Most people use the terms stuttering and stammering interchangeably, but others have characterized these issues somewhat differently. Some think of the word stuttering as more of an American word, with the word stammering used more by the British. Some professionals make a distinction between the two. One group labels stutterers as those with problems speaking the first part of words and stammerers as those having problems completing words. Still others say that stuttering refers to those who repeat the first letter of a word, such as s-s-s-sandbox, and stammering to those who simply get stuck at the beginning of every third or fourth word. Country music legend Mel Tillis would probably be labeled a stutterer under this latter distinction, while King George IV as portrayed in the award-winning movie The King’s Speech would be a stammerer. For the purposes of this section and for application of hypnotherapy to the problem, we will treat the terms as synonyms. Being American, I will simply refer to the malady of stuttering.
Stuttering has one of two distinct origins, one successfully treatable with hypnotherapy. Stuttering for most of us is part of a developed behavior, usually created during childhood, but in rare cases it can develop later. For these cases, hypnotherapy is quite successful. However, stuttering can also be caused by physical reasons, such as brain trauma. I have a dear friend who has survived the removal of a huge benign brain tumor. He has been left battling aphasia, a condition that impairs his production of speech (as well as reading and comprehension of language). He might be thought to have a stuttering issue, but it is a bit more complicated than that. He simply cannot come up with the right word at the right time. His impairment is actually greater than that of a stutterer since the stutterer will know the right word, but he will just have problems saying it. I would suggest even people with physical issues, though, experiment with hypnotherapy to give their minds the opportunities to re-write some Middle Mind programming.
Hypnotherapy provides not only assistance in exploring the causes of a client’s stuttering, but it provides the tools necessary to develop the plan for therapy and to execute the plan. Hypnotherapy has proved a consistent benefit to those seeking help for stuttering, sometimes with very public success stories. One of the most recognized voices of all time, the voice behind Darth Vader, was once a stuttering voice. James Earl Jones’s use of hypnotherapy resolved a stuttering issue, leading to the voice we know today. Actor Bruce Willis also resolved a stuttering problem with hypnotherapy.
Everyone from time to time stutters. It is normal to occasionally have speech mix-ups due to searching for the right word or from getting distracted. But for most people these mini-challenges do not snowball into continuing problems. For stutterers, small matters lead to bigger difficulties, and these difficulties then move to the forefront of every attempt to speak.
The nature of the causes for the stuttering will direct the development of a client’s hypnotherapy plan. The plan in hypnotherapy is always future-focused. The focus of therapy regarding root causes will vary. Once the issue of causation is addressed, therapy will turn to behavior-changing steps. These steps will no doubt include real world applications, reporting, and evaluations. The therapy will work to eliminate negative self-perception and negative self-talk and to instill the confidence and joy in communication that will enable speech to come easily and naturally, the way we were intended to speak. The process of hypnotherapy for clients dealing with stuttering is generally short-term, as compared to other forms of counseling and therapy. Multiple sessions will be necessary in order to confirm that the plan is succeeding and to make any adjustments necessary as the therapist and the client evaluate the progress. Remember, the goal of all hypnotherapy is permanent behavior change, so sessions will be scheduled so that permanent success is insured.