|About the presenter: Ken St. Louis, Ph.D, professor at West Virginia University, is a mostly recovered stutterer who is also a speech-language pathologist. He has focused his entire career on fluency disorders with the primary goal of helping people who stutter. His work setting has been in higher education, where he has (a) supervised graduate students doing therapy with stuttering and cluttering, (b) taught courses in fluency disorders, and (c) carried out research in stuttering and cluttering. St. Louis is a Board Recognized Specialist and Mentor in Fluency Disorders and author of Living With Stuttering: Stories, Resources, Basics, and Hope. He was awarded the first Deso Weiss Award for Excellence in Cluttering, which recognizes the international contribution of an individual to understanding about cluttering.|
I have treated children and adults who stutter individually in most of the popular approaches to therapy over the past 35 years. Yet, I confess that, until recently, I did not have much experience in leading group therapy, even though I have long recognized its potential value in the treatment and healing process for chronic stuttering. I had convened a few small groups for several weeks over the years, but they did not continue due primarily to schedule and programmatic constraints that has characterized our university speech clinic. Nevertheless, in 2001, I resolved to inaugurate a group therapy experience for adults who stutter that would augment and compliment their individual therapy programs. By setting a weekly date and sticking to it semester-after-semester, we have been able to achieve the continuity that did not follow the earlier attempts.
The roots for the group therapy model summarized here came from (a) about three years of experience from our small self-help chapter of the National Stuttering Association, (b) my own group therapy experience as a stuttering undergraduate at Colorado State University that was led by Bill Leith, and (c) various presentations from colleagues about their group therapy programs. The PowerPoint presentation linked below provides an overview of the model we have developed in the past six years. Our group therapy sessions are all different, and the model continually undergoes changes, but the loose structure outlined has served us well.
It is important to point out that the model described in the PowerPoint below is designed primarily to enhance desensitization, insight, and motivation. It does not purport to teach stutterers to be fluent, but it provides a setting for those who are learning fluency shaping or stuttering modification strategies in individual therapy to practice their skills.
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