, sometimes seemingly contradictory therapy theories, we PWoS assume responsibility for our own stuttering therapy, understanding that if we calmly work toward a more fluent speech with less anxiety we will arrive in our goal. All the time we can simultaneously cooperate with others be they speech therapists, psychologists, other PWoS, or merely onlookers. We do not need or demand considerable support or succoring from others, though we may prefer and work for this (and have fun with e-mail, National Stuttering Project conferences, and other events involving other PWoS's or others).

4. High frustration tolerance: We better give both ourselves and others the right to be wrong. Even when we intensely dislike their own behavior (such as severely stuttering, or needlessly making ourselves anxious) and others' behavior (such as their snide comments or well meaning but stupid behavior), we strain to refrain from damning ourselves or others, as persons, for the unacceptable or obnoxious behavior. People who are not plagued with debilitating emotional distress tend to go along with Niebuhr's outlook by working hard to alleviate our obnoxious stutter and debilitating anxiety, accepting the fact that we were born to stutter when we are under stress and up to now have not attained as much of a freedom from disfluencies as we would like to, and constantly learning what about our speech and emotions we can change and assigning priorities to our work and play.

5. Flexibility: Healthy and mature PWoS tend to be flexible in their thinking and experimenting with various stuttering therapies, open to change our opinions if empirical evidence or logical reasoning warrants it, and unbigoted and pluralistic in their view of other people. We try not to make rigid, invariant rules for conducting stuttering therapies on ourselves, but frequently reassess our and other PWoS successes and failures.

6. Acceptance of uncertainty: As healthy men and women, we tend to acknowledge and accept the idea that we seem to live in a world of probability and chance where absolute certainties do not and probably never will exist. Thus we accept that the severity of our stuttering and dysfunctional emotions may wax and vane. That only means we have to work a little more (not even harder, because working too hard is also self-defeating).We come to realize that it is often fascinating and exciting and definitely not horrible to stutter and have some anxieties. That does not make us less of a person. We would enjoy a degree of predictability in our stuttering and anxiety , but we do not demand to know exactly when in the future we will have a disfluency or encounter an anxiety that may take so doing to dispel.

7. Commitment to creative pursuits: Most PWoSs would be better off to find some creative pursuits outside the area of stuttering and communication. Some, like me may not be smart enough to do that.:-)

8. Scientific thinking: Nondisturbed PWoS watch their speech and constantly set up experiments with what helps with their anxiety and flowingness of speech. But when another hypotheses comes along, they are willing to discard their true and tried methods, if the new techniques are better.

9. Self-acceptance: Healthy PWoS accept their past speech, without damning themselves or others. And work to make their speech better.

10. Risk-taking: Emotionally healthy PWoS are willing to experiment with various stuttering therapies until they find one that helps them. They do not demand written guarantees before they are willing to invest massive time and effort.

11. Long-range hedonism: Well-adjusted PWoS is willing to work hard on his speech therapy assignments and sacrifice in the short run, in order to get a flowing speech and better communication skills in the long run.

12. Nonutopianism: Healthy PWoS understand that there may well never be a total "cure" for stuttering and they do not upset themselves about it.

13. Self-responsibility for own emotional disturbance and stuttering syndrome:

1) Healthy PWoS understand that stuttering syndrome has both emotional and behavioral disturbance elements in it. The emotional and behavioral disturbances have cognitive accompaniments, and these cognitions normally take the form of absolutinstic devout evaluations. REBT practitioners train their clients to observe their own psychological disturbances and trace these back to their ideological, emotional, and behavioral roots.

2) People have a distince measure of self-determination and can thus choose to work at undisturbing themselves and make themselves more flowing in speech and better communicators. Thus, clients are shown that they are not sloves to their biologically based and learned dysfunctional thinking processes and speech forming patterns.

3) People can implement their choices and maximize their freedom by actively working at changing their destructive musturbatory beliefs and their speech formation habits. This is best achieved by employing cognitive, emotive, and behavioral methods-often in fquite a forceful and vigorous manner. The cognitive reconstructuring is accompanied by exercises designed by themselves and their therapists in such a way as to change their pattern of thinking and forming their speech.

Other characteristics that are frequently present in a mentally healthy person:

14. Healthy Sense of Humor (added by author): Healthy individuals do not take life too seriously and allow themselves to laugh at the incongruencies in the universe, their culture, and their own and others' ideas and behaviors. Taking themselves too seriously impedes their forming a healthy skepticism about their understanding of the world and often leads people to becoming "true believers", that is fanatics who will needlessly sacrifice themselves and others for some (often ridiculous) cause.

15. Good Sense of Priorites: Healthy PWoSs have learned that working on flowing speech is one of their main priorities in life. However, remaining calm, hedonistic and non demanding are even a higher priorities. Since without focus on enjoyment of life, it is hard to enjoy it. The calmness and non demandingness helps the PWoSs to really work on their speech.

16. Feeling of Non-Urgency: Healthy PWoS understand that changing their self talk and manner of speaking may take some time, although some people can do it within months. They are willing to work calmly towards their goals.

17. Nonperfectionism: Healthy PWoSs are not looking for perfect fluency. They are very happy with excellent flowingness and communication which can almost assuredly be attained by proper work with the REBT and ordinary stuttering therapies.

18. Taking Initiative: Healthy PWoSs don't wait for a perfect speech therapy to evolve. They take the initiative to go to cognitive psychologists, especially REBT psychologists, to resolve their emotional problems which are both inborn and a result of having an impediment in less than tolerant world.

19. Zest for Life: Healthy PWoSs even when they have disfluent or disflowing periods of speech have zest for life and enjoy things. They are not contemplating their navel and feeling sorry for themselves, whining, wailing, whimpering, or wasting their brains with drugs and alcohol.

20. Being Absorbed by Something Creative: Healthy PWoSs, just like other people, are happiest when they are absorbed in something creative. Understanding this, they actually go out and start to plant a garden, rebuild a car, write a book, create a website,...

21. Curiosity: Healthy PWoSs are always curious about all the stuttering therapies and the self talk of other people.


11/3/97

Reclaiming control over the speech mechanisms and other body parts while in a safe environment.

The Roman Emperor Claudius (who gained recognition from the BBC series, "I Claudius") in personal life stuttered but was reputed to be a good orator. This would indicate that he had a "natural voice" and an "orator's voice". Following the example I built a "laboratory voice" (which I also call Kissinger voice, because of the vibrating vowels). My "laboratory voice" can be described as follows:

1) Low in tone,

2)Easy onset (starting with evaporative air over the vocal folds),

3) Awareness oriented,

4) Vibrating the vocal folds,

5) Elongating the vowels past their normal length,

6) Connecting all the words that are spoken with one breath,

7) Deliberately formed, monitored, and peppered with:

8) Cancellations,

9) Anticipated block pre-pullouts,

10) Pullouts of blocks that get past the pre-pullout gate,

11) Play with speed/slowness and bubbling pseudo/voluntary blocks to get the real feeling of control.

I like the LEAVE CD CAPP as a mneumonic. Transferring it out of the laboratory setting to real life situations it has come in real handy, since it is used as a reminder.

The laboratory voice was designed to reclaim control over the speech formation. To really be able to say, "I am doing this. I am not at the mercy of something over which I have no control."

Too bad that my website as yet does not have sound clip capability. As soon as it does I will put a sample of the laboratory voice on it.

Even though my 12 point laboratory voice is OK for me, maybe when I teach it to other people, I will have to just emphasize easy onset of speech, continuous phonation, elongation of vowels, aware vibrating of vocal folds, and cancellation. This may be more manageable. ECEAC. 


11/23/97

Stablilzation

In this stage we are

1) Low in tone,

2)Easy onset (starting with evaporative air over the vocal folds),

3) Awareness oriented,


Updated 10/2/97

 Socratic Therapy

But enough of my exposition. Since REBToS serves the best when it is a Socratic Therapy, I would like to hear from people what do YOU think are rational or self-enhancing beliefs and attitudes about life. (Refer to this as question 1)
Question 2: What are the rational or sane attitudes or beliefs
about stuttering?

Question 3: How can you enjoy yourself, while working on your
speech. (Remember, thinking about life philosophies, IS
WORKING ON YOUR SPEECH, if you come up with rational
ideas and concepts and are flexible enough to adapt them
when faced with contrary empirical evidence or logical
arguments.)

Waiting to hear from you.

Gunars K. Neiders


Skipping Ahead - Daily Rational Rethinking

During this phase of re-educating myself, twice daily I went through the acronyms given below. Once while driving to work and once when driving back.

First acronym: I SAW IT IS A CURSE! consisted of two parts 1) I SAW told me what to do and 2) IT IS A CURSE told me what irrational or self-defeating beliefs I was to challenge.

Do:

I - inspire myself to work on my speech by remembering: a) when I use REBT, Johnson's or Van Riper's type of techniques I am more flowing in my speech and less anxious (here flowing is used purposefully instead of fluent; because fluent implies that other people cannot tell that you have a tendency to stutter, and flowing implies that it does not matter whether you have a tendency to stutter, since the emphasis is on having a good time and communicating well, b) there is immense amount of literature to attest to the success of cognitive therapies concerning anxieties, both ego anxiety and discomfort anxiety, and c) many people besides me have succeeded leading happy and successful lives using various stuttering therapies based on the work of Johnson and Van Riper and have become more or less fluent.

S - set rational and reasonable goals: Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy of Stuttering is designed to help the client: a) gain self-acceptance and speaking confidence, b) learn how to get more enjoyment out of life, c) become involved in the mainstream of society, d) pursue the occupational and recreational goals of his or her choosing, e) learn to communicate effectively and freely without serious anxiety both in public and private situations, f) significantly reduce stuttering behaviors (although perfect fluency is not an expressed goal), and g) develop a sense of humor to help deal with the imperfections in the world, others, and self.

A - accept that you speak the way you speak at this moment, but working on the speech you can calmly become more relaxed and flowing.

W - write or record some of your thoughts and progress of your therapy.

Challenge:

I - insufficient allocation of time, energy, and money to learn what rationality is and really change your beliefs. Also allocate resources for other speech exercises.

T - too hard, too intense trying. When we try too hard we tie ourselves in knots and as we say in the States in athletics - we "choke" (interesting turn for us who have a tendency to stutter.

A - asinine absolutistic, perfectionistic standards only lead us to grief.

C - childish catastrophizing. Even though we often say "I can't stand stuttering", I have not yet died of it, nor have any of you!

U - useless urgency. It will take as long as it takes to get our thoughts expressed.

R - ridiculous rating of self. We are all alive, those who have a tendency to stutter and those who don't; those who achieve and those who don't. We have so many characteristics and deeds and misdeeds that we cannot be globally rated.

S - silly stuttering or performance shame

E - expected 'elplessness (helplessness!). Just because we have not succeeded in the past does not mean we will not succeed in the future.

 

So what do we do proactively besides the above:

DEFUSE spelled D PHEWES

D - don't place demands on yourself, others or the world. Demands in self talk are expressed by terms as "I must" , "He should", "The world should be easier"... and usually mean two things if I don't achieve, be loved, or have it easy first I won't be able to stand it and I won't be able to ever enjoy anything. What hogwash! But sometimes it takes a good REBT therapist to disabuse ourselves of this nonsense.

P - three end results of controlling your speech are Schwartz's "passing evaporative air over the vocal folds", Van Riper's "pullouts and pre-pullouts", and Neiders "putt-putt hum over the vocal folds" any or all of these P's are good when mastered and used in tough situations

H - humor yourself, others, and the world wryly relentlessly. Read a lot of Calvin and Hobbes comics by Bill Watterson - he is not desperate, not degrading, not mean spirited and full of optimism and hope.

E - exude relaxed calmness using REBT type of techniques and calmly accepting one unpleasant reality every day of your life

W - work on flowingness not on fluency (which means that you want to hide from others that you have a tendency to stutter). Many great men, including actors have had tendency to stutter! Orator's like emperor Claudius and Winston Churchill, actor Jimmy Stewart, actress Marilyn Monroe...

E - establish low vibrant voice

S - slow down.

 

 

 

With the advent of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT formerly known as Rational Emotive Therapy, RET), the missing links were scientifically established to flesh out both the arguments why both Charles Van Riper and Wendell Johnson were right. Moreover, REBT provided the major tools to facilitate the therapy process, as well as guide the person who has a tendency to stutter to a full and enjoyable life.

 


 Update 10/25/97 Danger Construction

EXERCISES

Phase One

REBT Homework Sheet

These are the standard homework sheet exercises from the Institute for Rational Living...

---

Easy Onset Vowel Exercise

These are the standard homework sheet exercises from the Institute for Rational Living...

---

***

Phase Two

Abolish Fluency Focus

Flowingness of speech. Period. If fluency is entered in the mix, the therapy of stuttering becomes counterproductive. The old adage still holds stuttering is what we do to avoid stuttering. It is so important to keep fluency out of the mix, that a special exercise has been invented to do this.

---

Easy Onset Vowel Exercise

These are the standard homework sheet exercises from the Institute for Rational Living...

---

JJ Voice or Kissinger Voice

This exercise focuses of easy onset of sound and vibration of the voice box. Success is when you can practically feel your voice box vibrate as you talk. The hypotheses behind this exercise is to regain the control of your speech making muscles, and gain confidence that you are doing the speaking. When you visualize and evoke auditory memory you can just about "feel" James Earl Jones and Henry Kissinger voices. Emanating from the vocal folds...vibrating...focused in these folds.

---

Abolish Fluency Focus

Flowingness of speech. Period. If fluency is entered in the mix, the therapy of stuttering becomes counterproductive. The old adage still holds stuttering is what we do to avoid stuttering. It is so important to keep fluency out of the mix, that a special exercise has been invented to do this.

---

added 11/18/97

DEAR CELEBS PC

Basketball is a complex game of many skills. A coach can not just say all we need to do is: 1) pass, 2) dribble, and 3) shoot and expect the team to go out there and play a credible game of basketball. Flowing speech is no less complex. However, the following mnemonic captures the highlights that characterize a successful outcome for this stage. Go over this mnemonic at least ten times a day.

Dispute every irrational belief as it pops into your head,

Exude relaxed calmness,

Awareness, awareness, awareness,

Regaining positive control over your speech

 

Constant phonation,

Easy onset,

Low vibrant voice,

Elongated vowels,

Bubbly bouncy plosives,

Sibilant prepullouts,

 

(when necessary)

Pullouts,

Cancellations

 

---

***

 

Phase Three

REBT Homework Sheet

These are the standard homework sheet exercises from the Institute for Rational Living...

***

Phase Four

REBT Homework Sheet

These are the standard homework sheet exercises from the Institute for Rational Living...

***

Phase Five

REBT Homework Sheet

These are the standard homework sheet exercises from the Institute for Rational Living...

***

Phase Six

REBT Homework Sheet

These are the standard homework sheet exercises from the Institute for Rational Living...

***


 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

1. REBTos? You must be kidding! It must be a joke to name anything like that. Sounds like a government defense department alphabet soup. If it is not a joke you will catch a lot of flak!

Sorry, it is not a joke. The best known and original cognitive psychopsychotherapy formulated by Dr. Albert Ellis (LINK) in 1954 was at the start called Rational Therapy (RT for short, since people tend to abbreviate anything they touch. For example, B.C. stands for before Christ, and AD is Annus Domini), then to describe in more accurately Dr. Ellis renamed it Rational Emotive Therapy (RET), and, since the behavioral aspect was so important, he renamed it again Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). When I evolved stuttering therapy based on REBT it was only natural for me to extend the name to REBToS, which stands for Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy of Stuttering.

Any jokes or roasting about the name are very welcome. It is important for People With occasional Stutter (PWoS) to be able to take a joke aimed at their ideas, behaviors, or follies. This makes them tougher and, hence, will make them less anxious, which in turn makes them more fluent as both REBToS and Dr. Schwartz practically guarantee.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. What is REBToS view on "advertising"?

It is one of the best anti stuttering homework assignments ever invented!!!. The best known aIn REBToS we attack the problem as follows: 1) First we ask ourselves what are the real purpose of "advertising"? Surely, it is to desensitize ourselves as People With occasional Stuttering (PWoS) about our stuttering and to gather evidence that being known as a stutterer is not devastating. In REBToS, my approach is not to become rigid about these various assignments, but do them in natural ways. Once in a while then step out and do something that you really feel uncomfortable about. So I would suggest you calmly use some pseudo or voluntary stuttering, just so that everybody knows that you are an PWoS. Most of the people could not give a ----. They, being fallible human beings, FHB, have their own problems and have no interest in yours. They would want to be able to communicate with you. To them it really is no big deal, like it is to us, PWoS's. Before each conversation, try to get your head on right. Talk yourself out of being ashamed of the stutter. When it comes treat it as an old friend.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

added 11/2/97

3. What is REBToS stand on drugs?

Since some PWoSs just like the members any other group of people experience some chemical imbalances in brain these must be treated by a professional. The best known of such treatments are lithium for manic depression and Prozac or Zoloft for extreme forms of clinical depression. However, since the side effects can be rather severe a thorough medical exam and follow up is necessary. Any use of mood altering chemicals, such as St. John's wort, occasional beer or glass of wine better be done with extreme caution. These are not to be used cavalierly as "pink pill" treatments for stuttering for two reasons: 1) no evidence exists that long term improvement can be gained from such remedies and 2) there are potentially severe or, in case of St. John's Wort, unknown side effects.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

added 11/2/97

4. Does joining Toastmasters help?

Yes. But to get most out of it one better have a good set of exercises in mind, exercises that alter the self talk. Toastmaster's is an excellent way to desensitize a speaker, any speaker to speak in front of people. However, if a good therapy plaln is not in effect, it can turn out to be even disastrous. Any failure in which there is no built in learning feedback, can set the individual back, and fossilize him into thinking that he is beyond help.



 

Comments on STUTT-L List Server E-mail

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

1. REBTos? You must be kidding! It must be a joke to name anything like that. Sounds like a government defense department alphabet soup. If it is not a joke you will catch a lot of flak!

 


Updated 10/26/97

Comments on Other Therapies

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

1. The following demonstartion was on Australian TV. The SLP was Craig Ashley who is a member of the "Stuttering Research Foundation of Australia" based at the Sydney University of Technology. After a brief discussion of stuttering he briefly described a "muscle feedback device" which has been developed for the treatment of stuttering. The device is designed to help PWS be "more economical with their speech". Fluency can be expected after "as little as 6 weeks of therapy". I think the implication was that this result was expected for people in their early teens and not necessarily for adults.

It was also stated that the technology had just been introduced in Britain and will shortly be in the USA. The PWS talked mainly on the fact that PWS can function effectively in society even though they have a drawback and that he saw stuttering as a challenge rather than a disability. He pointed out that whereas other problems such as a mental illness could be hidden, stuttering was always out in the open for all to see. The PWS started out well, but after a while the tension built and he had a few little blocks and inappropriate sounds. At one stage his eyes were clenched shut. He dug himself out of his little hole and made sure that he got the last word in and that it was controlled. (Source: STUTT-L)

Answer:

The definition of stuttering syndrome consists of the five elements: 1) disfluency and the inborn tendecy to stutter when under stress, 2) exaggerated emotions of anxiety, urgency and shame, 3) irrational beliefs that cause these emotions to be be in their exaggerated state, 5) lack of social skills, and 6) social situation avoidance. The above device only handles one of these. The account of this broadcast indicates that neither the SLP nor the PWoS are aware of all the aspects of stuttering syndrome. This was further evidenced by the fallacious statement that "stuttering was always out in the open for all to see". REBT suggests that a person with apparent fluency who is still overly anxious about his speech suffers from stuttering syndrome. This is true especially if he has social situtation avoidance and as a result lack of social skills.


TitlePlace Holder

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

1. Comment place holder



Go Back

Copyright © Gunars K. Neiders, Ph.D. 1996