"I don't stutter alone" - that's the comment or the question I hear all the time. Or "I'm fluent most of the time, I stutter only when..."
And I think what goes behind this question is usually a wonder - maybe I need just to fix something in my brain, maybe this is just some "psychological stuttering?"
Well, I don't think so. And here's why.
So, why does it happen? Why we might be fluent alone or in our comfort surrounding and then all of a sudden we stutter?
First off, let's think a bit what is speaking. It's not only articulating words. It's not only the work of the vocal cords and the breathing system.
Above all, it's a response to the speaking environment.
We speak to say something. To tell something. To pass on some information and feelings. We interact.
We interact with the environment. And emotionally we start interacting with the environment sometimes long before the speaking starts.
Our speaking response is a combined work of several layers: 1) our mind finding the words and putting them together, 2) emotions setting us up in a certain way, 3) vocal cords producing sounds, and 4) breathing system supplying air to the vocal cords.
All the processes in these layers work instantly, we don't have much time to think about it.
So, stuttering is our response to the speaking situation. We had speech impediment once, then again and again. Then we got conscious about it. Then we realized it as something attached to me. Something I cannot control.
We notice people reacting not in a very nice way to our stuttering. We see that it's something different to other people. We don't want to reveal our stuttering, we want to hide it and avoid those negative experiences.
Now, the emotional layer becomes the major factor setting up the scene for each speaking interaction. It launches stuttering state before speaking. I know my turn will be in 5 minutes, but my whole body is covered with tension, frozen and ready to stutter.
Our stuttering response becomes an automated speaking pattern. It works like a program. If - then. If we get into a speaking setting or a certain speaking setting then we stutter.
We can say a hundred times to ourselves to respond differently, but we'll do exactly the same until and unless we stay the same.
Same me - same response.
I don't think we can detach our mind from body. Our negative stuttering experiences got deep into our muscle memory and our emotional memory. They are combined into one program that works again - automatically.
So what do we do? How do we change our response?
We need to change the program.
Same you - same response. New you - new response.
I believe that the most effective to create new "me" is... to create new experiences.
New positive speaking experiences of relaxing and confident speaking go into our muscle memory and start to form a new feeling associated with speaking environment.
There are different stuttering techniques and there different ways how people get free from stuttering. One way that I used myself and that I show in the Improve Program is using hand technique as a support for our new relaxing and confident speaking.
If we take a look at Ed Sheeran, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt who got free from stuttering we might notice that they also create their new reality in a way. Their new self.
When you act or perform on stage you're not so much responding to the speaking environment, but rather create that new reality where you can be free to speak and to behave in a new free way.
It's a new feeling associated with speaking. A new state we get into. A new program that responds to the speaking environment.
We are no longer scared of it. We anticipate speaking not with fear, but with some natural anxiety having a positive flavor. Like when you play a game.
Let me know how do you get free from stuttering, what stuttering technique you're using? Leave a comment!
If you are a person who stutters and you're not quite satisfied with how you feel at the moment of speaking interaction and if you want to go deeper into what we can do about stuttering I invite you to my free Improve Training - 10 Immediate Steps I challenge you to take right now!
And for more interaction join the Free From Stutter Facebook group. It’s crucial not to stay isolated, it’s vital to feel you’re part of the community!
If you have thoughts or observations, anything that comes to your mind - let me know in the comments!
Thank you so much! See you soon!