Beyond the standard audible and visible symptoms of stuttering there are psychological symptoms that until recently were pretty much ignored. The feelings and attitudes you feel can be as much a part of the disorder as the stuttering. [19] And the longer you are disfluent, the more prevalent these feeling may become.
Speech Bubble reading I Have a Voice These symptoms include:

As a result, many people including parents, friends, teachers, and speech therapist tend to stereotype people who stutter as tense, insecure, and fearful. [21] When in actuality we are tense, insecure, and fearful about our disfluency.

According to Dr. Zebrowski in the Journal of Stuttering Therapy, Advocacy & Research, "emotional responses to stuttering and its often life-changing influence cannot be underestimated or ignored by [your speech therapist]. Your emotional responses are at the core of your coping strategy. And it's that emotion, not rational thought that most strongly influences behavior." She continues to mention, "that if a [therapist] doesn't uncover the way a [stutterer] feels about their disfluency and how that emotion contributes to their reactions to the stuttering it won't really matter what mode of therapy is suggested or followed, that person will not fully be on board." [22]


So What Can We Do to Help Alleviate our Psychological Symptoms?

As stated in the blog post entitled, Stuttering's Hidden Side – the psychological symptoms of stuttering, "While the physical symptom of stuttering is extremely frustrating for the person who stutters, the majority of people who stutter would confess that it is the psychological impact on them that is by far the hardest symptom to live with." [23]

The Stuttering Jack Blog also compiled a list of altered psychological reactions that made people who stuttered happy that they had treatment. These are:

  1. An admission to themselves, that they have a problem.
  2. An admission to others, that they have a problem.
  3. A meeting of other normal, successful, and well-adjusted people, like themselves who share their problem, and a realization that they are not alone.
  4. An introduction to the concept of voluntary stuttering and the benefits of its use.
  5. An introduction to the concept of advertising, or self-disclosure, to strangers that they have a speech disfluency.
  6. A learning of an alternate method of speaking, to reduce or control the disfluent speech.
  7. Arriving at an altered psychological state, where it is believed that the disfluent speech is no longer a psychological issue.
  8. A realization that nothing in their life has greatly changed, as a result of more fluent speech, that has come at a cost. [24]

Jack continues to mention that there is only one point that directly deals with actually learning a fluency enhancing method and that's number 6.

In summary, a big part of what therapy should do for a person who has stuttered for a long period of time is lesson the psychological effects that stuttering has had on their life. In doing that, the chances are increased that the therapy methods taught might make difference. But if the result is the same, you still have come to accept your disfluency and in doing so, alleviated a lot of the stresses that have become as important as the stutter itself.


[19] Guitar, Stuttering: An Integrated Approach to Its Nature and Treatment, 17.
[20] "Speaking Fear | Stuttering Fear | - Psychology of Stuttering," Stuttering Jack, n.d., http://stutteringjack.com/the-psychological-symptoms-of-stuttering_stammering/; Guitar, Stuttering: An Integrated Approach to Its Nature and Treatment, 16.
[21] Guitar, Stuttering: An Integrated Approach to Its Nature and Treatment, 17.
[22] Patricia M. Zebrowski, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, "Counseling People Who Stutter and Their Families," The Journal of Stuttering Therapy, Advocacy & Research 1, no. 1 (2005): 2.
[23] "Speaking Fear | Stuttering Fear | - Psychology of Stuttering."
[24] "Speech Therapy for Stuttering - Is It For Everyone? (Part 1)," Stuttering Jack, n.d., http://stutteringjack.com/speech-therapy-for-stuttering-treatment-adults-part1/.

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