Our Approach Our view on stuttering, the approach and the end result

What exactly is stuttering / stammering and what can you do about it?

That’s the question we set out to answer a few years ago when we decided to figure out stuttering ourselves. The answers we found throughout the years form the basis of our current view on stuttering. Those answers are also the main theme in our coaching, because you can’t fix a problem when you don’t know whats wrong in the first place.

First you’ll find our view on stuttering. Fully understanding stuttering is a big step in the right direction. With that you’ll also see what can be done about stuttering. After that we’ll talk you through our approach. What does it look like and what can you expect? At last we’ll talk about the result we strive for with the people that we coach.

But before you read on we want to say that both our view on stuttering and our approach are not only based on our own experience. They are both the result of our own research together with reading and testing the work of other pioneers who went before us.

We owe a lot to new thinkers in the field of stuttering like John C. Harrison, Bob G. Bodenhamer and Dr. Mort Cooper. But also people outside the domain of stuttering like Dr. Alexander Lowen, Maxwell Maltz, Anthony Robbins, Elliott Hulse and Eckhart Tolle who have had a big influence on us and our approach. They are all masters of self-expression in their own way. We linked their insights to stuttering which resulted in a complete approach to stuttering that leads to natural, spontaneous and fluent speech.

1. Our View

2. The Approach

3. The Result

“Too often stuttering is still seen as a speech disorder, but that’s old news.”

1. Our view.

In this chapter:

Stuttering / stammering is not a speech disorder
To key to fluent speech
The stutter pattern
Stutter experiences
To break free is to speak free

What is stuttering / stammering in adults?

It is the question that will lead to the solution, but ask most people that stutter and you will get the same, general answer: “something with breathing, blocks, tension in the body and repetitions.”

In the ICD-10, the 10th edition of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, stuttering is described as follows: “stuttering or stammering is a speech disorder in which speech is involuntarily interrupted by hesitations, repetitions, and spasms of the muscles involved in breathing or vocalization.”

Too often stuttering is still seen as a speech disorder, but that’s old news. If we want to overcome our stutter we can and may not approach stuttering that way anymore.

Stuttering is not a speech disorder.

Describing stuttering as a speech disorder implies that the person always stutters. But do you stutter in every situation? Do you always have difficulty with the same words and letters? No, stuttering differs per day, per situation and per person, even if the difference is small.

The most apparant example of this is that virtually every person who stutters speaks a lot more fluent when he or she, without the company of others, speaks to him or herself in a free and spontaneous way.

So when there’s no one around, when one doesn’t have to think about what to say, when thoughts aren’t occupied by stuttering, one is fluent.

When no one is around one is almost perfectly fluent.

Fluent when you’re alone, stuttering with people around you. We call it situational stuttering. The one moment you speak fluent and the other moment you stutter. That situational stuttering brings along a couple of important implications.

The key to fluent speech.

Situational stuttering is the key to fluent speech. It is the pillar of our coaching. It means that stuttering isn’t a speech disorder, but a reaction to a certain situation.

There is nothing wrong with your speech, your breathing or your articulation. You have no unconquerable defect in your brains that blocks the communiation between brain and body.

Remember, when you’re all by yourself your speech mechanism is perfectly fine and it shows in fluent speech. You already have it in you to speak fluently. It’s only obstructed by a fairly clumsly reaction to certain situations. And this reaction activates the so called stutter pattern.

The stutter pattern is a combination of shame, tension and stuttering. You don’t want to stutter so you put effort into speaking as fluent as possible. The tension that comes out of that has a negative influence on your speech and leads to stuttering.

The stutter pattern.

As soon as you walk into a social situation, you start looking around to see in what kind of environment you find yourself: are these people my friends or are they strangers? Is it a group of people or a one-on-one conversation? Is it my boss or befriended colleagues? Am I allowed to stutter without being judged or do I have to speak as fluent as possible? Did I stutter here in the past or did it go smoothly?

Based on those questions you ask yourself a final question: do I feel comfortable here, yes or no? We’re usually not aware of answering these questions. It happens in milliseconds. Does it turn out to be a situation in which you might stutter? Then the stutter pattern gets activated.

As soon as the stutter pattern gets activated we start thinking about how we can speak as fluent as possible. We start trying really hard and feel the pressure not to stutter. We want to avoid stuttering at all costs because we’re ashamed of it. 

We start to think about what we want to say and how we can say it. Maybe change some words around? This thinking creates hesitation, tension and stress, which then leads to more and more stuttering.

We stop holding eye contact, avoid words, lower our voice, become closed off in our bodies, start using uh’s and start tapping our feet on the floor. That’s how we end up in a vicious cycle of more shame, more tension, more hesitation and more stuttering. The stuttering then reinforces the same and so you keep lingering in the stutter pattern. But how do we break out of that?

Stutter experiences.

If you want to speak fluent you’ll have to break out of the stutter pattern. To be able to do that it’s important to first understand how the stutter pattern was created in the first place. Luckily that’s actually fairly simple: by stutter experiences.

Your stutter pattern is created by experiences in the past. Since you started stuttering you began building up different experiences with speaking. Simplply put, you have positive experiences with speaking fluently and negative experiences with stuttering.

These experiences are different per situation. That’s immediately the cause of situational stuttering. You collect experiences that you take with you to situations in the future. Depending on your past experiences with that situation, your stutter pattern is or isn’t activated. If the stutter pattern is activated you stutter, if it’s not or slightly activated you’ll be very fluent.

If for example you have a lot of negative experiences with making phone calls then this will have a negative influence on your next phone call. From experience you know that you stutter often in that situation, so you now start expecting that this will happen again. That negative expectation triggers tension, and more tension means more stuttering.

The opposite takes place too. Do you have a lot of positive experiences with talking to a good friend? Than you’ll feel a lot more at ease and speak a lot more fluent too.

Immediately you see that the stutter pattern, and thus stuttering, is something very personal. The stutter pattern is created by your own experiences with stuttering.

But if negative experiences cause stuttering then the solution for fluency also comes to the light: positive experiences.

To break free is to speak free.

Speaking more fluent begins with breaking through that vicious circle, the stutter pattern. If we do this we create more and more moments in which we speak fluent. That way we build positive experiences and get ourselves into an upward spiral until the past doesn’t affect our speech anymore and we can finally be ourselves again.

You create positive experiences by applying natural behavior to speaking situations. This natural behavior supports, and expresses itself, in fluency.  You may now have a lot of negative experiences with introducing yourself, phone calls or giving presentations. But the next time you have to introduce yourself you can apply new positive behavior and so create a positive experience with that situation. The more positive experiences you create, the weaker the stutter pattern gets. The result eventually is lasting fluent speech.

With the right actions you can show yourself that you are definitely able to speak fluently. An important detail here is that a positive experience isn’t about 100% fluency.

It’s about the small steps through which you show yourself that you speak more and more fluently and feel more and more at ease in social situations.

This way you accumulate positive experiences, you start believing in yourself again and slowly the snowball gets bigger. Until the moment that the positive outweighs the negative and you let go of stuttering.

Stuttering disappears, fluency is what remains.

“To let go of stuttering we have to break out of the stutter pattern.”

2. The approach

In this chapter

The approach
Growing awareness
Action
Upward spiral
To the core of stuttering

The approach.

To let go of stuttering we have to break out of the stutter pattern. That’s how we create positive experiences and the confidence in our speech will return. This way we’ll start speaking more and more fluently.

This is how we do it, but it’s easier said than done. Understand that the activating of the stutter pattern happens unconsciously.  The stutter pattern doesn’t first ring your door bell to as if you’re alright with it activating. It does what it pleases and is activated without your awareness.

Growing awareness.

The first step in the coaching process is growing awareness. Because you can only fix a problem when you know what’s wrong in the first place.

What is my stutter pattern? How do I react to situations? When and in what ways does it come up? How can I change this?

Here’s where the coach comes in. He watches along with you, talks to you and gives you the right exercises to heighten your awareness. It’s just that we all have blind spots and it’s best to have someone that can give you the right instructions.

 

Obvious instructions are speaking loud and clear, maintaining eye contact en concentrate on breathing in and out. Do these things and you just took your first steps out of the stutter pattern! But as well as physically as psychologically, there are many things to overlook, and thus to become aware of before stuttering can be overcome for once and for all.

Action.

After awareness comes action. But what kind of action? And why? And how exactly? And which action comes after that?

It took us almost three years before we ourselves understood which action comes when and in what way it’s most effective. During the coaching we have an arsenal of exercises at our disposal and do we watch closely to give you the right exercise at the right moment. These exercises include exercises in which you have to step outside your comfort zone, but only in the degree you’re ready for.

You don’t have to search three years for the answers because we know what has to happen. The process will speed up immensely when you choose to be coached. You will get the exercises to strategically break free from your stutter pattern and so work on your fluent speech efficiently.

Upward spiral.

When things don’t go your way it’s easy to give up. But with a coach to help you pull through it’s going to be a lot easier to keep going.

Through the exercises, the freedom they create and the right insights we make sure that you will get in an upward spiral. That way you finally break free from stuttering. You will experience how it is to finally be able to express yourself again and to speak the way you want to speak. On top of that you’ll have all the tools at hand that, íf you might have a stutter here and there again, you know exactly what to do to make that go away too.

You’ll be helped far into the process, you’ll have changed your speech drastically already and have all the tools to keep it going and become even more and more fluent to the point of real, lasting fluency.

To the core of stuttering.

The awareness, the action and the upward spiral all serve dealing with stuttering at the core of your stutter.

The core of your stutter is your stutter pattern. To work on that effectively means that the stutter pattern will lose its power and fluent speech will surface once again.

In its core, stuttering is no speech problem, but the result of a deeper rooted cause. Working on the stutter pattern means working on that cause instead of fighting the symptoms.

To the core of stuttering, that’s what we stand for. Throw your speech techniques away, it’s time for natural, spontaneous and lasting fluent speech.

“Whether it is group coaching or personal coaching, the result we strive for is always the same: being your last speech therapy.”

3. The end result

In this chapter

The end result
Freedom
Spontaneity
Expressiveness
Your last speech therapy
What we offer

The end result

Whether it is group coaching or personal coaching, the end result we strive for is always the same: being your last speech therapy.

The goal of helping you reclaim freedom, spontaneity and expressiveness in your speech always stays the same. Only the path that people have to go on to achieve that differs per person.

Freedom.

Speaking fluently and so reclaiming freedom in everything you aspire to do. Finally being able to say what you want to say, dare saying what you want to say and do what you want to do. Feeling at easy in every speaking situation and cracking a joke, sharing your opinion or telling a story without anxiety and hesitation. That is freedom.

Spontaneity.

We don’t use speech techniques, we’re all about natural and spontaneous speech. Speech isn’t something to be controlled, doesn’t have to be controlled and so we can throw away tricks and techniques.

Deep down inside you’re already a fluent speaker. It’s there by nature but it has lost its spontaneity because of negative stutter experiences. The heavy load of those experiences will finally fall off of your shoulders when we work together to bring back the spontaneity in your speech.

Expressiveness.

Stuttering has been suppressing you for far too long. It has smothered your expressiveness for far too long. It’s time to let your true self rise by leaving stuttering behind you and fully expressing yourself again. Experience the freedom, spontaneity and expressiveness. Dare to speak and show who you truly are.

Your last speech therapy.

Whatever kind of coaching we engage in, being your last speech therapy will always be our goal.

We know from experience what stuttering does to you and we know the steps that have to be taken in order to overcome it. Then there’s Master in Psychology Sjoerd to top it off. This combination is what makes that Broca Brothers can actually be your last speech therapy.

If these stories speak to you, dont hesitate to contact us and we can get to work.

Thank you for your attention,

Hille & Sjoerd

What we offer
skype stuttering therapy stammering coaching
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Skype coaching

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Personal coaching

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