Interview With Caroline

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Re: tough love

From: Lynne Shields
Date: 10/8/02
Time: 4:48:13 PM
Remote Name:


Aubree and Jennifer,

Thanks for your question. In the article you mentioned, tough love therapy is described as follows: "One way that has been developed to handle the difference between the comfort of the therapy room and the harshness of the real world conditions is to artificially institute difficult and sometimes demeaning speaking conditions in therapy. Many clinicians will recall those who stutter being required to put themselves in harsh situations (approaching strangers, speaking in public, standing on a table and talking, being harangued when talking.)"

I don't think that this description fits what Caroline and I talk about in our article. We set up a series of role plays, written by the clinician and Caroline, that allowed her to practice new ways to respond to the teasing she was experiencing. She was not happy with the way she was dealing with teasing at the time, and was interested in experimenting with new solutions. I think we were providing her with the opportunity to 'try on' new responses that would provide her with a more satisfying comeback to bullies, to see if these felt good to her.

We suggested to Caroline that, if she wanted, she might try some of these responses when and if she next got teased. I was pleased that she went right out and applied what she'd practiced. So, I think that what we were doing was helping her do some problem solving in the safety of the clinic setting, and then carry those out into her world as she saw fit. Both Caroline and I were pleased with the outcome. She can answer for herself, but my impression was that she found this to be an empowering excercise rather than harsh or demanding.

The use of voluntary stuttering with a child can also be empowering for children. While it takes strength on the child's part, it is important to provide sufficient support, as the SLP, so that it is not perceived of as a negative event. Properly carried out, it gives the child important feedback about themselves and their speech.

Hope I've answered your question. Thanks for asking.



Last changed: September 12, 2005