Stuttering and Stammering
Stuttering or stammering is a problem with the normal flow and timing of speech. Someone with a stutter may experience a complete block on speech, when they simply can't get a certain word out, repetition of a syllable, or prolongation of a sound. Stuttering often begins in childhood, and affects proportionately more boys than girls. Although there is currently no cure for stuttering, there are many methods that can improve stuttering to some extent. It is important to get a diagnosis by an expert first and your GP should be able to refer you to a speech therapist who can offer advice on the issue.
Stuttering and causes
Stuttering can differ in severity in different situations (such as talking on the telephone) depending on the level of anxiety associated with that situation. Research suggests that one in five children in the UK go through a phase of stuttering, and although three in four of those will grow out of it, that’s still half a million people in the UK who stutter. Other research suggests that 1% of the world is affected by stuttering (approximately 66 million people).
No-one knows exactly what causes stuttering, although it has recently been suggested by experts that people who stammer may have difficulty co-ordinating the muscles needed for speech, and require more time to form words. It is likely that stuttering is caused by a variety of factors, including genetics and environmental factors. Although stuttering is a physical condition, there can often be a psychological aspect linked to it, for example experiencing a trauma, or going through a difficult or stressful time, such as being bullied.
How can hypnotherapy help with stuttering?
Stuttering is a physical condition which can be triggered by different situations and can often be exacerbated by anxiety or stress. Hypnotherapy can help to reduce the impact of these triggers by helping you 'relax out' of the vicious circle that can cause so many problems, teaching new reactions, reducing anxiety, building confidence and self esteem by helping you rehearse triggering your relaxation response when you begin to feel tense. Hypnosis can be utilised to change a person's beliefs about that situation, and to desensitise the reactions to the memory. This relaxation response not only makes you feel more relaxed, but it actually changes the way your brain is functioning at that time, to hopefully 'normalise' it to allow smooth speech to take place more easily.
Using Solution Focused Hypnotherapy you will be giving the tools to enable you to control your anxiety levels and have a calmer more confident approach to all situations. We look at what you the client wants to achieve rather than on the problem(s) that prompted you to seek change. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy helps you to ‘unlearn’ behaviours that have been learnt. It will help you focus on your strengths and resources enabling you to regain control over your current life and look forward to a positive future where you are more in control of your thoughts, feelings and actions.
“A survey of speech therapists using hypnosis in the UK by Macfarlane and Duckworth (1990) suggested that the major use of hypnosis in fluency disorders is as a means of achieving rapid, deep relaxation, reducing physical tension and anxiety and encouraging self-esteem in the patient.”
Stuttering Modification Using Hypnosis: A Case Study by Dr David Oakley and Guy Moss