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Things I Look For in Therapy – (Written by a Stutterer)

All material Copyright © 2009 The National Stuttering Association
Reprinted with the express permission of the National Stuttering Association as originally published on their website.
By: Pam Mertz
Pam Mertz is an adult who stutters, who had speech therapy as a kid for one year only in 3rd grade, and did not find it very useful. As an adult, she has been engaged in therapy for two years now.
This Article From the National Stuttering Associations March-April 2009 newsletter and is reprinted with their express permission.
In my experience, these are some of the things that are very helpful to a person who stutters involved in successful therapy.
• Person-centered therapy: the clinician sees me as a person first and not just a source of data collection.
• Acceptance: the clinician makes it clear that stuttering is OK, and is as comfortable letting me stutter, and listening to me stutter as she is with teaching fluency shaping or stuttering modification techniques.
• My clinician and I work together to come up with goals that are meaningful to my life. The things that we work on have relevance to my life, such as workplace presentations, interpersonal communication, reducing anxiety.
• We work on some of the emotional stuff – which is often more challenging than the stuttering itself. This “stuff” includes, shame, fear, guilt, and embarrassment.
• My clinician will not ask me to do anything she herself is not comfortable doing. For example, when we worked on voluntary stuttering, the best clinician did it with me, even when she felt really weird doing it, so she got a good sense of how it feels to really stutter.
• My clinician and I recognize that life is a work in progress. Sometimes a therapy may change, or something may come up that becomes more of a priority. That is ok. I should be getting out of therapy exactly what I need.
• My clinician looks for opportunities that will help me push outside of my comfort zone.
• I look for innovative ways to engage in therapy, and my clinician goes along with it. For example, I have recorded presentations I have done at work and we have reviewed them together to come up with ideas as to what I might want to work on next time. My clinicians have also listened to pod casts I have done and looked at my YouTube videos.
• I need to work with a clinician who is comfortable with stuttering and is not afraid of it. That is the most important thing to me – you can get a sense of how the therapeutic relationship will go based on clinician’s comfort level.
Featured Organization: The National Stuttering Association
We thank the National Stuttering Association for allowing us to reprint their copyrighted article. For more information about this organization please visit the National Stuttering Association

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