What do you enjoy about working in Fluency?

Hello,

     My name is Kate Petach, and I am an undergraduate student at California State University, Fullerton. I would like to know: what do you, as a clinician, enjoy about working in Fluency specifically? Thank you for your time.

                                   Sincerely,

                                     Kate Petach

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What do you enjoy about working in Fluency? — 3 Comments

  1. Dearest Kate,

    Thank you so much for asking this question of the professional panel, and congratulations on your academic journey! You are truly entering into the best field ever- and I hope that you see it as I do: as a passion and life mission rather than a clock in and out job. With that being said- I digress and need to answer your question, and as good of a question as it is it is an extremely difficult question to answer because- I love so much about treating stuttering. My brother is a person who stutters since the age of six, and he is my reason for going into this amazing field in the first place. I think for me, my favorite part about treating stuttering would have to be the honor of getting to be a part of someone’s story, whatever that may be. When I was a graduate student, I used to think people who stutter needed to be saved/helped… you know, like Superman style with me coming into a therapy room valiantly running from a telephone booth wearing a costume and a cape type thing. But I sure learned something the first time I treated a person who stutters. I learned that I wasn’t the one that was wearing the cape- people who stutter are. People who stutter are the most resilient people I have ever met, and they sure do have many amazing things to say if we just listen to them and let them speak. I have learned more from people who stutter… probably than they have learned from me to be honest. Yes- I focus on stuttering and yes I consider myself humbly skilled in this area (we are always learning as clinicians). But that first gentleman that walked into my office for treatment, who had a pretty prominent stutter… and I thought I needed to save him in that Superman outfit…. boy, was I wrong. He ended up saving me, actually. And that man taught me more about stuttering than I ever thought I would learn by sharing his story with me, his life with me, and allowing me to be a part of it. That’s what it’s all about- and what is the most rewarding part about what we do. We get to see people grow, do life, and do things…. we get to be a part of that and it’s absolutely so beautiful.

    So, that was kind of a long and Steff-squirrel like answer (it’s late and I absolutely cannot sleep), but I hope that gives you some insight of what it is like to be a clinician who has the opportunity to treat people who stutter. It truly is something special. Be well, and take care.

    Thanks,
    Steff

  2. Hi Kate-

    Thanks for writing! You ask such a great question!

    My desire to work with people who stutter really began when I was in graduate school and I had the absolute pleasure of working with a school-age child who stuttered. Honestly, before this experience, I knew very little about stuttering and I’m not sure that I had met/interacted with very many people who stuttered either.

    For the first few sessions, this client barely talked and I found myself struggling with what to do. As a new graduate student, I worried that I would fail my practicum and that I wasn’t giving this child the help/support that she needed. My amazing supervisors reminded me that even though my client did not speak very much initially, she was participating in the sessions, playing games, smiling, etc. and that these were signs of building the trust and rapport that is needed to establish any therapeutic alliance.

    Throughout two semesters of really exploring her thoughts about her stuttering, as well as what was truly important to her/who she was at the core – this client came out of her shell in ways I never thought possible! She grew and evolved as a communicator and person – it was amazing to watch!

    My experiences with this client really helped me to see the power in treating the entire client and listening to what is important to them/what they want when it comes to their own communication. It was in those moments in which I also realized the role that counseling plays in our field and how really clinicians are simply guides supporting their clients in becoming the best version of themselves and ultimately their own therapist.

    I think during those sessions, I also really felt the most ‘me’ and I knew that this is what I wanted to continue to do once I graduated.

    Whatever aspect(s) of this profession drives you is important – and my advice is to run with it! You are in an awesome place to be able to support really great people in realizing that their voices matter – and you’re going to learn SO much from them along the way!

    Good luck!
    ~Jaime

  3. Hi Kate,

    For me, working with people who stutter is absolutely intriguing given the uniqueness of each individual’s lived experience of stuttering. I have also learned so much from people who stutter, including many of my beautiful colleagues who stutter, in relation to humanity, empathy, acceptance, perseverance, kindness…and more! The counseling and cognitive restructuring aspect of stuttering treatment is also one that is very rewarding when we get to witness empowering transformations from within. I worked as an SLP for 15 years before I became interested in working with stuttering, and I truly feel that I found my calling when I “stumbled” upon stuttering treatment. I guess I would say that stuttering found ME!

    For more of my story, you can listen to my TEDxKU talk entitled “Placing Value on Human Imperfection” which can be found here: https://youtu.be/pUVtGnGmHE8.

    Ana Paula

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