All the contents available here at World Stop Stuttering Association, including Lee Lovett’s “Stuttering & Anxiety Self-Cures”, are designed to help you stop stuttering and not need the help of the coaches. The vast video library of coaching sessions should be extremely helpful, as the advice the coach gives to a certain PWS might also apply to you. It is pretty much like being coached directly.
Despite this, some PWS need additional guidance, like a personal coach. In fact, I needed a coach. Most of the PWSS who have posted a Success Story have made it with the help of a coach. But of course, there are people who have stopped stuttering without their counselling. If you’ve read my Success Story, you’ll probably know that I used to be a severe stutterer, and although the book itself helped me reduce my stuttering significantly, I didn’t stop stuttering. So I was coached for 8 months by Lee Lovett. That’s the time it took me to become a PWSS. Like most of the recent PWSS, I still had stuttering fears and anxiety. So Lee continued to coach me a few more times, so that I could learn and understand my new goals as a PWSS (see Section 16 of the stuttering book for more information), and I began to work on those. I’ve progressed a lot since then, more than I could have ever imagined, but still need to continue improving.
When Lee stopped coaching me, I needed to become my own coach. I had to continue trying to find ways to improve my speech, just as my coach did for me. The main way I’ve been doing this is by paying close attention to my speech, my anxiety levels, and my thoughts, always looking for improvement. I like to compare my speech to driving a car on a highway, I think it makes it much easier to understand and explain in my coaching sessions. So let’s imagine ourselves driving a car, on a highway, as I just said, driving at the speed limit. This is a speed at which we feel comfortable driving (speaking), in control of the situation. Speaking faster is the same as driving faster. The faster we go, the higher the risk of losing control and having an accident. An increase in our anxiety levels is like driving at the same speed as before, but in a very slippery and/or bumpy road. It is very risky, we need to do something (slow down for example) to take back control of our car.
Thanks to mind training and to all the contents available through WSSA, including attending the SAM meetings, where I’ve met a lot of new people, my anxieties have decreased, and my speech is better than ever, but of course, there’s always room for improvement.
One thing we must make very clear is that coaches don’t stop our stuttering, or make our fears and anxieties disappear. The coached person does that, and we, the coaches, simply give advice and instructions based on our own experiences. And of course, we can be our own coach. Who, better than ourselves, know what’s going on inside our heads, what we’re thinking? Although it is always good to get the advice of a coach, if we know and understand the Lovett Method and have watched enough coaching videos, we can be our own coaches, and do it well enough to learn to stop stuttering and get over our speech anxieties.