Watching People Stutter and Their Courage

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I haven't written in awhile, doc school keeps me busy, however I wanted to report my experiences with the intensive stuttering clinic I helped supervise a few weeks back. We had a group of people who stutter (PWS) come and face their fears of speaking, perceptions of stuttering and judgments (their own and others), and put them in experiential situations in an effort to help desensitize them to stuttering. As I was helping my clinicians perform therapy and come up with ideas for treatment throughout the 8 days (10 hour per days of direct therapy for our clients) I found myself giving them instructions to think about staying in the moment, looking at thoughts, during activities experiences and not try and mask negative thoughts, however grasp those moments and create functional, workable goals, along with teaching that the outcome is something we can't control or worry about. The word control came up a lot with the clients and the clinicians...control...

I wanted to talk about control here for little bit, as it pertains to stuttering and connects with ACT. It seems common that people who stutter have this continued sense, even on the verge of obsession with needing control. Control of their lives, grades in school, other people's perceptions of them, and the desire to find control of their speech. This is really no different than any other anxiety disorder, is it? What my clinicians and I came to is that control may equal the right to choose our reactions to situations that life throws at us (i.e., control = the right to choose). This theme was established early on in the therapy sessions with our clients and passed on throughout the week in individual and group sessions. By the end of the week the clients were developed a better sense of connecting with their thought about stuttering and about what they "can" and maybe "can't" control. One client even decided to order food at a drive threw (which they had never done before due to fear of stuttering). The therapist presented this activity in this way: "Can we drive up to the drive through, even if we don't order can we sit there and just experience it? It is up to you?" The client agreed and did order! Very exciting for all involved!

Just some thoughts on "control" with people who stutter.
Have a great day!

"If You Wanna Make The World, A Better Place, Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change." ---Michael Jackson ---