Connecting to Others: The Role of Mental Health Professionals in the Stuttering Community

About the contributors:

kapsteinElizabeth 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.
oconnorNora 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
Jeff ShamesJeff 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.
mendez shannanElizabeth 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.
sugarmanMichael 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!
Comments are now closed.

 2,562 total views,  1 views today

Monday Modalities

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

 1,094 total views

Weekend Wrap-ups

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

 1,207 total views

Wednesday Modalities

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

 958 total views