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

About the contributors:

kapsteinElizabeth Kapstein is a person who stutters and a licensed clinical social worker living in New York city. Elizabeth is trauma and Addictions informed therapist trained in Psychodynamic Relational Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, and Motivational Interviewing. Elizabeth has been active in the stuttering self-help community and co-founded Passing Twice ( and the Manhattan Stuttering Group. Elizabeth has a private practice in NYC at
mendez-photoElizabeth Mendez-Shannon (LMSW, PH.D.). Dr. Liz is an Associate Professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver.  Having worked in Harlem, New York as a Program Director, she brings a wealth of social work experience and leadership in two key areas:  Latino issues and integrated health care. Dr. Liz is also active in community organization and grass-root movements related to the stuttering community.  She has been part the love in FRIENDS, SAY and NSA

Dr. Gina Davis is a clinical psychologist who stutters. She has a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.

gina nNina G is by night is a comedian performing at comedy clubs, keynote speaker and children’s author of Once Upon an Accommodation: A Book About Learning Disabilities.  By day she is a counselor at a community college where she works with students with disabilities.  In 2015 she premiered her one-person show, Going Beyond Inspirational, and produced the first ever comedy compilation album of all comedians with disability aptly titled Disabled Comedy Only.  Be on the lookout for the release of her Tedx video, Be Every Day Ally.
oconnorNora A. O’Connor is a person who stutters and a licensed clinical social worker living in Los Angeles, California. Nora is trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Trauma Resiliency Model. During her career she began to recognize that interventions she was learning and using would be effective for people who stutter.  Nora now treats people who stutter in her private practice.
Jeff ShamesJeff Shames has been active in the stuttering support world for more than 25 years, and has presented at numerous conferences. Jeff is creator and co-producer of the award-winning personal documentary “Spit It Out,” a funny, poignant portrait of his coming to terms with his stutter.  Currently he works as a psychotherapist at Lighthouse Guild. A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jeff lives in New York City with his wife, Elisa DeCarlo.

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.

We will focus on;

1. Understanding yourself, others, and community through the lens of mental health
2. How you work with your partners/members who do/do not stutter
3. Communicate better and strengthen your closeness and connection

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!

 3,785 total views,  2 views today

Wednesday Words

Anxiety I think about the role of “anxiety” in our lives as stutterers. It has a powerful way to describe our feelings or attitudes towards my stuttering. Most people tell you that they experience “anxiety” during the stuttering experience. What … Continue reading

 1,284 total views

Wednesday Words

The word for this week is GROUNDING.    The following definition is taken from Seeking Safety: A Treatment for PTSD and Substance Abuse (L. Najavatis).  Grounding is a set of strategies to detach from emotional pain, (i.e. racing and thoughts, negative talk, … Continue reading

 1,044 total views,  2 views today

Monday’s Modalities

Gina and Nina share their Monday Modalities from an article they created for the Huffington Post: “Everything We Needed To Know About Stuttering In College Came From Mafia Movies” Gina and Nina Monday, October 10, 2016  961 total views … Continue reading

 961 total views

Weekend Wrap-ups

Katherine Preston talk about words that come up for you when you hear the word “stutter.”  Check it out: “Let’s play a word association game. What is the first word you think of when you hear the word ‘stutter’?” Stuttering … Continue reading

 1,011 total views,  1 views today

Wednesday Words

SELF-WORTH Self-Worth….. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you say “self-worth?” Is it confidence? Is it prosperity? Is it success? Perhaps it’s an image; one that cultivates positivity and growth.  It may be the idea that … Continue reading

 1,323 total views

Tuesday Transformations

One of the reasons I became a psychologist is because I’m fascinated with personal transformation: people achieving their goals, cultivating self-understanding, overcoming painful experiences and emotions, and uncovering a sense of empowerment and belonging. When I was young, I wanted … Continue reading

 1,068 total views

Monday’s Modalities

Resourcing I really like Resourcing as a daily living tool. Practice resourcing by connecting with our own experience, in our lives, bodies, community, and/or environment. Resource when you start to worry, experience anxious or racing thoughts and/or experience feared situations; … Continue reading

 904 total views