Thursday, January 18, 2007

Why I Resist Therapies

By therapies...I don't mean mechanical devices (which I can't afford anyway). I am talking about on-going therapies that address the manner in which I speak...the attitude I have toward my stutter...and how I approach the world in general as a stutterer. Therapies like this one:

I have seen a trend with many of these therapies that include instructions like..."don't avoid stuttering...stutter freely", etc, etc. They encourage you to embrace your stutter. Don't hide in the "closet" as a stutterer. Become comfortable with stuttering. Blah-blah-blah.

The problem I have with this advice is that...I am comfortable enough with the tricks I use to mask my stutter. I am comfortable with pretending to be fluent. I don't believe that it will benefit me to freely stutter. In fact, it will harm my social life, my professional life...and virtually every aspect of my life. Mostly, people know that I am a stutterer if they get to know me beyond a first-time meeting or discussion.

At first meeting, people probably think I just pause a lot...or stammer more than usual. If they meet me again or begin to spend time with usually becomes apparent that I am a stutterer. Yet, my "masking" techniques make it possible to have almost normal conversation. I rarely have tremendous problems. It goes the same way in my professional life. The "masking" techniques I use to hide my stutter have enabled me to have a semblance of normalcy in my social and professional life.

While the saying "if it ain't broke...don't fix it" doesn't apply here does apply with how my stutter impacts my life. The benefits of becoming more comfortable with being an openly stuttering not outweigh the benefits that come from using my "masking" techniques to hide my dysfluency.

Does this make sense at all?

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