allow yourself to stutter

Hi all, I love asking questions in this forum, cause I always receive interesting answers:

So my question is, in the stuttering world you hear a lot about “Allow yourself to stutter”.

As you know, you can stutter with sound like repetitions and prolongations – if you stutter in this form it makes sense that “allowing yourself to stutter” mean to show the stuttering   instead hiding it.

But for those stutterers (like me), that don’t repeat and prolong words and sounds, but instead their stuttering is characterized by a lot of tension in the speech muscles, what for them means the term

“Allowing yourself to stutter”?

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allow yourself to stutter — 6 Comments

  1. Ari, good question. “Allow yourself to stutter” is a common theme across situational factors, self-disclosure, and other stuttering issues. It’s somewhat similar to allowing oneself to make mistakes (e.g., many situations–playing a sport, making a speech, playing a musical instrument–are less fun when we expect ourselves to be perfect all the time; we also don’t improve our skills as much because we don’t want to take chances and try new things). I feel like I have a relatively easy time talking to people about my stuttering (not necessarily that I stutter less, though that is often the case with me, but better able to manage my speech and not feeling as self-conscious). In that instance, there are really no penalties for stuttering. I can allow myself to stutter and just talk. To put it differently, I am not worrying about NOT stuttering. Does that make sense?

  2. In REBT of Stuttering (for description see article elsewhere in this conference) that means “Don’t allow yourself to stutter–on permanent basis– in the old way you stutter.” 🙂 🙂
    CHANGE the stuttering as follows (read very, very carefully, because there are some subtleties here):
    1) In belief system no longer think DON’T use avoidances, instead let–at first–stuttering come through any which one way possible. The best avoidance is worse than the worst stutter!!!
    2) Before changing learn to identify everything so well in your own stuttering style that you can duplicate your stutter as a voluntary stutter, so nobody can tell the difference.
    3) Since stuttering involves also beliefs and emotional states, learn to identify what are your beliefs about stuttering (see discussion in my paper) and what emotions do you have, as what intensity of emotional state you have.
    4) Then first start by substituting helpful beliefs for the unhelpful ones (such as I MUST talk perfectly well, stuttering is AWFUL, etc.–again see paper).
    5. Substitute healthy negative emotions for the unhealthy ones (i.e. those that tend to paralyze you, cause mental anguish, and, in general, hinder you from reaching your goals.
    6. Then start to strip away all tension from the stutters.
    7. Use easy bounces instead of your style of stuttering by turning a stutter into an easy bounce; by cancelling a stutter with an easy bounce; and finally by preempting a stutter with an easy-bounce.
    8. Use the above as a suggestion and something that is desirable, not as something that you ABSOLUTISTICALLY MUST have.
    9. Repeat the mantra “The best avoidance is worse than the worst stutter. UNTIL YOU BELIEVE IT.
    10. Never chase the witch goddess of perfect speech.

  3. Ari, I’ve heard a different version of “allow yourself to stutter”. I’ve heard people say, “Has anyone ever given you permission to stutter?” I think that is a better way to look at it – it doesn’t matter then if it is repetitions, prolongations, or what you describe in your own stuttering, sometimes referred to as “blocks.” Giving yourself “permission to stutter” is really a different message and mindset. Sometimes people who stutter are very concerned with trying in any way they can to hide their stuttering, which can lead to more tension, fear, and a lot of what Sheehan referred to as hiding under the surface in his “Iceberg” analogy. Knowing and believing that it is OK to stutter also gives you the opportunity to stutter openly (in whichever way you stutter). Stuttering openly is an important key to working on desensitization to your stuttering.

  4. Hi Ari – Nice question! Thanks for posting . You’ve raised an interesting distinction between letting your stutter with repetition vs. letting yourself block – there seems to be a different feeling between the two. There are some great answers up above, and I’m not sure what I can add… Some other thoughts, though…If we view letting yourself stutter in a broad way, though, it might also be taken as a way of saying letting yourself have some type of disruption – any type of disruption – in speech, as opposed to trying to get the words out smoothly. The idea of ‘giving permission’ is key for this…the idea is to let something – anything – out that might not be considered ‘perfectly fluent’ as a way of minimizing the negative reactions surrounding stuttering. Often, the tension and struggle behaviors grow out of the negative reactions, so to the extend that allowing the disfluency to happen helps to reduce the negative reactions, then it moves toward an easier form of stuttering. I’ve also seen many people – especially those who have tense blocks – explore different ways of moving through the block (e.g., ‘bouncing,’ a la the ‘Iowa bounce’ or trying prolongations as pseudostutters, as Sheehan suggested, or trying to do something/anything differently from the typical stutter a la Williams) as a way of breaking up that tension. This is also a form of letting stuttering out, but it’s done primarily with the intent of helping to reduce the tension (in addition to the desensitization benefit)… So, allowing yourself to stutter can take many forms – from permission, to modifying or managing moments of stuttering, to enhancing desensitization… Thanks again for your post!

  5. Thanks all,your answers are like gold to me!!
    Dale and Judith: it completely makes sense!
    Gunars :your answer is so detailed (even more than in your book) and its great(I learned from it a lot)!!

  6. And Scott: Thank you for your answers(also the answer about tension that you answer to another question).Changing my blocks to audible is something i try to do several years now .
    Sometimes i feel i can just stutter out my blocks,and sometimes my blocks are very tense.
    I dont always know,why sometimes i just can stutter,and sometimes it is so hard.
    My theory is ,that i still have rejection from repetition ,but not from prolongation.
    And this is the reason i still cant just stutter,and deep in my mind i try to block instead repeat the sounds .
    When i succeed to repeat sounds,it seem that my stuttering is a lot easier,but honestly i didnt try it enough ,cause its very hard for me.