Connecting to Others: The Role of Mental Health Professionals in the Stuttering Community

About the contributors:

kapsteinElizabeth Kapstein has been an active organizer in the stuttering self-help community since the early 90s when she co founded Passing Twice, a network of GLTB persons who stutter and their friends, and the Manhattan Stuttering Group, NYC’s first self-help stuttering community. She is currently a psychotherapist (LCSW, CASAC) in New York City.
oconnorNora A. O’Connor is a licensed clinical social worker and a person who stutters living in Los Angeles, California.  Nora has been involved locally and nationally with stuttering self help organizations for over 15 years. She is featured in two stuttering documentaries, Spit It Out (2004) and Right Here, Right Now (PBS, 2000).  She is an adviser to StutterTalk and author of the chapter Substance Abuse and Stuttering in the book Stuttering: Inspiring Stories and Professional Wisdom.  Nora is a graduate of the Successful Stuttering Management Program (SSMP) at Eastern Washington University, and has returned to the SSMP frequently to provide her experience and expertise.  Nora facilitates counseling groups, in her private practice, for kids, teens and adults who stutter.  She is committed to treating the emotional response to stuttering.  Nora earned her Master’s in Social Work from San Francisco State University.  She holds additional training in addiction studies, trauma interventions, motivational engagement and walk & talk therapy.  You can learn more about her practice at  www.center4betterliving.com
Jeff ShamesJeff Shames:  I have been a part of the self-help world of people who stutter for nearly 25 years; first with the National Stuttering Project and Speak Easy in New Jersey. I met Elizabeth Kapstein in 1994, and we co-founded the Manhattan Stuttering Group. I have attended numerous conferences of the NSP/NSA and Friends.

In 1995 I began production on the documentary, “Spit It Out.” The process of making the film gave me new perspectives about stuttering and other parts of my life. “Spit It Out” was completed in 2004.

I had begun working in the nonprofit world.  In those years Michael Sugarman, Elizabeth Mendez and other social workers who stutter helped me find my way. I later went back to school and received my MSW from NYU in 2007. I work as a psychotherapist in New York City, where I live with my wife, Elisa DeCarlo.

sugarmanMichael Sugarman.  Honored by American Speech and Hearing Association, International Fluency Association, National Stuttering Association, International Stuttering Association and Stutterers Hall of Fame. Wrote “Peer Counseling and Self Help Group Facilitation for People who Stutter” and “Self Help Workbook for People who Stutter” and various articles on how people change and peer activities.
gina nNina G:  By night Nina G is a comedian performing at comedy clubs, keynote speaker and children’s author of Once Upon an Accommodation: A Book About Learning Disabilities.  By day she is a counselor at a community college where she works with students with disabilities.  In 2015 she premiered her one person show,Going Beyond Inspirational, and produced the first ever comedy compilation album of all comedians with disability aptly titled Disabled Comedy Only.  Be on the look out for the release of her Tedx video, Be an Every Day Ally.  Learn more about Nina G at www.NinaGcomedian.com.

Dr. Gina Davis is a clinical psychologist who stutters. She has a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This forum provides an interactive, open conversation with a collective of Mental Health Professionals coming together to discuss ways to think about the role of mental health therapy and practitioners in the stuttering community.  The focus will be on how we understand and improve our connections with ourselves, partners, family, siblings, parents, friends, work colleagues, and/or children.

We will focus on;

  1. Understanding yourself, others, and community through the lens of mental health
  2. How you work with your partners/members who do/do not stutter
  3. Communicate better and strengthen your closeness and connection

Themes will be used in this forum throughout the conference.  Each day we will start a discussion topic, linked below.  Please tell us your thoughts, experiences and questions.

To interact in this forum, you must be logged in.  Select any of the blog links below, where you can read the topic for that day and interact with the experts using the ‘comments’ feature.  Your comment will need to be approved, which might take a couple of hours before it appears in that page.  Please keep your comments and questions in context of the discussion topic for that specific post.
More importantly, we hope you enjoy the forum!

716 total views, 3 views today

Throwback Thursdays: Photos, essays, poems, videos and words of memories from our stuttering past

International Stuttering Awareness Day (October 22) began in 1998, spear-headed by Michael Sugarman, Oakland, California. ISAD recognizes the growing alliance between speech-language professionals and consumers, who are learning from each other and working together to share, give support, and educate … Continue reading

213 total views, no views today

Wednesday Words: Working with the words of therapy around self-worth, self-esteem, traumatic experiences, depressive thinking, daily struggles, life transitions, career development, stuck patterns, and negative/positive thought cycles

The “D” Word Recently I learned that the number of college students with speech based disabilities seeking Accommodations* in college has decreased. My guess is that it isn’t because of the lack of the need for accommodations or because they … Continue reading

286 total views, no views today

Tuesday Transformations: Words, essays, poems, videos (Ted Talks), and photos of expression of our personal/professional transformations as a stutterer, mental health professional, and the merge of the together

Adults need recess time too! As a kid I loved to make things and play. I spent hours making house, building towns, making food, towns, and fun. Just the idea of “play” makes me smile. What does play do? It … Continue reading

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Monday’s Modalities: discussion of therapeutic modalities we use, are interested in, wonder about, and work with. New concept – Lessons Learned. Tie in with the experience being a therapist with a stutter, and the merge of SLP and mental health therapies

Isolated thoughts about being a psychotherapist who is also a person who stutters I tell some clients that I am a stutterer. As in life, I have never worked out exactly how and when to do so. The topic usually … Continue reading

289 total views, no views today

Weekend Wrap-ups: Bringing together all of our thoughts into how we view ourselves as therapists, our contributions to the professional mental health and speech language world

Reframing the Stuttering Iceberg As a mental health counselor who stutters, I believe I have insights that I don’t always see represented in counseling theories that are supposed to describe the stuttering experience. I have always found Dr. Joseph Sheehan’s description … Continue reading

264 total views, no views today

Wednesday Words: Working with the words of therapy around self-worth, self-esteem, traumatic experiences, depressive thinking, daily struggles, life transitions, career development, stuck patterns, and negative/positive thought cycles

Self-Regulation and Balance We are often walking through experiences that bring up self-doubt and anxiety. Conceptualize experiences with anxiety and self-doubt where our Self-Regulation and Balance have been at their highest and lowest. Walking along the line of “overwhelm” shows … Continue reading

213 total views, no views today

Tuesday Transformations: Words, essays, poems, videos (Ted Talks), and photos of expression of our personal/professional transformations as a stutterer, mental health professional, and the merge of the together

Nick Weaver is a proud person who stutters who is a part of the Delta Blue Jean Company. This summer Nick was the keynote speaker at the conference of Friends: the National Organization for Young People Who Stutter in Raleigh, … Continue reading

241 total views, no views today

Monday’s Modalities: discussion of therapeutic modalities we use, are interested in, wonder about, and work with. New concept – Lessons Learned. Tie in with the experience being a therapist with a stutter, and the merge of SLP and Mental Health therapies

The Monday Modalities post for today is an excerpt from another ISAD 2015 paper.  Loryn McGill, MS CCC-SLP and Nora O’Connor, LCSW wrote Self Advocacy; How to Help without Hindering.  This is an example of how a Speech Language Pathologist … Continue reading

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Weekend Wrap-ups: Bringing together all of our thoughts into how we view ourselves as therapists, our contributions to the professional mental health and speech language world

Weekend update: review and share your observations concerning Mental Health Professionals and PWS/SLP’s. Let’s try something different. Go to Ted Talks psychologist Kelley McGonigal’s “How to make stress your friend” (https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en). And share your thoughts. All the best Michael Weekend, … Continue reading

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Family & Friend Fridays: Views of the integration of family and/or friends into our stuttering and therapist lives

The integration of the personal self and professional self continues to be an amazing journey.    I have several friends who stutter who are also social workers and psychotherapists.  As I have grown both personally and professionally I have increased interest … Continue reading

253 total views, no views today

Throwback Thursdays: Photos, essays, poems, videos and words of memories from our stuttering past

These photographs for Throwback Thursday are from the Manhattan Stuttering Group’s 10th Anniversary Party in the Fall of 2004. Elizabeth Kapstein and I co-founded the chapter in 1994. The early chapter meetings were held at Elizabeth’s apartment in the East … Continue reading

253 total views, no views today

Wednesday Words: Working with the words of therapy around self-worth, self-esteem, traumatic experiences, depressive thinking, daily struggles, life transitions, career development, stuck patterns, and negative/positive thought cycles

Authenticity The concept of authenticity in relation to stuttering is one that I often encounter in my own experience with stuttering and with other PWS. When asked, most people would tell you that they want to lead an “authentic” life, … Continue reading

335 total views, no views today

Tuesday Transformations: Words, essays, poems, videos (Ted Talks), and photos of expression of our personal/professional transformations as a stutterer, mental health professional, and the merge of the together

People who stutter often struggle with self-confidence, which then has an impact on how they live in the world.  As a psychotherapist who stutters I have both dealt with my own self-confidence issues and have the pleasure of guiding people … Continue reading

225 total views, no views today

Monday’s Modalities: discussion of therapeutic modalities we use, are interested in, wonder about, and work with. New concept – Lessons Learned. Tie in with the experience being a therapist with a stutter, and the merge of SLP and mental health therapies

Trauma Freeze & Thaw: Trauma is stored in the right side of the brain. When it is activated it freezes the integrative processes of the brain. Information becomes stored in fragmented forms on the right side. Sometimes as stutterers we … Continue reading

210 total views, no views today

Weekend Wrap-ups: Bringing together all of our thoughts into how we view ourselves as therapists, our contributions to the professional mental health and speech language world

Go online to the and take a look at Wall Street Journal “Mental-Health Apps Make Inroads with Consumers and Therapists” (http://www.wsj.com/articles/mental-health-apps-make-inroads-with-consumers-and-therapists-1443407477) Let’s discuss possible applications for People Who Stutter and Mental Health Professionals (MHP), as well as review 2-days of … Continue reading

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