5 minute read

Stuttering explained: a complete brainwash

Last week we joined a talk show. We were invited to talk about stuttering, and so was another speech therapist. The host used to stutter himself too, so everything was set up for an interesting conversation.

And it was very interesting.

The speech therapist mainly works with young children (3 to 5 years old) and we mainly work with 18 year olds and older. And because the approaches to the stuttering of a 3 year old and the 18 year old are so different, people got a complete view on stuttering.

Before the show the speech therapist told us about parents being more frightened by the occurrence of stuttering in their child than the child itself.

And this is so recognizable. I’d like to talk more about this.

Within their approach there lies a big emphasis on calming down the environment of the child, because the way they (parents, family, friends, school) handle the stuttering of the child has a huge impact.

Also, in their approach stuttering is seen as a timing disorder. As that might be the case for a young child, we say that is not the main issue when dealing with an older person who stutters.

We find that when PWS reach a certain age this timing issue might already be gone and that the PWS is trapped in a pattern. He or she basically is being brainwashed into believing in the stuttering and expecting to do so.

A negative self-image, negative thoughts and feelings about stuttering and oneself plus stuttering behavior all creates this full belief in being a ‘stutterer’. And it begins with how people around the kid handle the stuttering and how this is interpreted by the child.

Childhood

It all starts in childhood where the parents are more frightened by the stuttering than the child itself!

What is the child going to think? That nothing is wrong?!

Of course not, kids are very aware of the behavior of their parents. They have to because they learn from their role models (also known as older and wiser people).

When people go about the kid’s stuttering so anxiously, stuttering easily becomes seen as something ‘not right, ‘wrong’ and ‘something that may not happen’.

Even speech therapy can emphasize this worry. Because now the kid has to be sent somewhere in order to ‘fix’ a ‘problem’.

The kid might even get bullied, or teased about stuttering. Or laughed at, and it might not even be with bad intentions but the kid might interpret it as just that.

Downward spiral

When this happens, chances are the kid falls into a downward spiral.

A downward spiral in which emotions and thoughts start influencing a young child. Beliefs that are created of not being good enough, of being worthless and in need of fixing before he or she is normal again.

It completely influences the self-image, self-esteem and the way they go about interacting with others.

Shame arises, anxiety, fear of speaking, all those things develop because the kid sees stuttering as something inherently wrong.

Kids learn fast and are all just as smart as the next one: move away from pain, move towards pleasure.

If stuttering means pain, be it physical or mental, you will not move towards it. You will do everything to hide it, to pretend as if nothing is wrong. Which usually leads to social anxiety and more behavior that supports stuttering.

Is this the case with every person who stutters?

No, absolutely not. The host himself never worried about his stuttering at all. He told about how he never saw stuttering as a problem and that he grew out of it.

You can see how powerful a positive attitude is. What it can do for you.

The brainwash of stuttering

But every person who still stutters that we talk to, has so much more issues with their self-image, thoughts and emotions than they’re having with ‘timing’. Most of them can speak very fluent when they’re by themselves, when they read a book or something similar.

But when it comes down to social situations they freeze up.

And that is because they are in a stutter pattern. They are in the habit of stuttering so to say.

This is called chronic stuttering, it’s something completely different from what kids experience.

A negative self-image surrounds most PWS. Expectations and assumptions are created in childhood. This influences their thoughts and emotions which on their turn influence the behavior and the actual stuttering.

Years and years go by and stuttering is right along there with you. You now might get an idea of what that can do to you.

Stuttering is everywhere

Stuttering is everywhere: in your thoughts, feelings and your doings.

It all feels so completely real. You fully believe in yourself being a person who stutters.

You too are guilty of having negative expectations for certain words and social situations. You expect to stutter at those times because you have experienced it in the past.

These negative experiences become so ingrained into your whole system, the mental and the physical, that it becomes difficult to break out of.

You wake up with it and you go to bed with it.

When you speak it’s there, when you think it’s there and when you feel it’s there, even up to feeling of being trapped by your stuttering because stuttering created so much tension in your musculature.

This is what we call a brainwash. We call it the stutter programming and it’s complete craziness when you fully understand this.

It has almost nothing to do with the speech development issues a young child has anymore. This has everything to do with your view on yourself and on the world around you.

How to deal with this type of stuttering

When stuttering is everywhere, you have to look everywhere in order to get rid of it. You cannot look for this one technique or trick that is going to save you, because it won’t.

We hear it way too often: I tried yoga but it didn’t work, I tried a speaking technique but it didn’t work, I tried reading out loud but it didn’t work.

You can’t pick one thing to get rid of something that has been going on for years. Stuttering has full control over everything you feel, think and say. And therefore you have to fully get back in control of those things.

How you can get back in control

Get back in control by changing subtle behaviors. Look someone in the eyes when you’re talking to each other. Walk up straight, breathe into your belly and actively try to become more at ease with your environment.

Grab a book to read out loud, practice speaking when you’re by yourself and start your day with relaxation exercises.

Then find ways how to deal with your emotions, your ego and finally change your core belief.

Core belief

Your core belief is created in childhood. It’s probably something close to: I am not good enough.

This core belief is the creator of all the bullshit you’re going through. This is why you feel less than everyone, this is why you’re trying so hard to be fluent when you’re around others and this is why you keep stuttering.

When you read this, try to forget everything you ever learned about stuttering. That stuttering is because of your diaphragm not working properly, that is has to do with breathing, that it’s a timing disorder and especially that it is something you have to learn to live with.

We believe this to be false. But we also understand that it can feel like it is something you have to learn to live with because the stutter patterns are so deeply ingrained into you.

You too can get back in control

You can.

We’re not saying stuttering can, or should be, removed completely,

But not letting stuttering control your life is a very achievable goal, for you too.

And you have to start with seeing for what stuttering truly is: a program, a pattern you’re stuck in.

You can step out of it. Start today.

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to read it, it’s really appreciated.

Talk soon,

Hille

P.s.

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2 minute read

Simple Stutter Tips | Reflect

Great to see you watching our Simple Stutter Tips!

These videos are all about simple, practical stutter tips you can apply RIGHT NOW! We want to make overcoming stuttering as available as possible to everybody and we decided to try this out with putting everything we know in very simple tips.

Enjoy all the Simple Stutter Tips.

If you want to reach out or have a question about stuttering, don´t hesitate to ask us! Send your email to info@brocabrothers.com.

Enjoy watching.

Hille and Stuart

P.S.

Don’t forget to subscribe, it would mean a lot. You can also take a look at our website, there’s a lot more about stuttering over there!

2 minute read

Simple Stutter Tips | Embody Calmness

Great to see you watching our Simple Stutter Tips!

These videos are all about simple, practical stutter tips you can apply RIGHT NOW! We want to make overcoming stuttering as available as possible to everybody and we decided to try this out with putting everything we know in very simple tips.

Enjoy all the Simple Stutter Tips.

If you want to reach out or have a question about stuttering, don´t hesitate to ask us! Send your email to info@brocabrothers.com.

Enjoy watching.

Hille and Stuart

P.S.

Don’t forget to subscribe, it would mean a lot. You can also take a look at our website, there’s a lot more about stuttering over there!

3 minute read

Stuttering and the art of one-pointedness.

One-pointedness: the ability to concentrate on one thing at a time. Learning how to focus on one thing at a time will make you stutter less.

Concentrate.

When a hundred thoughts race through your head, your speech is just as all over the place as those thoughts.

In my experience, I was never able to concentrate. I was distracted way too easily by things happening around me and especially by my thoughts. I was a professional day dreamer as well.

Always lost in thinking and never able to focus on the task at hand. School suffered by this, and as I later found, my speech did too.

In social situations I went from day dreaming to fearful thoughts, wondering what people think of me, telling myself not to stutter, while there were other things happening around me that I felt I had to keep an eye on to see if it were things that could be a ‘threat’ to me.

Where is the focus?

Where is the focus? Everywhere! It is completely divided over the 100 things you want to do at once.

You can compare this to multi-tasking. Which, recent studies show, is complete bullshit and even bad for you.

When you ‘multi-task’:

  • You cannot get into the ‘zone’ of speaking. Focusing on everything but the task at hand makes you unable to get into the zone, unable to get into the flow of fluency. You’re not focusing on enjoying the conversation, which should be your number 1 priority. Your thoughts are scattered and so is your speech.

 

  • It introduces errors into whatever you’re doing. This too goes for speaking. Let’s be honest, you haven’t learned how to speak properly yet. And in order to do so you need focused attention. Play darts and you’re practicing to hit the bulls-eye? You will have to have focused attention. The same goes with your speech, certain things NEED to happen when you want to learn to speak fluently. Focused breathing, eye contact, start talking on your out breath, taking your time, clearly pronouncing the words, keep yourself relaxed. It all needs your undivided attention.

 

  • It is stressing you out. Too many things you’re worrying about causes your heart rate to go up, adrenaline goes up, and tension arises and so will stuttering.

 

  • You’re not seeing what is happening in front of you. This busybodyness creates distraction from actually enjoying the company of others. You are in your own world, closed off from others. You’re communication becomes uncertain, awkward and confusing just like your thinking. It leads to more stuttering.

You need to get into the art of one-pointedness. The art of right concentration.

Do this:

Relax yourself for a minute. Take a deep breath, fully breathe out and let go. Lower your shoulders and loosen up.

For a moment listen to the sounds of your surroundings, it will make you stop thinking. Slowly breathe in and out.

Now pick one sound to focus on for 10 seconds, then find the next sound to focus on for 10 seconds. Amp it up to 20 or 30 seconds while easily breathing.

One pointedness means shutting off excess thoughts. Because those excess thoughts only get in your way of becoming more fluent. Take action towards more and more single focus.

Worrying months in advance about a test, feeling anxious about that presentation that you have to do in a week. Stop that and start looking for what can you do now in order to improve the outcome of that what will happen in the future. Worrying about it certainly won’t.

Focus on the one thing that’s important right now.

One pointedness allows you to focus on what’s important right now. Be it enjoying a conversation, focusing on your breathing, or preparing that speech you have to give in two weeks from now.

Focus on the one thing you have to do now. Focus on that and don’t stop until you finished that task. After that you can think about the next one.

When you’re speaking to someone, focus on speaking to that person. Listen to what he or she is saying, enjoy the interaction. You can observe what’s going on inside of you, with your thoughts and emotions, but keep focusing on the task at hand: conversating.

Train yourself.

You can train yourself through breathing exercises, meditation or the exercise I wrote about above.

But the best training is to start implementing this in your day to day life. Focus on doing the dishes, nothing else in between. Focus on writing that speech, no distractions. Focus on working out in the gym, no texting in between sets.

Focus on the now and lett go of excess thoughts.

Stuttering isn’t just stuttering, as in something that happens with your speech. It is DEEPLY ingrained into your day to day behavior. Gradually changing that day to day behavior will mean gradually changing your speech from stuttering to fluency.

Start now.

Focus.

We would also love seeing you sign up for the weekly newsletter ‘Stutter Digest’! We gather all our best stuff from the week and send it to you.

Hille

3 minute read

Broca Brothers Battle Stuttering | Local newspaper interview |

Hi there!

We recently have been interviewed for a local Dutch newspaper about the way we approach stuttering and of course reaching other people who stutter around the world with our message.

If you’re Dutch you can read the original copy right here!

If you’re not Dutch, don’t worry because you can read the translated version below.

Enjoy.

H&S

P.S.

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Broca brothers battle stuttering

Witmarsum (NL) – “We know what the solution for stuttering is and we want to tell the whole world.” With that goal in mind brothers Hille and Stuart set up Broca Brothers.

The reason

The Broca Brothers is a duo that faces stuttering head on. Hille explains the reason: “I woke up one Friday morning and it was very clear to me: this has to change”, says the elder brother, who only just recently still stuttered heavily. “I’m going outside right now to talk to people. I’m just going to ask them what time it is, that is nothing to worry about. But my heart was pounding in my throat and I stood there shaking like a straw. Then I thought: if I feel like this about a situation like that, then it has to do with many other aspects than just speaking.” That event was the reason for Hille to change course completely. “I made a plan and jumped in completely”.

The search

It was a search for a ‘real’ solution. Hille read many books ranging from psychology, physiology to even a little spirituality. This, in combination with the psychology study of younger brother Stuart en their own experiences, makes it so that they found a solution that worked very well for them. Hille: “When you stutter you’re trapped in a program. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s a brainwash; the feeling that you’re worth less than others. Stuttering has a total impact on emotions, thoughts and self image. That has to change. It is possible to break out of that program.” The emphasis lies on the changing of that self image. “It’s very important to work on your self image. You will get more confidence out of it, you will act in a different way and because of that speak more fluent.

Successful

The approach has been successful for the two. Hille, now living in Utrecht: “My speech continuously improved. If I came back at my parents’ place they didn’t understand what was going on. I realized that speaking fluent is pretty pleasing.”

Youtube channel

The brothers are extremely focused on sharing their findings with the rest of the world. Through their YouTube channel they spread videos in English with tutorials and through their website www.brocabrothers.com they offer support and coaching. With that they reach people who stutter all around the world. “We have followers from Germany, United States, Russia, India..” Hille tells. “We fully believe in this approach and we see that it works. This way you’ll get results you never thought were possible. It’s super frustrating if we see people struggling with their stutter when it doesn’t have to be that way.”

Yme Gietema – Bolswarder Nieuwsblad

3 minute read

How to deal with relapses in Overcoming your Stutter

A lot has changed for me in the past few months.

I went through a period where I didn’t feel like I was functioning optimally. My beliefs about myself and the world around me got tested and, if needed, replaced with new beliefs. I’m back on track again.

This period reminded me of a question Hille and me received during our first ever live event with people who stutter. The question was: “How do you deal with relapses in your process of becoming a fluent speaker?”.

I answered this question by explaining what the process of growth, of progression, usually looks like, as this is a universal process. Whether you are working on yourself to overcome your stutter, get a fit body or learning a new language, the process is the same.

And that process is the following.

Mastery

 

Mastery-Curve

It’s the Mastery Curve from the book “Mastery” by George Leonard, I advise you to read it.

There are multiple points that should be taken out of this image.

First off, it is not possible to constantly sky-rocket in your results. Your body and mind need time to change. They need time to adjust to the input you’re giving them.

Result of this is the so-called “plateau”, the horizontal part of the process. During this period you might feel like you’re stagnating, like you’re not doing enough, like you’re doing something wrong. But most of the times, this is not the case. It’s your body and mind getting ready, bit by bit, piece by piece, to move up to the next level once more. Plateaus are a natural part of the process.

Misinterpreting a plateau

Secondly, do not misinterpret a plateau for being a relapse. As can be seen, the relapse is only a small part of the process. The problem is that a plateau can sometimes feel like a relapse. The reason for this is that you feel like you’re not progressing.

And no progression must mean I’m declining in performance, right?

No.

As said, a plateau is simply a period where you are getting used to the changes that happened earlier. Don’t overreact and keep doing what you have been doing. Progression will follow.

Misinterpreting a relapse

The third and last point is that you should not misinterpret a relapse for being a plateau.

There will be times where you actually will have a relapse, where your level of progress will decrease.

While some of those moments may be a natural part of the process, others may not. Some relapses might be a sign that you do need to change something. That you haven’t done everything in your power to achieve your goal. If this is the case, you need to take a step back and reflect on what can be done better.

Applying the process to stuttering

How to apply all this to stuttering?

Fluency rocks. Progression rocks. Enjoy the moments where you can feel your body and mind restructuring itself to make you more fluent.

But after your period of progression, plateaus are sometimes inevitable. Don’t let them hold you back. Understand that they are a natural part of the process.

Keep doing your morning exercises, keep throwing yourself into “scary” situations and keep your positive mindset in place. Realize that even though you don’t see it happening in front of your eyes, progression is happening on a deeper level. Have faith that your efforts will eventually be rewarded.

While most plateaus are natural and inevitable, some are not. Whenever you experience a plateau, reflect and try to figure out if you should have been doing something in a different way.

If the answer is no: good. Progression is on its way. If the answer is yes: change your behaviour and progress will be on its way as well.

If you’re unsure about what to do next in your process of becoming a fluent speaker, you might want to check out this. Hille and me are here to help and support you.

Work hard to achieve your goals and stay calm when you encounter a plateau.

Stay progressing,

Stuart

P.S.

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