The importance of mindful self-compassion for stuttering (and life) (Dan Hudock, Chad Yates, Xiaomeng Xu, Rebecca Chidester, Karissa Colbrunn, Kristin Yates, Paige Newland)

About the authors:

Dan Hudock, Ph.D., Certificate of Clinical Competence of Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP), is an Associate Professor at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho, USA. As a person who stutters himself, he is very passionate about fluency disorders and helping those with fluency disorders. One aspect of his research interests is in exploring effective collaborations between Speech-Language Pathologists and Mental Health Professionals for the treatment of people who stutter. He is also Director of the Northwest Center for Fluency Disorders, which hosts a two-week interprofessional intensive clinic that uses Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). For more information about research, clinical, or support opportunities please visit http://www.northwestfluency.org/ .

Chad M. Yates, Ph.D., Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), is an Assistant Professor in the Idaho State University’s Department of Counseling. At ISU Chad teaches group counseling, basic counseling skills, addictions, and assessment and research procedures. Chad’s counseling experience includes working with individuals with substance abuse disorders, batterers and survivors of domestic violence, families, and as a generalist treating many diverse client concerns. Chad has served as the mental health coordinator for the Northwest Center for Fluency Disorders at ISU over several years. He has helped to develop the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) manuals and procedures for clients and clinicians at the clinic and supervises the counselors providing ACT.

Xiaomeng (Mona) Xu, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Experimental Psychology at Idaho State University.  Mona’s research and teaching focuses on social psychology (especially romantic relationships), behavioral health, and neuroimaging. She collaborates with the Northwest Center for Fluency Disorders at ISU on research investigating psychosocial factors in people who stutter and people with communication disorders as well as the role of psychosocial variables in treatment (e.g., the quality of relationships among clients, between clients and clinicians, and between clinicians and supervisors). She has also led presentations, discussions, and activities on social and romantic relationships in the clinic.
Rebecca Chidester, M.Ed., LPS-S, is a school-based counselor in Idaho Falls, Idaho. As a public school employee, Rebecca is passionate about interprofessional collaboration with other employees in the field to provide comprehensive services that will enhance the holistic well-being of her students She has participated Northwest Center for Fluency Disorders Interprofessional Intensive Stuttering Clinic since its beginning four years ago – first as a counselor and most recently as a counseling supervisor.  She is both a practitioner and proponent on mindful self-compassion and loves nothing more than watching her clients learning to encounter themselves with compassion.
Karissa Colbrunn, M.S., CF-SLP is a school-based Speech-Language pathologist in Pocatello, Idaho. She is passionate about merging the values of the stuttering community with the field of Speech-Language Pathology. She considers herself a lifelong learner whose research interests, while based around stuttering, are continuously growing and developing alongside her own personal journey.
Kristin Stewart Yates Ph.D LCPC-S graduated from Kent State University with a doctorate in Counseling Education and Supervision.  She is currently working as a licensed clinical professional counselor at ISU Counseling and Testing Service.  Kristin specializes in mindfulness based approaches in her clinical practice as well as teaches mindfulness classes through Health Education.  Kristin has also has been trained in Mindful Self Compassion and implements this in her teaching, clinical practice, and personal life.
Paige Newland is second year graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology at Idaho State University. She is Dr. Hudock’s Graduate Teaching Assistant and is currently doing a thesis with him using high-density Electroencephalography (EEG) to examine neural time-frequency aspects of sensorimotor processing in people who stutter and fluent speakers. She was a student clinician at the 2017 Northwest Center for Fluency Disorders Interprofessional Intensive Stuttering Clinic (NWCFD-IISC), which uses mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to target the psycho-social-emotional aspects of stuttering and since has developed a growing interest in mindfulness, ACT, and fluency disorders. She’s originally from Minnesota but grew up in rural Montana and has recently made Idaho her home. She loves doing anything that has to do with adventures and being outside, so she is in a great area to do those kinds of things!

The theme for this year’s International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD) online conference is “A World that Understands Stuttering”. As people who stutter (PWS) have likely experienced many negative consequences from a world that does not understanding stuttering, it is our hope and desire to eventually create a world that does truly understand stuttering and ourselves as individuals. However, to get to the point of helping create a world that truly understands stuttering, we as individuals must first better understand ourselves. By better understanding ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions, and our behaviors we can change how the world see us, by changing how we see, and portray, ourselves. For example, there are well over 1,000 published studies regarding stereotypes that people from across the world, including PWS themselves, hold towards stuttering and those who stutter. It is frequently found that PWS are stereotyped as being more tense, anxious, shy, and withdrawn than their fluent peers and that repeated exposure to people who hold these beliefs increases self-stigmatization (PWS themselves believing more strongly that these stereotypes are true) (St. Louis, 2015). Increased self-stigma then leads PWS to use more behaviors that align with these stereotyped beliefs (e.g., avoiding eye-contact, displaying signs of shame and guilt for one’s stuttering, or not participating socially), which in turn cycles over and over in a vicious circle (one thought or behavior strengthening the belief in the stereotype). Use of mindful self-compassion can help break this cycle and can help us bring our non-judgmental awareness to our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Once we gain increased awareness about these aspects, we can then alter our adherence to these beliefs and start portraying ourselves differently to others. Regardless of the negative stories that we tell ourselves, or the emotions that we feel about communicating, we can allow ourselves to connect to those thoughts and emotions and then choose to move forward how we desire to not being controlled by such beliefs. We can lean into the discomfort, mindfully connect to the emotion and experience, and portray ourselves as easy-going, confident, open, and social people, which will in turn start breaking the stereotypes that others and the world have toward stuttering. But again, before we can change how the world sees us, we must take the first step in changing how we see ourselves, which can be done using mindful self-compassion.

As many of the people reading this article are likely to intuitively understand, stuttering or being someone who stutters, is not easy. The lives of PWS may often be filled with negative self-perceptions, self-doubt, self-judgment, and rumination about what may be perceived as failed attempts at communication, or negative reactions that have been experienced because of stuttering. These experiences may even limit deep connection with others, or create feelings of not being understood or accepted. PWS may tell themselves stories, fully believing that they aren’t good communicators and don’t have the same rights or value as other people. Experiences with stuttering, and life, shape perceptions, identities, and worldviews, so it isn’t surprising that they may feel that the world doesn’t understand stuttering, or them, individually, as PWS. Or they may feel constantly out of place within a world full of fluent speakers. This article is about how mindful self-compassion can help us better understand ourselves, our thoughts, and our emotions and how that increased self-understanding may help others to better understand us and help the world better understand stuttering.

People who stutter may become entirely entrenched in perceptions or beliefs, that they have to survive from day to day, not truly being understood, connecting with others, or needing to isolate themselves from others. For example, the fear associated with stuttering may be so severe that individuals don’t interact socially with others to the extent that they think they should. Going up to a stranger to ask them a question or raising a hand to participate in class may seem completely impossible. Making a telephone call and running the risk of being hung up on or experiencing the dreaded, “I think we have a poor connection” statement. Dan’s thought: “You’re telling me that we have a poor connection, try living my life as someone who stutters!”

The fear of failures or anticipated rejections may consume every waking thought of the day. The moment of stuttering itself is not much better! Heightened anxiety experienced during the moment of stuttering is often described analogous to the level of fear experienced while almost downing. PWS routinely experience time standing still, being frozen in that moment, or believing everyone around is judging them. They may momentarily escape seeing what they perceive as a reflection of shame and guilt portrayed on the faces of their listeners due to their stuttering by looking away or avoiding stuttering by switching words, talking around what they truly intend on saying, and using secondary behaviors to get unstuck in that moment of survival… but are the consequences experienced after that “successful battle” worth it? After the conversation is over PWS may mentally beat themselves up about feeling that they stuttered “badly”, or the inverse that they tricked the person into believing that they were a fluent speaker. They may find themselves ruminating on all the ways they failed and messed up during the situation for hours, days, weeks, or months. For example, Dan recalls this personal experience from a few years ago:

“I was introducing myself to a new class of graduate Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) students at Idaho State University during an initial orientation and stuttered while saying my name, which is not uncommon for me! Though I don’t remember stuttering long or severely while saying my name, many of the students presumably thought I was joking, and proceeded to laugh. I had a very hard time with this and cognitively beat myself up about it for a few months after the fact (e.g., I should have pseudostuttered, I should have used techniques more, I should have…). I spent a lot of time and energy dwelling on the past and letting it affect how I anticipated my future to occur. I wasn’t letting myself enjoy the present because I was so worried about the past and the future.”

So again, stuttering isn’t easy. We as humans spend much of our time ruminating over past events or worrying about the future because of past experiences, often setting very unrealistic expectations for ourselves. That’s where mindful self-compassion comes into play. Practicing mindful self-compassion can help allow people experience stuttering, and communication, differently by reducing the negative impacts that it has on them. This may allow for deeper connections in more meaningful ways with others and changing how people understand stuttering. In order to get to a world that truly understands stuttering, one of the first steps that should taken is an internal self-reflection via mindful self-compassion.

Mindful self-compassion has seen a recent re-emergence in mental-health fields. As a practice, mindful self-compassion is comprised of three key elements: mindfulness, self-kindness, and common humanity. Each of these elements plays a role in the practice of retraining and redirecting our attention from the negative stories that we tell ourselves and connecting more fully with what is currently happening in the physical world that we are experiencing at that moment. Mindfulness has been conceptualized as a bird with two wings – awareness and non-judgement. In practicing mindful self-compassion, we must not only learn to connect with our present moment, but to do so without self-judgement and self-criticism. As an example, using the Defusion principle of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), we can acknowledge “I notice that I’m having the thought that…”, thereby allowing ourselves to accept that we are having the thought and connecting to it instead of suppressing, running away from, trying to change, or judging ourselves for having the thought or emotion; we can connect to it in a non-judgmental way. This helps us reduce our fusion to the belief, thought, or emotion, thereby making it easier to move forward with our lives and decisions.

Repeatedly drawing our non-judgmental mindful attention to our experiences in this way helps us more easily recognize the stories that we often tell ourselves that shape our beliefs. The act of mindfulness, or present moment awareness, is not sustaining attention to the non-existent blank slate in our heads, but is rather the ability to redirect our attention from our many streams of consciousness to something else (and something useful). By focusing on the sensation of breathing (how the air physically feels entering and leaving our nose or mouth, or how our chest and abdomen move while we inhale and exhale) we reconnect to the physical world at that moment. We are finally able to experience the moment in which we physically spend all of our time, the present. Connecting to the present moment helps train us to be able to redirect our attention and connect to an emotion, thought, or physical sensation in a different non-judging way. This practice requires us to pay conscious attention to how we are experiencing life and the barrage of our never-ending internal monologue, which has its challenges. Mindfulness allows us to connect to the present moment, in the previous example through conscious attention to physical sensation, but this requires us to be in our heads redirecting our attention. You may say, WAIT, didn’t you just write that you want us to get out of our heads, to connect to the physical world at that moment in time, and now you are saying I should be in my head… This is the paradox of mindfulness.

We often spend much of the time judging ourselves when we are in our heads, but a way to reduce that is to be in our heads in a different way with more directive meaningful attention. This is one of the areas where self-compassion comes into play. We as humans mostly believe that people are worthwhile and are inherently good. We believe that people should be loved and should experience love. As PWS may yearn for this also but may notice their minds telling themselves a different, incongruent, story. If we believe in the goodness of people and that we, as humans, should experience love, why don’t we often allow ourselves to express that love and compassion internally? It is often easier for us to direct the love and self-compassion to others, but have a much more difficult time directing it to ourselves. Self-compassion is directing the empathic, supportive, and positive regard we have for others inwards, extending to ourselves the generosity and friendliness that we often provide to others. It is encountering ourselves in our difficult and disappointing moments with the same kindness that we would offer a beloved child who had just scraped their knee. Having that self-compassion allows disengagement from the anxious rumination that may surround stuttering or perceptions of how speech is being received.  Self-compassion also helps us not beat ourselves up when we struggle, provides us with validation for our feelings (whether they are positive or negative), and encourages us to try to enjoy the present moment as it is. It allows us to strive towards a future that we want, even if this may involve doing things that we find scary. For PWS that may include: introducing themselves to strangers or deepening their connections with important people in their lives, perhaps even talking about experiences and challenges with stuttering and life.

Mindful self-compassion can help us, as PWS or humans in general, connect more meaningfully to our beliefs, thoughts, and emotions in a different, more intentional, way. In this experience we call life, things may not always be good and we may not always be happy, in contradiction to the stories we tell ourselves about the society – and that’s okay. Knowing that we don’t always have to be happy, nor do we have to constantly chase the illusion of happiness, may provide us relief from self-judgment and unrealistic expectations. Humans have a wide range of emotions that have evolved for different purposes. When we are sad, it helps us grieve and feel connected to and supported by others. If we don’t allow ourselves to feel sadness, or other emotions, it suppresses the degree of happiness we experience and may have us feeling isolated and not well understood. By practicing non-judgmental mindful self-compassion we can allow ourselves to connect to the experience of fear in a different way and then decide what behaviors and actions to do from there, regardless of the presence of doubt, fear, or anxiety. We may choose to connect with and lean into the emotion or sharing something vulnerable about ourselves. We can start to form a more objective sense of reality by understanding what stories we are telling ourselves, connecting to our emotions, and knowing that not every story we tell ourselves is in fact true in a black and white sense; exploring that there may be other alternative explanations that we didn’t think of. For example, a story in a group from a perspective of someone who stutters could be “People in the group aren’t making eye contact with me because they’re uncomfortable with my stutter”, when another possibility could be that the group members weren’t looking at the PWS because they weren’t the one speaking at that moment, and it has nothing to do with their stuttering at all. Doing these intentional mindful practices not only help decrease our fusion to the beliefs, thoughts, and elicited emotions, but also helps reduce the sensation of the emotion and experience itself.

Another way to connect to the moment is through a practice known as grounding, where we connect to the physical world tactically – focusing on touch, pressure, texture,  etc. of items you are physically connected to or the ways in which your body connects to the space around you. Grounding can also occur mentally as we focus our brains on tasks like naming as many items as we can think of from a specific category or naming all of the items in our physical environment from a specific category – for example, all of the colors that are in the room. When engaging in this practice, while redirecting attention from the anxiety or self-judgment, to focusing on touch, it is very difficult to focus on the anxiety or judgment. This practice also helps decrease rumination of perceived failures after communication exchanges. By experiencing communication, or the present moment, differently with more intention we allow more connection to ourselves and others. Mindful self-compassion can help us better understand ourselves, our emotions, thoughts, and beliefs, which will allow us to connect more fully with others. Our understanding guides our actions, which therefore changes how others understand us. Let’s better understand ourselves, so we can help others, and the world, better understand stuttering.

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Comments

The importance of mindful self-compassion for stuttering (and life) (Dan Hudock, Chad Yates, Xiaomeng Xu, Rebecca Chidester, Karissa Colbrunn, Kristin Yates, Paige Newland) — 29 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed reading this piece! The tips about grounding are especially helpful; I wish I had practiced grounding during a recent pseudostuttering assignment. While pseudostuttering, both over the phone and in person, I found myself intensely over-analyzing each situation. I tried to rehearse the conversation I’d have and be frantic if I got any unexpected questions or comments during the real exchange. I think that practicing grounding would have helped alleviate some of the social anxiety I was feeling by bringing my mind to the attention of items I was physically connected to. I can definitely see myself teaching grounding skills as a practicing speech-language pathologist with all different types of clients.

    • Thanks Lindsey. The pressures experienced during situations of having fluent speakers pseudostutter are very real and can be helped through grounding and other mindful practices. As it sounds like you gained an understanding of, they provide valuable insight into what it’s like to live with a stutter. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  2. I love the comments about mindful self-compassion. Generally speaking, I think people are terrible at it. On several occasions, I have prompted kids and adults to use the “friend-test.” What would you say to a friend if they were having the same problem? People are much harder on themselves than on others. Doing the friend test helps give a little perspective.

    Your description of grounding is also clear and straightforward. I see how it may be beneficial in many of life’s contexts. I plan to look into it further. Nice work!

    • Thanks Tricia! How true. We often do a similar procedure of having clients / people bring a childhood picture of themselves to allow them to be compassionate to themselves (albeit at a younger age).

      Appreciate it!

  3. I really enjoyed reading this piece, and as a speech-language pathology graduate student, I am looking forward to using these techniques with future clients. I also agree that these techniques would be extremely useful for the general population. How can PWS and clinicians become more well-versed in the practice of mindfulness? Can you recommend any training materials or courses that can instruct others on how to best incorporate mindfulness into stuttering therapy? Thank you!

    • Wonderful, glad to hear it. There are a few of us that have presentations at ASHA every year about this topic, and the stuttering foundation has some materials indirectly related to this, but popular self-help books are great resources. I highly recommend some of Russ Harris’s books on ACT, mindfulness, etc. They tend to be very easy to read and are full of great information. There are also books for mindfulness and kids up through advanced studies of mindfulness in adult populations.

      Scott Palasik and Janet Beilby have some good articles on it too.

      Cheers,

  4. I really enjoyed reading this! I am in my first semester of graduate school, and I am learning lots of new information about stuttering. I especially appreciated the paragraph that mentioned exposure to people who believe PWS are tense, anxious, shy, and withdrawn can increase the self-stigmatization of PWS. I’ve never thought about the fact that PWS can form negative beliefs about themselves based on how others stereotype them. This encourages me to be more of an advocate for PWS so that they can form their own beliefs about themselves without the negative influence of those who stereotype.

    • Thanks Shelby. Mindfulness and self-compassion are also so important for humans in general and especially for healthcare professionals. We recommend such practices to all of our students. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I thought this paper was very insightful! I have never heard of mindful self-compassion before, and I really think it could help PWS get through stressful situations and focus more on the physical moment instead of the negative feelings they might have. I think it it true that often we are our own toughest critic. Reminding others to be empathetic and supportive towards themselves in a moment of distress could make all the difference in how they move forward in life. I am interested in trying this technique with potential clients as a future speech-language pathologist!

  6. I really appreciated the information presented in this article. I am currently in a fluency disorders course, and I think this information will be very useful as I continue in the class and in the future when I am a clinician. I thought this approach could be very useful for therapy with a person who stutters, especially when taking into consideration that the goal of therapy is not merely increasing the fluency of speech, but also improving communication skills and speaker autonomy. By practicing mindful self-compassion, I think that these therapy goals could be attained. I was wondering if this approach has been shown to be effective for different types of stuttering such as developmental, neurogenic, and psychogenic, or if it has had more success with a particular variety of stuttering?

    • Thanks for your comments Jordan. It is very empowering to experience stuttering and communication in general, differently, with much less self-judgment and lower levels of anxiety. It makes effective use of strategizes in generalized situations much more manageable. There aren’t many academic peer-reviewed publications on this and the ones out there are mainly opinion, therapy considerations, pieces. It is nearly always hard to find participants for cohort-style studies etc, and since neurogenic and psychogenic stuttering are at much lower incidence rates it would be very difficult to get enough participants from each of those subgroups.

  7. Very insightful article! As a second-year graduate student, I feel I am gaining a whole new perspective on stuttering. An outsider only sees the stuttering itself as a difficulty, but in reality, there is a whole added dimension beneath the surface that includes all the tension, anxiety, and negative perceptions of a PWS. The concepts presented in this article seem to be effective in addressing these difficulties, dealing with what are probably the biggest challenges for PWS. I’d love to know if there are specific exercises that can be performed by a PWS during a conversation to reduce anxiety and associated behaviors in the moment. Also, is there a way to access studies on the implementation of these techniques and their effectiveness? Thank you!

    • Thanks for your comments. Some of our previous ISAD presentations and ASHA presentations have went into those specific topics. Grounding are great ones for utility during conversations, and as introductions to them it’s commonly recommended to use multiple senses (the raisin exercise is a common one that you could Google). Present moment awareness redirecting our attention from the stories going on in our heads to the physical world (focus on the breath, or experiencing anxiety with directed attention to the physical aspects of it is also helpful). There are many useful books that present easy access to the practice and strategies. There are also likely many local Sanga’s (mindfulness centers) that can help build foundations on these aspects. Please see the comment directly above for the publications on it comment.

      Best

  8. This was awesome. I truly enjoyed this perspective of taking a step back from the emotions, observing those emotions, accepting them, and moving forward. As dynamic people we need to find the love that we have for others within ourselves. The examples you gave regarding mindfulness and grounding seem solid. I like how they allow a person to hang their thoughts, emotions, and reality to be observed and absorbed. I’m curious if there has been any research regarding yoga or meditation and fluency. Not specifically during dysfluency but outside communication as a prepatory tool? Thanks for the rad read.

  9. I love the idea of helping clients learn to sort through negative thoughts and self-judgments since this aspect appears to be as important, if not more, than addressing the fluency of speech itself. Throughout my life I have always “overthought” situations or past mistakes (just happened yesterday in fact) and worried about how others would perceive me and what I could’ve done differently. I find it easier now to overcome negative self-talk than when I was younger and I hope I will be able to use these experiences to help others. Great article!

  10. I’ve enjoyed reading this article and your responses to comments! I’m a second year graduate student currently taking a fluency disorders class. I found your explanation of mindful self compassion and examples of grounding to be very helpful. I see how grounding could be beneficial for PWS, but I’m curious if you’ve used this strategy with children who stutter. Do you think CWS would benefit from grounding techniques? How would you introduce the concept of grounding/mindful self compassion to a child? Thanks!

  11. Hello,

    I am a 2nd year graduate student at the University of MN Duluth. I am currently taking a course titled Advanced Fluency Disorders. This paper has provided some interesting insight into treating the emotional and cognitive aspect of stutter. While reading, there were a few questions that popped in my head. They are:

    1. What are some examples of grounding techniques?

    2. What are some intentional mindful practices that can be used while working with young children who stutter?

  12. Hi,
    I am am a speech pathology grad student at Touro College.
    I really enjoyed reading your article about self-compassion and stuttering.
    Everyone, especially PWS, must practice self-compassion, specifically self-kindness.
    I was just wondering; how exactly would you teach a client self-kindness? Would you explain to them the concept, or would you conduct an activity with them?

  13. Thank you for your article–I support combination of SLP and mental health professionals–In my work I employ Transpersonal Therapy during my sessions with clients–Hope to hear more from you–kindly Michael

  14. Hi Dan,

    My name is Marissa Pardini and I am a graduate student studying speech-language pathology at Appalachian State. I absolutely loved your article and found your perspective on mindfulness very interesting. I have used mindfulness before when working with children with ADHD and other behavior disorders; however, your mindful self-compassion technique is much different.

    How would you implement this concept in therapy? What would their goals be for this type of activity and how might you track progress?

    Thanks for your time!
    Marissa Pardini

  15. Thank you for this insightful piece on mindful self-compassion. Reading this article has expanded my knowledge and understanding in terms of how to shift an individual’s mindset/perspective to gain a more objective sense of reality and oneself. I personally feel that I can apply mindful self-compassion to my own life since I often find myself overthinking/ replaying negative situations. I think that this would be particularly beneficial for PWS to connect to their emotions and the moment, possibly through way such as grounding.

    As a second-year speech-language pathology graduate student, I am interested in learning about different approaches and ways to help and serve clients. I have a few questions in regard to incorporating mindful self-compassion into treatment and intervention. Are there simple activities recommended to introduce this concept to clients? Should it be introduced and practiced on its own or can it be paired with other approaches? Although mindful self-compassion appears to be beneficial for all individuals, has there been a trend of who (in terms of personality type, stress level, temperament, etc.) may be more receptive or may demonstrate more benefits?

    Thank you!

    Mylene Yang

  16. Hi Dan,

    I am a 2nd year graduate student at the University of Minnesota – Duluth. Thank you for this insightful article! I am currently taking an advanced Fluency Disorders course and learning more and more about the emotional and personal sides to being a PWS, not just the behavioral aspects of it. It was interesting to read about the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and I was wondering if this is an approach that SLPs are able to use with our own fluency clients or if the approach needs to be provided by a counselor? Thank you for your article and sharing your own personal stories!

    Ali

  17. Hello, My name is Elena, I am a student in the University of Redlands ComDis grad program. Similarly to the question mrskulpSLP asked, is meditation typically a component of mindful self-compassion? I was wondering if the act of meditating aids in one’s ability incorporate this type of mindfulness into daily life. As someone who meditates daily, I have found it much easier to recognize self-judgmental thoughts in the moment. For me, this has not been an easy skill to acquire.

    Additionally, are there studies that link stuttering and meditation/mindfulness out there?

    Thank you so much for the moving article.
    Elena

  18. I think mindfulness is so important, especially as I learn more about it. What is the best way to introduce these practices? Do you just find time to be in the present and go from there? Did you find that it took/takes a lot of practice? Am I overthinking it? (quite likely…)
    Thank you for this article and sharing your experiences!

  19. Hello! Thanks for posting your insightful paper. It’s exciting to read your submission; another contributor, Michael Sugarman also posted a paper with a similar theme entitled, “Exploring Mindfulness Stuttering Language”. I like that not only are you presenting mindfulness as a tool to allow a PWS to observe his/her inner dialogue without judgement, but also proposing that mindfulness can create a platform from which to retrain the brain’s neural pathways. Habitual thoughts, whether positive or negative, are what form the grooves of our personal constructs. It’s exciting to think that mindfulness has the power to suspend reactionary, automatic thinking so that one can get a little neutral space from which to observe the storm of negative thinking and regain some control. Have there been any studies done on mindfulness as a therapeutic tool in stuttering intervention? It seems that mindfulness comes from an Eastern practice of meditation – do you think stuttering is therefore more prevalent in the Western world? Could there be some kind of cultural influence on fluency?

  20. Thank you for the article! I think that mindfulness is something we should talk about more often. Mental health is something we often don’t spend enough time on. I have found that mindfulness has been really helpful when it comes to coping with negative thoughts. After being introduced to the book “The Happiness Trap” this summer, I learned that mindfulness is also a great tool for dealing with stressful situations. As a second year graduate student, I am going to continue to let clients know about mindfulness and grounding techniques as well as stress the importance of mindful self-compassion.

  21. Thanks you all for this important article. I learned Mindfulness when things were rough in my life and it has been my guide ever since. Many people it’s all about relaxation, being in the moment, taking a deep breath. To me it’s so much more. SOAL is my life lesson. STOP the struggle, the thoughts, the fight. OBSERVE what has made me feel or think that way. ACT, do something about it, or ACCEPT the fact that I can’t/won’t. And LET GO and move on. It has helped me with my stutter, in daily life, when I got a serious illness and I try to make people aware of this great tool.

    I truly with more SLPs would work with Mindfulness, and NLP.

    Keep talking!

    Anita S. Blom, Sweden