The Contamination of Love

From: Joe Kalinowski
Date: 10/1/99
Time: 9:32:51 AM
Remote Name:


I think John has proposed a powerful explanation of why most therapies "appear" to help most
people-especially for those pre- and post-therapy videotapes. These videotapes often look miracles, but I
think, like John, that they have been "contaminated " by the love and support that envelopes the therapeutic
environment. Funny thing to tie love, caring and support with contamination-- but that is just what
post-therapy clinical measures are--CONTAMINATED with love. They in no way, shape or form, reflect the
communicative environment that a person who stutters finds outside the therapeutic environment . 

It is similar to measuring tight rope walker's performance when hooked up to safety lines while walking
across a long, wide board of word which is only 3 feet off the ground. The tight roper's performance in no
way shape or form resembles their "real" performance in an actual performance environment. 

What to do? 

Re: The Contamination of Love

From: Pete Hawkes
Date: 10/2/99
Time: 9:51:20 AM
Remote Name:


I totally agree with you Joe, I have just done intensive (paper also on line about it). My group consisted of 5,
we all had 'miracle' post-therapy vids..BUT not a true indication of the effectiveness. The real world is
'worlds apart' from the therapy room. Still I have improved but no where near the fluency I had on last day of
the course. No answer is there? ;-)

General comments

From: Pete Hawkes
Date: 10/2/99
Time: 10:11:42 AM
Remote Name:


I found your paper very interesting and I agree with your ideas. I feel that after an intensive it is essential to
continue therapy, mainly in the form of self-help in order to maintain a positive outlook and to keep those
positive feelings that have been attained through the therapy. Any graduate of therapy, in my opinion, should
look at that as just the start, we can't hope that two weeks will 'cure' us, continued therapy is a must as well
as hard work with practice and transfers. If not, it is like you never had the therapy in the first place.
Thankyou for a very interesting read.:-)

Yes for Wholisticism!

From: Ajit Harisinghani, India.
Date: 10/2/99
Time: 9:49:37 PM
Remote Name:


John, I liked your write-up and agree that it is the whole person rather than a stutterer that one is interacting
with. Acceptance at this level works wonders because it makes everyone drop their gaurd and become 'real'
rather than be alert and 'on guard' everytime they have to interact through speech. My compliments on your
write-up. ajit harisinghani (


From: Jennifer
Date: 10/5/99
Time: 1:02:52 AM
Remote Name:


Dear Mr. Harrison, 

Hello, my name is Jennifer, and I am an East Carolina University graduate student. I found your article very
interesting, and have a few questions for you. 

In the article, you gave two examples of the Hawthorne Effect happening within groups. Since group therapy
seems to provide more support, does the Hawthorne Effect also apply or is it as evident in a one-to-one
therapeutic setting? Would continuous post-treatment follow-up or support groups help to keep persons who
stutter from "sliding back" or is some "sliding back" inevitable? Do persons who stutter that the Hawthorne
Effect applies to eventually level off or are they constantly improving (granted their support systems are

Thank You, Jennifer Cinelli Graduate Student, Speech-Language Pathology East Carolina University 

Re: Question

From: John Harrison
Date: 10/6/99
Time: 2:28:19 AM
Remote Name:



Yes, of course, the Hawthorne Effect applies to one-on-one relationships as well. And your observation is
right on. Some sort of post treatment follow-up is essential if the changes are to be sustained. Keep in mind
that people who grow up with a stuttering problem end up making all kinds of adjustments in their personality
and in their beliefs and perceptions, etc. Changing these “default settings,” so called, takes time and usually A
LOT of time, and does require a supportive environment if their gains are to be maintained. If you’d like to
lean about a stuttering program that has a powerful follow-up program run by its own graduates, you might
like to check into the site for the Mcguire Programme at  to see what
such a follow-up program might look like. 

I would say in general that the longer the individual is in the eupsychian (good for the psyche) environment,
the longer the benefits will be maintained. You can see the truth in this when you follow up on those who
have gone though 2 and 3 week programs and those who go to National Stuttering Association conventions
that last for 3-4 days. The impact of the extended exposure to those environments lasts for many days...and
can continue, provided that the individual does not return to a toxic environment or one where there is no
positive reinforcement. If they do return to a non-supportive environment (which in many cases is just the
ordinary world), the Hawthorne Effect kicks in again, but in this case, the effect is negative. 

One way that a clinic or support group can help the person deal with the stresses of the real world is by setting
up a program such as Speaking Circles. There’s a detailed paper on the Speaking Circle environment on the
Stuttering Home Page, and I would encourage to give it a look. Also, the longer version of the Hawthorne
paper develops all these concepts more deeply. Hope I’ve answered your questions. They were right on the

John H. 

too nuturing? (take two!)

From: Wendy
Date: 10/5/99
Time: 8:04:11 PM
Remote Name:


I am a first-year graduate student in speech pathology at East Carolina University and would like to ask a
question about the Hawthorne effect. How would a clinician, aware of the effect, modify his/her therapy
session to ensure greater generalization for the client in less nurturing environments? I understand that the
therapy environment is probably the most nurturing and supportive situation the client ever encounters. How
might a clinician be certain that the fluency techniques used are at least partly responsible for the client's
progress, and not solely based on the positive relationship between the client and clinician?

Re: too nuturing? (take two!)

From: John Harrison
Date: 10/6/99
Time: 2:30:38 AM
Remote Name:



You have asked THE KEY question. First, see my response to Jennifer. In general, the therapist has to
address the client’s emotions, perceptions, and beliefs in addition to his or her speech behaviors. I know this
sounds like a tall order, but just relating the client’s life experiences to your own will begin to identify points
of identification. It is also very useful to take courses and do your own reading in the behavioral sciences so
you can approach this problem from a broad perspective. 

You also need to start encouraging the client to become a good observer of his or her experiences. There’s an
article on the Stuttering Home page called “The Power of Observation” which will give you a sense of what
I’m talking about. 

Regarding your question -- “How might a clinician be certain that the fluency techniques used are at least
partly responsible for the client's progress, and not solely based on the positive relationship between the client
and clinician?” Well, that’s a tough one, because you’ll never really know. Some fluency techniques work for
some people and not for others. What worked for me in my own self-therapy was not to mechanically create
fluency but to address the stuttering block which lies at the heart of chronic stuttering. This called for, among
other things, getting to know PRECISELY what I did when I blocked and to learn to relax my way into word.
But I had to address all the points on the Stuttering Hexagon. 

Thanks for the question. 

John H. 

link to stuttering therapy

From: Salena Nikolaisen
Date: 10/5/99
Time: 9:27:39 PM
Remote Name:


I think the connection you've made between the Hawthorne effect and stuttering therapy is fascinating. I am
curious though, since it is almost impossible for a clinician and client to maintian for some length of time the
kind of relationship they have in therapy, what do you suggest people do post-therapy to maintain the
"eupsychian" sense they had during therapy? 

Re: link to stuttering therapy

From: John Harrison
Date: 10/6/99
Time: 2:32:43 AM
Remote Name:




One thing they can do is to regularly -- and by that I mean at least once a week -- attend a stuttering support
group and/or a program like Speaking Circles. You can find a description of the Speaking Circle program on
this web site. FYI -- many of the chapters of the National Stuttering Association now including Speaking
Circles as a regular part of their chapter programs. 

The difficulty is in changing the default settings of the Stuttering Hexagon -- that is, the way people
automatically react in specific situations. You can find a discussion of the default settings in the longer version
of the Hawthorne paper on this web site. 

Thanks for the question. 

John H. 

Outside of the clinical setting

From: Kennette Winslow
Date: 10/6/99
Time: 12:23:50 PM
Remote Name:


Hi! I'm a first year graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology at East Carolina University. I have several
questions regarding the Hawthorne Effect. Do you have any suggestions for helping the client generalize
his/her new skills outside of the clinical setting? Is it possible to "establish" the Hawthorne Effect with the
client and his/her family or friends to help him/her from "sliding back?" If so, do you have any suggestions? 

Thank you for your time. 

Re: Outside of the clinical setting

From: John C. Harrison
Date: 10/7/99
Time: 4:00:56 PM
Remote Name:




In the longer version of this article (12,000 words) that's posted on this web site, I get explore these issues in
greater depth. 

Here are some additional ideas off the top. As I've tried to indicate, you're dealing not just with a speech
problem, but with a system problem that involves the entire individual. So for openers, it helps to have not
just the person who stutters but those around him understand the nature of the problem. 

If you're dealing with a family, you might want to explore with parents and siblings whether the stutterer is
hearing enough positive things about himself. Overcriticism feeds into the perfectionistic mindset that creates
the stuttering block. Does the individual have an opportunity...or feel free express his thoughts
and feelings? If not, everyone together might want to look at the unwritten "rules" of communication within
the family or the social structure. The power of Speaking Circles (see article on this web site) is that the
individual is given the time and freedom to say and experience what is true for him, and this has an immediate
impact on self-esteem, and often, ease of speaking. This grounding process lies at the heart of the recovery

In short, you need to look for ways to help the individual change his perceptions, beliefs, and intentions if
you want the enhanced speaking behaviors to be maintained. Changing the above will have an impact on the
person's emotional responses. And changes in emotion (especially, the flight-or-fight reaction) will be readily
experienced through greater ease in speaking. 

It's not a quick fix, however. 

Once again, the longer version of this article gets into it in more detail. 

John H. 

Thanks for the examples

From: Sheree Reese
Date: 10/6/99
Time: 7:01:35 PM
Remote Name:


Hi John, 

Last week I was talking to the research class that I teach about the Hawthorne Effect. Thanks for a living,
breathing example of the concept. You've reinforced what I tell students both in clinic when working with
stutterers and in the Stuttering Practicum that I teach...I couldn't have said it better.

Re: Thanks for the examples

From: John C. Harrison
Date: 10/6/99
Time: 9:42:41 PM
Remote Name:



Thanks. I appreciate the feedback. 


Further to Sheree

From: John C. Harrison
Date: 10/7/99
Time: 12:04:30 AM
Remote Name:



I assume you're referring to the example in the paper on this conference. If you'd like more and better
developed examples, I'd like to direct you to the longer version of this article on the Stuttering Home Page.
This article is about 2,500 words. The longer article is about 12,000 and covers a whole lot more.

Re: Further to Sheree

From: Sheree Reese
Date: 10/8/99
Time: 8:38:51 AM
Remote Name:


Thanks, John. I'll follow that up. Sheree

Other Factors

From: Barry Howze
Date: 10/9/99
Time: 10:18:34 AM
Remote Name:


Your article, as well as the longer one was interesting and informative. But,the hexagon does not seem to
include the fact that major life events can impact the amount of fluency in situations far remvoed from that
event. E.g., I once knew someone who was demoted and was so demoralized that her fluecy suffered in all
speaking situations. Barry 

Re: Other Factors

From: John Harrison
Date: 10/9/99
Time: 4:11:57 PM
Remote Name:




Quite the contrary. What I've tried to show in everything I've written about the Hexagon is that
EVERYTHING going on in your life can and does have a direct impact on your ability to express yourself in
ALL situations. I'm surprised that this did not come across, especially in my discussion of the defaults as
explored in the longer version of the Hawthorne article. When someone undergoes a major life event, the net
effect is that the defaults are changed, and these changed defaults exercise their influence in all other areas of
your life. 

I have another paper on this web site called, "Introducing as New Paradigm for Stuttering" which is the
original hexagon paper, and which elaborates on this subject a little more. 

Thanks for the response. 


Laws and Rules

From: Audrey Meglitsch
Date: 10/12/99
Time: 9:42:00 AM
Remote Name:


I am a college student currently taking my first class about stuttering. When I began the class, I wanted to
learn some "step-by step" methods to treat stuttering. I wanted to know exactly what to do to help people.
Your paper has helped emphasize to me what I have been learning in my class. There is no one method of
treatment, there are many dimensions to the treatment of stuttering. Each person is different, having his/her
own emotions, beliefs, perceptions, intentions, physiological responses, and physical behaviors. 

I agree with you that stuttering involves "a system that involves not just your speech, but your entire self."
However, I was unsure what you meant by "What results is a living system that operates according to
predictable laws and rules." Would these "laws and rules" be different for each person? Or are you saying the
system develops according to predictable laws and rules? 

Thank You, Audrey Meglitsch

Re: Laws and Rules

From: John Harrison
Date: 10/12/99
Time: 11:41:22 PM
Remote Name:




What I'm talking about is how a behavioral system develops. Of course, there are variations for each
individual, but the general rules apply. 

You can see this at work in another kind of problem -- that of being overweight and trying to lose the pounds.
If you just try and starve yourself, chances are very high that you won't be successful. If you go on a diet and
don't do anything else about your life, you'll find it difficult to hold onto your gains. This is why the diet
business is so big. People keep going on and off diets. 

The percentage of people who enter speech therapy and slip back is about the same as that of people who start
diets and fall off -- something around 90% or higher. A weight problem, like stuttering, is also a system
problem. It involves a person's emotions, perceptions, beliefs, hidden intentions, physiology, and behaviors.
If you want to permanently lose weight, you need to change more than one point on the Overweight Hexagon.
Because all the points are in a dynamic balance and supporting one another. 

So, let's see, you'll have to look at what emotions are present when the individual wants to singlehandedly
clear the hors d'oeuvre tray, and bring those into awareness and explore them. You have to look at how the
person sees himself or herself. And what the person believes (ie: "Am I really a fat person in a thin person's
body.) And what about the hidden intentions cause people to resist losing weight -- whether rebelliousness,
fear (having the added weight can be a security), or whatever. 

Similarly, when you explore the speech block, you have to ask all the same questions and look at how the
points on the Stuttering Hexagon interact and support each other. 

Hope this answers your questions. Thanks for the inquiry. 


Hawthorne Effect by John Harrison

From: Stefan Bogdanov,
Date: 10/17/99
Time: 7:51:08 AM
Remote Name:


My experience as a stutterer, 53 years old, supports John's thesis. I started to recover from stuttering some
two years ago after going through a process of changes of my life attitudes and habits, fitting roughly John's
hexagon. These changes were speeded up by starting to learn the Alexander technique, with which my body is
conditioned to react "normally" (i.e. as a non-stutterer) by inhibiting the old habit of "preparing the body for
stuttering". (see F.M. Alexander "The use of the self") These changes are very well depicted also by Jack
Menear in his writing "Stuttering is dying". I plea that the writings of John Harrison and Jack Menear be
spreaded more widely in the stuttering community, to encourage stuttering people to begin transnformation
processes leading to recovery from stuttering. 

Re: Hawthorne Effect by John Harrison

From: John Harrison
Date: 10/18/99
Time: 2:16:51 AM
Remote Name:



Thanks for writing. It's people like you who are willing to share their own experiences with a holistic
approach who make this approach even more credible. 


Further to Stefan

From: John Harrison
Date: 10/18/99
Time: 2:31:58 AM
Remote Name:



Could you write me directly? I tried sending a note to you at  but the message


The Hawthorne Effect...

From: Pamela L. Brophy
Date: 10/21/99
Time: 11:26:43 AM
Remote Name:


At times, I've felt more like a "social worker" than a speech pathologist, and this article let me know such a
perspective is OK. Thanks!!

To Paula

From: John Harrison
Date: 10/21/99
Time: 2:03:26 PM
Remote Name:




There's no question that when you work with people who stutter, you really need to wear many hats. The
SLPs who know and understand this are those will have the greatest success...and who will find the most
challenge and fulfillment in what they do. 

Thanks for the comment. 


This is what it's all about

From: Suzanne Danforth
Date: 10/21/99
Time: 9:02:54 PM
Remote Name:


Your paper had me jumping with excitement! I have learned that change happens in the context of the
patient/clinician relationship and some of the most meaningful gains have come from increased confidence of
the patient. It is hard when they go out and hit the real world, but I try to prepare a bit for that, and then to
objectively analyze interactions on a follow-up visit - i.e. for a public speaking attempt called a disaster, in
which part were the most clarifications needed, the beginning, middle or end? What was your level of anxiety
at each stage? What was audience feeling? If it changed during your presentation, what changed it? We talk a
lot about disarming the anxiety of the listener and try to set up an expectation or sorts. But that which changes
most is most definately due to the Hawthorne effect. Thanks for a great paper?

To Suzanne

From: John Harrison
Date: 10/26/99
Time: 2:54:57 AM
Remote Name:



Thanks for your comments and for further confirming the impact of the Hawthorne Effect. If you get a
chance, read the paper on Speaking Circles. They can be a valuable supplement to one-to-one therapy.