Counseling Tips for Self-acceptance

Hello! We are 2nd year graduate students at the University of South Carolina in the Master of Speech Pathology program.  We are currently enrolled in our stuttering class and we have been learning about the importance of self-acceptance for individuals who stutter and the often difficult journey that it takes to get to acceptance of one’s stuttering.  As we are soon to be new clinicians, can you offer any counseling strategies that you have found to be beneficial/successful for helping individuals who stutter overcome covert stuttering and progress towards self-acceptance?  We read the article, “It Starts With You”, by Davis Alpuche, as well as several other success stories like his, and they inspired us to learn more about different counseling techniques we could use in our future practice.  We appreciate any advice you have to give.  Thank you!

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Counseling Tips for Self-acceptance — 3 Comments

  1. Hi Taylor,

    I’d encourage you to take a look at some of the other “threads” this year that address acceptance; many ideas have been suggested by myself and others. In addition to those techniques, various “narrative therapies” can also be utilized in the acceptance process. Everyone with a problem has a unique story. So, for a therapist to completely understand the problem, he or she must participate in the telling of that story. In the course of therapy, the client tells and revises his or her own story, thus gaining a deeper understanding of the meaning of his or her experiences.

    These principles can be applied to stuttering to help facilitate acceptance. These “stuttering stories” describe and interpret significant events that shaped our thoughts, feelings, and reactions to our stuttering. This can include challenges faced and how we learned to speak with pride and a sense of accomplishment. In addition, these stories often convey honesty, and commitment to improvement, courage, and triumphs. As a professor who stutters, I can personally attest to the fact that students do not generally read about these experiences in text books. Thus, these stories provide invaluable insights about the “experience” of stuttering for future clinicians.

    Hope this helps…
    Paul

  2. Hi Taylor and classmate(s),
    Good question! There are lots and lots of strategies, techniques, and approaches that deal with acceptance. I won’t even try to summarize them here. I will tell you that about 20 years ago, I started using a group to deal with these and other thought/feeling issues with adults who stutter. I have not stopped. We now had an NSA Support Group that meets every week during our regular semesters. Over the years, our support group is run by two graduate students and myself (which probably makes it more tightly organized than most). In any case, I have observed several covert stutterers become more comfortable with their avoidances and begin to relax and feel OK about letting it out.
    Thus, as new clinicians, I encourage you to start or find a stuttering person to start an NSA chapter in your area. Lots or resources are available online at http://www.westutter.org. You can start a group for adults or for children. It takes time and work to sustain a group, bit it can become a wonderful place for your clients and others to learn that they are not alone and that stuttering need not be as big a problem in their lives as many have let it become.
    Good luck.
    Ken

  3. In stuttering treatment I often use ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy)as a working frame, and which I find very meaningful and flexible in relation to stuttering and for improving stuttering awareness and acceptance. There are some professionals who have been introducing this approach in the stuttering field and who are still running courses within this concept. Those people are for example Cheasman and Everard from City Lit, England, or Scott Palasik and Chad Yates from US. Based on the individuals, I often combine elements from different approaches in my treatment, so I regard ACT as a working frame more than a specific method/approach. I am sure that you will find several ideas/tips for your counseling by reading/improving knowledge about ACT as well.