Stories of People Who Stutter

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Re: Stories of People Who Stutter

From: David Shapiro
Date: 18 Oct 2011
Time: 15:52:35 -0500
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Hi Margaret, I’m glad you enjoyed the paper. Your question is quite complex. I see a response as twofold. First, we cannot go back. Indeed the client likely needs your support and acceptance for the choices he has made. Typically we make the best choices we can on the basis of the information we have. But the second part of the response has to do with the clinician’s role in helping the client create an alternative personal construct in order to create an alternative future. I must mention first that success can be defined in many ways other than speech fluency. Nevertheless, we cannot tell the client to define himself on bases other than previous poor speech fluency. But we can create for the client (and soon with, and eventually by the client) opportunities for him to experience fluency success (and other aspects of communication success) directly. Success begets success. We can help the client move from interpreting the present and anticipating the future on the basis of “I can’t” to “I can.” When we work with the client to create an alternative foundation, then he is able to consider options in life that would never have been imaginable. I am reminded of numerous professionals I have worked with over the years who were concerned about losing their jobs because of stuttering. But when they achieved their communication objectives, they elected to resign to explore other opportunities. So what I am suggesting is to help the client embrace the decisions that were past, while helping him chart a new future based on a revised set of data (his definition and interpretation of success), yielding a revised interpretation. I hope this helps. Feel free to follow up if I might respond more directly to your question. Good luck. David Shapiro

Last changed: 10/18/11