Fluency vs. Disfluency
Almost 100% of stutterers are fluent when they are alone. Why is that? It’s precisely because we are alone. As you all know, stutterers care (worry) too much about other people’s opinions about ourselves and the way we speak. But when we’re alone, those fears and worries vanish. Therefore, we’re fluent.
When we’re speaking to someone else, the situation changes, doesn’t it? Before we speak, we might start having fears of speaking, because we fear stuttering in front of that person and we don’t want that to happen. At the same time, a flood of negative thoughts starts to invade our mind. “I’m going to stutter.” “I’m not going to be able to say it.” Etc. And all these harmful thoughts make us more and more nervous. Then these thoughts end up becoming our reality. We start to stutter, and our speech gets worse and worse by the moment.
Before speaking I also used to plan the exact words I was going to say. In most cases, I would also plan the possible replies that I might get, and based on those possibilities, what I would reply back. This is madness. Most stutterers do this, too. We do this to try to speak “perfectly”, “flawlessly”. But as I said before, when we do that, the stuttering fears show up, and we start fearing some of those planned words, and that’s when the trouble begins.
Fluent people don’t plan the exact words they are going to say. They have an idea, an urge to say something, that’s all; they don’t think words, they think ideas.
We don’t control the blinking of our eyes, or our breathing. We “let our brain do it for us”. We have to learn to do the same with our speech if we want to speak like everyone else. When we try to consciously control our breath or the blinking of our eyes, we do it in an unnatural way, don’t you agree? The same happens with our speech when we do that (dysfluency).
Unlearning a Habit
Since most of us have been stuttering since we were small kids (in my case, since I was around 5 years old), we have been stuttering for all (or most) of our lives. It has become a habit. One of our most engrained habits if you think about it. So, it’s not going to be easy to get rid of it and substitute it with another habit (fluency), but it is POSSIBLE. Yes, it is possible, and this shouldn’t surprise us, despite the fact that the majority of the stuttering community affirms that stuttering has no cure, no solution, that it can’t be stopped, or call it the way you want. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s heard about celebrities, singers, athletes and other famous people who have stopped stuttering. So they don’t count, or what? They aren’t made of the same flesh and bone as we are, or what? Am I missing something?
If they have succeeded at stopping stuttering, we can surely do it too!
Learning from PWSS
The fact that the vast majority of speech professionals haven’t succeeded at helping stutterers stop stuttering doesn’t mean that there is no solution, it’s just that they haven’t found it. And most likely it’s because most speech professionals have never stuttered (therefore they don’t understand the problem, they can only guess), or they still do (so, they are still looking for the solution). From my point of view, they are looking in the wrong direction (most of them focus too much on the mechanics of speaking, the way we breath and on making scientific papers about this, and they don’t focus that much on the psychological part, which is at the core of the solution).
But, there clearly is a solution. The solution is to find ways to stop planning our words, to stop fearing words, and to stop forcing them. Once we get rid of those crippling habits, we’ll be speaking like the remaining 99% of the world, the fluent world.
No Easy Fix…but a Fix Nevertheless
Pills, drugs, electronic devices or anything like that are not the answer (they can even be counterproductive in some cases). They are not going to help us forget a habit and create a new one. Only working on it daily, with determination and patience and working on it as much as we can will do the job.
It took me 8 months to learn to stop stuttering and to stop appearing speech disabled using the Lovett Method. And it has taken me longer than that to get rid of most of my stuttering fears. I still have some residual fears that I’m still working on, and I know they’ll disappear too, sooner than later. And I’m not the only one who has done it. Many others are beating stuttering and actually getting to the point where they enjoy speaking using the same techniques as I do!
Join Our Community
The purpose of this community, World Stop Stuttering Association, is to give content, training, advice, help, and support to PWS that wish to become PWSS. We offer an alternative to what most people preach about stuttering: “there is no solution”, “accept your stutter, be proud of it”, etc. Stuttering can be defeated; I am living proof and there are many others. And once we do it, our lives change for the better!!!