About the contributors:
|Elizabeth 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.
|Nora 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 Shames, LCSW-R is a social worker, filmmaker and writer who has long been active in the self-help stuttering world. Jeff is creator and co-producer of the award-winning personal documentary film Spit It Out, a funny, poignant portrait of his coming to terms with his stutter. He works as a psychotherapist with Lighthouse Guild, after previous experience as an early childhood educator and in the business world. A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jeff lives in New York City with his wife, Elisa DeCarlo.
|Elizabeth Mendez-Shannon‘s (L.M.S.W., Ph.D.) current role is teaching/research/community collaborations with Metropolitan University of Colorado. Before this she worked as a Behavior Health Practitioner with the Mental Health Partners and Clinic in Boulder. Now she working with community clinics learning more about care teams using integrated care and it’s impact with patients.
She is originally from New York where she served the Harlem community for ten years in the areas of child welfare, community activism, and with immigrant rights advocacy. She helped mobilize New York City with disaster relief during the 9/11 attacks in New York assisting families and communities with recovery, relief and healing. While in Colorado she worked at the Mental Health Partners (MHP) Boulder County for one of their community clinics, Clinica Campesina/People’s Clinic as a Behavior Health Specialist. Until recently Elizabeth worked for MHP pursuing a passion for integrative services so that patients could benefit from holistic care. Elizabeth co-founded Stutter-Across-America and was a leader of the Manhattan Stuttering Project.
|Michael 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.
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.
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!
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During my early years working with my psychotherapist we uncovered the negative hold that stuttering had over me. I would walk home feeling empty, scared, and vulnerable in the weakest sense. Now whether I am feeling vulnerable, strong & loving, … Continue reading
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My journey from a challenged young women who stuttered to an empowered women who happens to stutter has been transformative. The biggest change over the years was developing compassion for myself. The opposite of compassion is harshness. I understood that … Continue reading
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I love when talented actors use their voice to spread awareness about stuttering. As a mental health clinician and community organizer – and now an Assistant Professor in Social Work – I can confidently and convincingly share that one of … Continue reading
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How does stress affect your personal and career life and what activities do you do to relieve your stress? Have you considered hiking or aerobic exercises? Other activities may include: Acupuncturist – try this technique for tension reduction Water aerobic or … Continue reading
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How do people change? I have often thought about the change process. How does someone let go of one identity and create a new self? When you stutter, what is your process to move on the next verbal interactions with … Continue reading
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This photo was taken at the Friends Conference in Chicago on July 18, 2014, with myself, Lee Caggiano, Jessie Caggiano, Nora O’Connor, Roger Roe, and Caryn Herring. As I thought about this topic of Family and Friends, I recalled my late mother, who stuttered in … Continue reading
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Attending Stuttering Successful Management Program (SSMP) was valuable. It was a time when I felt positive about the emotions I had linked to my stuttering and felt ready to meet peers where together we could co-exist. SSMP taught me specific … Continue reading
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My word for today’s theme is TRANSFORMATION. I have heard folks share their suffering about stuttering. I find myself aligning with these folks in that I feel connected to their battles and can identify with the “war stories.” On the … Continue reading
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My process of transformation began when I met other people who stutter, which opened up my life in so many ways. My relationship with family members and friends shifted. I began to consider new options in my career. I began … Continue reading
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People who stutter often develop emotional responses to their dysfluencies that become more debilitating than the actual speech disorder. As a mental health clinican, the most effective model that I have found to treat a patient’s emotional dysreguation is Dialectical … Continue reading
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In 1976 I was told by University of California, Santa Barbara speech clinic I was clinically fluent and to expect a relapse. I was 23 years old. And told myself I will not let my stutter stop me. I wanted … Continue reading
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I was 21 years old and on academic probation at University of California, Santa Barbara. I went to the school psychologist and after the third one hour session. I came out as a PWS. She referred me to school speech … Continue reading
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When I was in high school, almost every other word was a block. I figured out how to “avoid” some blocks, but with oral presentations and after school activities, “avoiding” grew more difficult. I shared with my mom that I need … Continue reading
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My dad influenced how I felt about stuttering during my teen years. My teen years flourished with powerful stuttering blocks. At that time I didn’t know that the way I spoke was called stuttering. In my culture, the messages I … Continue reading
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My Wednesday word or theme is DISABILITY. How does a person who stutter want to be treated by mental health professionals when seeking services? When I asked a young friend of mine what social service professionals should know about treating … Continue reading
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When is it appropriate for SLPs to make referral to a mental health professional? Michael Sugarman 687 total views
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As a person who stutters I grew up feeling that I could have few professional goals. To now be working as a psychotherapist, a profession in which I sit all day talking with people, is more than I ever could … Continue reading
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Bringing together all of our thoughts into how we view ourselves as therapists, our contributions to the professional mental health and speech language world. In this segment we will be introducing: Road to becoming a therapist How we became therapists, … Continue reading
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Bringing together all of our thoughts into how we view ourselves as therapists, our contributions to the professional mental health and speech language world. This is our first “Weekend Wrap-up.” In this segment we will be introducing: Who we are … Continue reading
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It was tough as a child wondering why my siblings did not stutter. Why was I the chosen one? I learned that my dad stuttered and my mom’s brother stuttered. It was clear that stuttering was in the family genes, … Continue reading
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Today I am starting with a photo from the past from a summer day a few years ago. It’s a memory of a beautiful day playing at Coney Island, NY. In the photo are fellow-stutterers, Barry Yeoman and Nora O’Connor, … Continue reading
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Wednesday, October 1, 2014 Daily Theme: Wednesday Modalities Welcome to the start of “Connecting to Others: The Role of Mental Health Professionals in the Stuttering Community” in the on-line conference at the International Stuttering Awareness Day On-line Conference this October … Continue reading
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