I often get a question from people who stutter, "Do I need speech therapy? Does speech therapy help?" Or "will it help me?" And even though I'm preaching about my own Free From Stutter Program as the best program for people who stutter, the truth is... maybe you don't need a speech therapist. Let's find that out.
The first thing why we need speech therapy is getting from reading, thinking, dreaming and visualizing to action, to actually doing something about stuttering.
And it might seem obvious but we really need to realize that reading about stuttering, watching about stuttering, thinking about stuttering, these are all great, but the only thing that can change the way we speak and the way we interact with other people is only speaking, interacting with other people. And speech therapy obviously opens the door to that speaking and interacting.
Now, many people open a different door to action mode and become more active without speech therapy. And I want to give you some examples to inspire you.
These are just a few examples. You can find more interviews from Learn One Thing online event here.
And all they do basically - they expose themselves to other people, they speak. They either run a YouTube channel, a podcast or they just go public speaking regularly. So they just get active, open up, speak and expose themselves.
So, if you could do that you don't need speech therapy, you can start being active right now. I personally, for example, couldn't. I needed speech therapy to get some tools so that I could be more active on a more confident level if you would. I needed some help and guidance.
And some people might say, "No, no, no, I'm not ready to expose myself to speaking, to public speaking, and I'm not ready for the speech therapy either."
I can totally relate because that's where I was back in the day. It took me ten years from actually deciding that I want to do something about my speaking to actually going to the speech therapy that I liked.
The best advice on how to speed it up, how to move faster in that direction from thinking, dreaming, hoping to actually doing something is personal development.
The book that made me think about my dreams and goals back in the day was "All you can do is all you can do but all you can do is enough" by Art Williams. I asked myself about my number one goal and was amazed to get an answer from myself that it was "to enjoy speaking."
There are many great books and other sources of inspiration, and I'd love to know what's your favorite, but at the same time I do find that they all share the same big idea - you are the master of your life.
You decide and choose who you're going to be and how you're going to interact with the world. Not stuttering, but you. It's easy to say "That's the way it is. It's all fine. It's ok." In fact, avoiding, hiding, escaping, always saying, "Yeah, I would... but stuttering!" "Yeah, I could... but stammering." Personal development books help us realize it's all up to us and get us closer to acting, living, and being true to ourselves.
When we finally decide to take action, to change something in our life we see so many speech therapies, experts, gurus, programs, courses!
False promises. The most important thing to realize is that there is no quick change.
And it sounds kind of obvious but we love false promises because they sound so nice! "Come join our two or three days workshop and we'll teach you how to speak! We'll remove your anxiety! You will finally know the natural way to speak!"
Of course, there are awesome two, three or x-day workshops and programs, but we want to be very clear: we're going to find some knowledge about some tools, some attitudes, we're going to find may be very useful information but it's not going to instantly change our speaking pattern, the way we speak because our speaking is all about muscle and emotional memory, it's very much automated.
So, if someone is promising you radical change, fluency, freedom in a matter of days you don't need such speech therapy.
Shame (mistake). The second thing you want to take notice when you're choosing your speech therapy or program is how it deals with the inside, with the emotional side of speaking, with the mental side, with our attitude, with what we think about ourselves. In other words, with our stuttering shame.
Stuttering has two big elements: the physical part and the underlying part - the embarrassment, the feelings, the fear, the anxiety, the avoidance behaviors, everything that forms the huge stuttering iceberg.
If your speech therapist is focused only on the fluency part, on the speaking part, if your therapist is calling stuttering "a mistake" and he or she is going to teach you the right way, well, you'd better be very skeptical because you can improve your fluency but if you don't accept yourself the way you are, you will always feel tension, you will always feel the pressure that will lead you back to stuttering.
Stuttering is not a mistake. There is nothing to beat yourself up for. We want to feel good about ourselves and about improving our speaking as well. There is nothing wrong with working on your speech.
Real life. The third element I want you to question is real-life. How your knowledge, your skills, your new techniques, your new speaking, the way you speak now will move from the therapy room to real life.
You want to be very clear about the steps - how do you move there? If the answer of your therapist is only, "well, once you learn it in the therapy room you'll be fine everywhere" it's not quite working. What's the difference between just reading out loud for example at home and the speech therapy in this case? We can improve at home. There are millions of ways to do that by ourselves. The question is what do we have, what have we built in our muscle and emotional memory that we can use in real life?
In Free From Stutter Program, for example, it's the hand stuttering technique. We synchronize our new confident speaking with using fingers to make sure that our training speech doesn't collapse in real life.
You also want to see the real results of that transformation, of that transition from the therapy room to real life. It's not only like "before and after" testimonials (you never know how real they are), but you want to see the results on the way. Is there any public speaking practices with real people that you can see?
If public speaking is not part of our strategy we become prisoners of the therapy room, that's what we conquer, that's where we feel good, but it stays there. So, don't buy into the privacy thing, seek real results from real people.
So, you decide to take action, you find your therapy, now what's next? And next is the journey.
I've seen so many people who stutter who said, "I've tried this and that, this and that, and nothing worked and finally I realized something that worked and changed everything!"
We want to realize that becoming open, active and positive about ourselves, improving our fluency, overcoming stuttering, call it whatever, getting free from stuttering as I call it, it's like playing golf. It's not a one-shot game.
It's usually a several shots game where you take a shot then you walk there and play another one each time getting closer to the place where you want to be.
No matter what tools or techniques you're using, no matter how severe your stuttering is or what strategy you have, I believe we all want to feel great about speaking interaction. That's our ultimate goal.
And it's not exactly a fluency thing. You can take a look at this short video with Rowan Atkinson. We can notice that apart from some regular glitches and repetitions at some point he had a moment of stuttering where some tension was present. But he continued not making a big deal of it feeling great overall and not avoiding further conversation. That's the feeling regular people have about glitches in their speaking.
So, when you go for the speech therapy you want to realize that this is the beginning of your journey. A journey not only in terms of the speaking stuff but more importantly the journey of self-exploration, building your confidence and self-esteem, becoming more open, active and positive about yourself.
Let me know what you think about speech therapy for stuttering. Have you tried one? What have you learned? Leave a comment! Would love to hear your ideas!
See you! Thank you for staying in touch!