Thursday, February 08, 2007

"It's Just A Habit!"

I spoke recently with a doctor who runs a successful therapy site and program and has written a few books on the matter...and his idea, based on 35 years of research, is that the "cure" for stuttering must come, NOT from treating the stutter...but from treating the STRESS that occurs in the throat muscles before ever speaking (paraphrasing).

He says that most are born with stress zones in our body...mostly in the shoulders, hands, abdomen (and others) and these areas become tense when we get stressed...but that about 2% of the population has an added stress zone...the throat. This stress zone becomes tense, learned from childhood when the child first stuttered, before speaking...and this is the root cause of stuttering.

When we were children, he contends, we first stuttered because of this stress zone that became tense in a given circumstance (first day of school, etc)...we then blocked or stammered/stuttered...and began a struggle right then to "force" the speech. Eventually, we were successful and we "taught" ourself that this struggle will result in speech...thus "reinforcing" the mechanism that first caused our stutter.

This "reinforcement" is so powerful that it's almost impossible to unlearn it on our own...thus, we need his program which you can read about at He founded the National Center for Stuttering. If you call their toll free number, you may even be able to speak directly to Dr. Martin F. Schwartz, like I did. He is very kind and very intelligent and gave me a lot of insight about my stutter.

I'm thinking of taking part! The cost I don't like, though: 6 payments of $400. Huge for me. I can't afford it...I may have to save up.

Anyway, have any of you tried this program...or are thinking about it? Do you agree or disagree with any of his information?


Bud said...

I hate to say things with being able to give an exact source, but I can't remember who told me this. It wasn't one of my family of stutterers because none of them ever attended this program. It could have been one of our son's friends as he had several who stuttered. I only remember the comment that he was worse after he came home and that his parents were mad for having spent the money. They wouldn't have minded spending the money if it had helped their son. He ended up getting help from a speech therapist who specialized in stuttering and who had stuttered when they were young.

Law Student said...

Thanks, Bud...I'm going to make some calls about this one. See what others are saying, as well.

Bud said...

I got in touch with our son but didn't get much information other than the fact that Robert went to a program and came back worse than before he left, and that his parents were upset at wasting the money. He didn't remember the name of the program and has lost touch with Robert since high school. It would be interesting to find out if some programs help certain ages better than others. If that is the case, perhaps if Robert had waited he might have gotten more out of it and wouldn't have gotten worse.

muldar43 said...

i stumbled across your site and I am in the program you speak about, contact me throught the "GROUP" the Dr has set up, my name is Steve. We can communicate by phone or email.

Law Student said...

Muldar, I'm not sure how I can contact you. I went to the NCS page and there is no "group"...maybe I'm not understanding.