|About the Author: After 35 years I have retired with Master Business Administration & Master Social Work Degrees – Director of Social Services; facilitated support group and provided counseling to parents, family members, partners, and patients with Cancer, AIDS, Anxiety and Depression. Trained and worked at Stanford Medical Center, Humana Hospital and Alameda Health System. Attended International and National conferences for Disability, Cancer, AIDS and Stuttering. Former Executive Director National Stuttering Association (NSA0 1978 – 1982 and 1995 – 1997. Former Chair of the International Stuttering Association and the Consumer Affairs Division for the International Fluency Association. Honored by the American Speech and Hearing Association, International Fluency Association and the National Stuttering Association.|
This paper is an example of speaking my mind to suggest that Mental Health Professionals be involved to address mental health issues with Speech Language Pathologists in treatment for People Who Stutter (PWS).
Title: Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) working with Mental Health Professional (MHP) with People Who Stutter (PWS) for better therapy outcomes
Imagine trying to order a hamburger while stumbling and hesitating over the first syllable. The waitress is waiting and finally you give up and order a cheeseburger—only because its easier to say. For millions of PWS this is a shared experience, one of the many that can lead to a sense of futility and retreat from social activity.
Peer and Professional Support Group
Peer support refers to PWS helping each other by listening, sharing common experiences, exploring options and empathy. PWS can provide peer counseling in a variety of settings including one-to-one or peer support group. Peer support groups are not meant to replace professional led groups. Peer and Professional led support groups provide a setting for PWS to address: “we are not alone” (Peer and Professional), acceptance (Peer and Professional), and coping and management of psychosocial issues and fluency (Professional). By the 1990s, MHP respected the distinction between peer and professional led groups.
Addressing Fluency and Mental Health issues
Nina G. PsyD “Stutterer Interrupted: The Making of a Stuttering Stand Up Comedian” Soon to be published. Nina G. updated Dr. Sheehan’s iceberg analogy: (Referenced in her book)
Dr. Sheehan’s: Isolation, Fear, Hopelessness, Shame, Denial, Anxiety, and Guilt
Nina G.: Acceptance, Pride, Kindness, Community, Comfort, Courage, and Hope.
In addition, MHPs and SLPs may deal with other issues in therapy: education, fluency, employment, self-advocacy, civil rights, stigma, relationships, empowerment, change, love; “I stutter” and “Person who Stutters.”
MHP (licensed psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, licensed marriage family therapist) incorporate skills to navigate and manage a variety of mental health concerns. As well, SLPs are equipped to assist PWS in speech/fluency with mindfulness techniques along with Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Vivian Siskin’s Avoidance Reduction Therapy for Stuttering or Motivational Therapy. SLP’s can decide to integrate a Licensed MHP for individual therapy or support group facilitation.
Future is Now
There is a history of treating PWS by a MHP with a SLP. For example, Dr. Joseph Sheehan was a psychologist working with his wife Vivian Sheehan SLP in individual therapy and support group therapy setting.
I would encourage SLP’s to consider working together with a MHP to address mental health and fluency issues
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