Gender differences in therapy approaches

I’ve been having a great discussion with a friend who attended the “what women want” workshop at the World Congress in The Netherlands. We organized a workshop to give women an opportunity to talk about issues important to women, and had no men there! Topics included confidence, shame, hormonal influences on stuttering severity, feeling of inadequacy, parenting and many others. I wonder . . . . .  since the statistics indicate that men who stutter outnumber women who stutter by about 4 to 1, could it be that traditional therapy approaches are “slanted” more to men’s needs for problem solving and “fix things” as opposed to women’s needs to talk more about issues?

This seemed a good point to ponder and I wondered what the experts think. – Pam

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Gender differences in therapy approaches — 5 Comments

  1. Hello Pam
    Stuttering treatment is non-gender specific. Treatments for stuttering vary in their protocols and applications. For treatment to be effective for both men and women, it is important that treatment focus on the neurophysiological processes causing stuttering directly. Secondly, the frequency of treatment is a critical component to the success for both men and women. Therefore, the delivery of treatment should be conducted in an intensive format incorporating fluency shaping techniques that focus on the remediation of primary behaviors (i.e. repetitions, prolongations, and speech blocks) and ancillary behaviors (i.e. extraneous physical movements accompanying the stuttering). Finally, the inclusion of post-treatment computerized maintenance and support program is necessary to maintain high long-term retention level. People who stutter are heterogeneous and certain emotions/reactions may or may not be common to men and women depending on their constitution and their defense mechanism in coping with the disorder.

    • What about the emotional aspects of stuttering? How is that addressed in the approach you outlined? I think women who stutter more often than men need to talk about the feelings that are below the surface.
      I know for me that was important, and was not adequately addressed in the fluency sharping therapy I tried.

  2. My clinical experience within stuttering treatment and gender differences, is that there are big variabilities within both genders; regarding stuttering behaviours, emotions, thoughts and personalized needs. The SLPs has to differ the treatment regarding varying individual factors, regardless if it is a male or a female.

  3. Hello Pam
    Stuttering is a neurophysiological disorder not emotional one at its onset. The emotional aspect of stuttering develops from the physiological behaviors as they persist and the negative reactions of others. Therefore, the first phase is to get control over the physiological behaviors and then progress to the emotional aspect. As the individual gains control of the stuttering, the emotions begin to subside. The decline is a gradual process, depending on the level of severity and the type of treatment received. It’s not overnight. The post-treatment maintenance and support phase is just as critical as the treatment and assists in abating the emotional aspect. If you feel that talking about it helps you, I recommend join a live support group instead of a blog or interaction by way of electronic statements.

  4. Hi, Pam! I agree with Hilda that there is quite a bit of variability in terms of the needs of a person for working on the emotional aspects of stuttering. I find that both men and women/boys and girls tend to have some level of need to talk about and work out ways to manage their thoughts and feelings related to stuttering. I’ve not seen a pattern favoring women over men. That is not to say that women might want to talk about their feelings in different ways than men do, but I don’t see the lack of interest on the part of the men/boys I’ve worked with in the past and with whom I’m currently working.