Difficulties for the SLP

Hello, my name is Tiffanie Radwanski. I am a 1st year college student and I intend to become an SLP. I have a question. As a professional, what are some of the most difficult aspects of your job while treating a PWS? Thank you so much, looking forward to hearing back!

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Difficulties for the SLP — 2 Comments

  1. Tiffanie,

    HI! Thank you for being an advocate for your education by asking questions and learning more!

    I’m going to answer this questions as an SLP and a PWS. The answer might be the same. one challenging thing (for me this is not seen as a “difficult” but a challenge sometimes) is that the nature of stuttering is its variability. This is not a bad thing, it is what makes helping PWS interesting, new, and fun. However, this is a challenge that can be met with curiosity and wonder. Just like people who hike or climb mountains, play sports, will tell you no trail, mountain side, or team is the same, no PWS is the same. That makes it our job (as SLPs and future SLPs) to make sure we are doing person centered/focused help.

    There is not a cookie cutter treatment plan. We first can take the time to know the people we are helping in order to understand what we have to give them. They give us so much. They give their openness, willingness to be vulnerable, and share insights into their minds by expressing their thoughts. When we learn to listen, we can face the challenge of any path, mountain, or team in order to learn how to best approach helping. Listening with an honest/caring heart and mindful ears will help us feel out how to move forward.

    The more we learn, the more options of help we posses and can pass on to a PWS and let them choose which best fits them.

    Does that help?

    Keep asking questions!
    With compassion and kindness,
    Scott

  2. Hi Tiffanie-

    Great question! Scott has provided you with some awesome input already – so I’ll add a few additional thoughts/ideas here.

    I think for me initially, thinking back to my graduate school days, the amount of counseling involved in the therapeutic process felt overwhelming and scary (though I must admit now that it is my absolute favorite aspect of stuttering therapy). I can be quite Type-A and I wanted to have a well thought out plan whenever I went into a therapy session. I found that counseling was exactly the opposite. It was truly about throwing one’s plan out the window and following the client’s lead. It meant creating space, not knowing what a client was going to say, and learning to be okay with not knowing what to do/say next. Dr. Luterman, who has written a very powerful textbook connected to counseling people with communication disorders talks about how it’s not a SLP’s job to solve our clients’ problems or to make them feel better – but to give them to space to talk openly about any/all aspects of their communication disorder. This idea has really stuck with me, as I think it has given me the permission to ‘simply’ be there in a moment with my client and to let go of the need to know what to say next.

    I’m not sure if you have a counseling course as part of your curriculum; however, I really do recommended continuing education in the area of counseling if/when you are able.

    Along those same lines, another challenge that I dealt with initially was my tendency to ‘take my clients home with me’ in the sense that I would carry their struggles and emotions with me as well. I talk to a lot of my students about the importance of self-care and also learning about compassion fatigue (and the signs of it). In a helping profession, it can be easy to put ourselves last and care, care, care about others until we have nothing left. However, it’s important that we care for ourselves and keep our buckets full so that we’re better able to care for others. Does that make sense?

    This is all definitely part of the learning and evolving process of being an SLP and person. I think it’s great that you are already thinking about these types of important questions/issues.

    Best,
    ~Jaime