Most people who stutter / stammer who have not had any therapy will probably be feeling uneasy about verbal communication. Just the thought of speaking to anyone is enough to get the heart racing. Constant worried about how you feel others perceive you can be all-consuming. There is a very high correlation between stuttering and social anxiety. Everyone has the right to an enjoyable life, no matter what physical or mental hindrances we have to contend with. Individuals have a choice about how they feel – how they feel about themselves, how they feel about others, and how they feel about situations. Many PWS (people who stutter) have negative perceptions about many of these. If you are self-conscious about your stutter and speaking, then it's time to do something about it!
Many excellent stuttering programs are available today, with live-in intensive courses and excellent home-based treatments being offered. If you talk to graduations of these programs, many will tell you that during the courses that they feel so good, so in control of their fluency that they want to go out to enjoy the experience of speaking as soon as they can, become part of the community, and communicate. During these courses the training involved actually rebuilds the client's speech technique from the ground up. As they undertake the courses, clients experience spectacular changes in their level of control. Their fluency is, often for the first time, finally being maintained. This change in the space of only a few short days has a freeing effect on negative thinking. Negative thoughts and thinking about stuttering is one of the main drivers of the stuttering habit. While technique and subsequent fluency is being maintained, many of the effects of negative causal thoughts do not come into play at all. However, if technique is not maintained and stuttering works its way back into the person's life, then negative thinking clearly returns to again haunt the mind.
So, when the chicken comes before the egg does not really matter. It's imperative that cognitive training goes hand in hand with good stuttering therapy, and whether it's before, during or after therapy does not seem to matter as long as the PWS undertakes effective cognitive training around the same time as fluency training. Cognitive therapy does not necessarily mean one has to undertake expensive private sessions with a psychologist. Many good stuttering therapy programs, supported by psychologists, offer very effective cognitive training over the internet and can be conducted in the comfort of your own home. Remember that mastering your dysfluency is more than just undertaking therapy for your stutter. More importantly, one has to accept that there are going to be major changes in how you feel about yourself, others and life in general. Get ready for the overwhelming feeling of positivity and happiness that goes along with finally managing your speech fluency.
Join me on that road to fluency!