The POWERR Game
By: Sara VanDenHeuvel and Justine Seipman
Rationale and Theoretical Perspectives
Because addressing the motor aspects of stuttering is not sufficient the POWERR game provides an opportunity to discuss the emotions and attitudes associated with stuttering while further providing the adolescent with coping mechanisms to use in speech.
POWERR – The Separate Components
Permission – allows for the discussion of the limitations of therapy, a client’s expectations, and the evaluation of their choices in dealing with stuttering
Ownership – provides education about stuttering and its causes, which will eventually help client assume responsibility and control of their disorder
Well-being – Concerned with issues of happiness, quality of life and overall satisfaction with life, clients must feel that they have the right to change for therapy to be successful
Esteem of Self (self-esteem) – linked to the evaluation of oneself and how someone believes the world sees him/her
Resilience – ability to bounce back from difficulty or relapse, an essential psychological strength requires to successfully master change
Responsibility – a client has some level of responsibility for communication skills as a whole, a responsibility to be an effective communication partner, stuttering is a part of this framework of communication as a whole
Diversion Cards – a client has the opportunity to use role-playing to focus on ideal ways to approach speaking situations
Uses of the Game
1) A starting point at which to discuss emotions
2) Provides an opportunity to discuss speaking strategies and coping mechanisms
3) The game can be used as a supplement to other programs used in shaping fluency.
4) The game can be used with programs targeted at changing speech patterns
Unfortunately, relapse can be common following therapy, but relapse prevention programs exist, which include focus on self-efficacy, enhanced self-esteem, and participation in self-help and support groups which address feelings and attitudes about stuttering. Long term maintenance may be dependent on attitudes
Hints for the Clinician/Counseling
1) Be a good listener to a client’s responses to diversion cards and POWERR cards
2) Help the client identify and label their feelings if they are unable to do so.
3) Show respect for each client’s efforts and struggles.
4) Don’t ask too many questions, this therapy technique is intended to be a game.
5) Do not rush to provide your answers to a client’s problems.
6) Reinforce moments of growth in which the client is seeking help, making choices, or reporting assertive behavior.
7) Expect some resistance and opposition, but be encouraging nonetheless.
8) Recognize resistance to change, the awkwardness of new attitudes and activities, and the feelings of lack of control during change. The game provides a way to help persons who stutter through systematic self-reorganization.
9) Do not blame a person who stutters for this disorder and do not rescue a person from their problems. This game is about gaining responsibility for one’s problem and taking control of it.
10) Be a catalyst for change – be excited about the new program!
Both short and long term objectives are provided in the POWERR Game book.
· The game is focused upon the client’s attitudes, emotions, and beliefs, which are sometimes the hardest parts of stuttering to deal with.
· It allows for moments of reinforcement for clients who show moments of growth when making choices, seeking help, or reporting assertive behavior.
· The diversion cards provide role playing opportunities to deal with challenging stuttering scenarios.
· The booklet includes reproducible handouts to focus on areas or phases the client needs to spend more time on.
· POWERR game emphasizes and strengthens the clinician’s role as a counselor.
· The game is complex
· POWERR game does not focus on fluency shaping or modifying the client’s stutter, which prospective buyers may misconstrue.