Positive therapeutic experiences

Hello, I am a student at CSUF and hope to one day become a SLP. Our professor regularly states that as clinicians we there to do no harm. I firmly believe in this statement. I was wondering if anyone could tell me what are the best ways a SLP can help you, a person who stutters? And what can a SLP do in order to realize the position of doing no harm?

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Positive therapeutic experiences — 3 Comments

  1. Great question, which for me goes to the heart of working with people who stutter. In my very brief stint with therapy as an adult (had none as a kid) I was very turned off by SLP grad students who insisted on teaching me fluency strategies, without asking me what I wanted.

    I felt there was an assumption that my stuttering needed to be fixed, and only a SLP could do that. It felt grandiose to me, which I felt was harmful to me.
    It also felt demoralizing when a SLP student would sit across from me and count my stutters – I hated that. It made me feel like data, not a person. That can be very harmful if a client feels that the student therapist is only trying to fulfill class requirements, instead of exploring what could be really beneficial and worth spending time on.

    There has to be a therapeutic alliance in therapy, not a power relationship.


    • Hi Pamela,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. As a current SLP graduate student, this post is so beneficial to me. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to work with someone in the stuttering community, I know I have been so worried about taking data and providing accurate documentation that I forget to just be in the moment when working with people.

      Everyone within the SLP community needs to see/hear this perspective because, unfortunately, I know you are not the first to have this experience with SLPs. You are 100% right; there has to be a therapeutic alliance and not a power relationship. Without an alliance, all we have is a toxic ableist relationship that harms the client.

      – Best

    • Hello Pamela!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to reply and share your therapeutic experience and giving me advice on what not to do. I have to say what yo have stated is what our professor for fluency has taught us. She has taught us that we need to listen and adress the client’s needs not the stuttering. I am sorry to hear that SLP graduate students didnt treat you properly. As a future grad student, I will ensure that I do not do that and like you said, explore options that will benefit the client as well ask the clients about their thoughts and wants and needs.