Stammering and Stuttering
Stammering and Stuttering are types of speech disorder that negatively effects the normal flow of speech. If you have a stammer stutter you will know exactly what they want to say, but may have difficulty to get the words out. This can cause communication difficulties, which may then lead to low self-esteem, low self-confidence and anxiety.
Stammering and stuttering is quite common among young children but usually resolves itself naturally, however in some instances it can continue into adulthood. Stammering and stuttering can also begin in adulthood. Stammering and stuttering is often caused or made worse by anxiety and stress, hypnotherapy can be a very helpful and successful treatment.
There are numerous speech disorders that make communication problematic, of all of them stuttering is perhaps more common. A stutter is also known as a stammer, a stutter will typically cause you to repeat the first part of the word (such as “c-c-c-cat”) or hold a sound for an unusually long period of time (such as “caaaaaat”). Some, getting any sound out at all is difficult. All stammers and stutters are unique and will vary from sufferer to sufferer.
Those who have a stammer or stutter may add words like ’em’ into their speech if they see a problem moving to the next word. They may also demonstrate mall-adaptive behaviours such as rapid eye blinks, head jerks and facial ticks.
You may find it gets worse when you are excited, anxious, tired or nervous. For example, when put into a stressful situation (e.g. making a speech) stuttering may become exaggerated. Stammering or stuttering is a physiological response to an emotion that can be dealt with using hypnotherapy.
Commonly, many people who stammer or stutter hide the problem when they sing, talk to themselves or talk at the same time as someone else. This is often due to a reduction of stress in these situations.
What causes it?
The cause of stuttering is complicated. Psychologists believe there are a combination of factors involved, including:
- Genetics – Studies have shown that 60% of those with a stammer or stutter have a family member who also stammers or stutters.
- Other speech difficulties – Those who have experienced other speech difficulties now or earlier in their life may be more likely to developing a stammer stutter.
- Rapid speech rate – If someone naturally speaks quickly, they could have a tendency to develop speech problems.
- Differences in the brain – Researchers are discovering that those with a stammer or stutter often process language in different areas of the brain.
One per cent of adults in the UK stammer or stutter and it is four times more likely to affect men than women.
Stuttering or stammering in children
In children Between the ages of two and five,stammering or stuttering is relatively common. It is in these years that we learn to talk. Stammering or stuttering in children may last for short periods usually weeks or months, but most children will grow out of it.
If the stammer or stutter is frequent and seems to be getting worse, it may be worth consulting your GP. If your child has their stammer or stutter when they start school, they are likely to become more aware of it. This can lead to stress and low self esteem and sadly may result in bullying from other children.
In these circumstances speak to your child’s teacher and enlist their support to help stop the bullying. Being bullied for stammering or stuttering can make the problem worse as anxiety surrounding talking begins.
If your child has a stammer or stutter, try the following methods to raise their self esteem when talking:
- Make talking fun and relaxed, don’t demand your child speaks ‘properly’ at all times.
- Avoid correcting and criticising, this may make your child more self-conscious.
- Don’t ask too many questions, children will speak more freely when discussing their own ideas.
- Don’t ask your child to read out loud if they are feeling anxious.
- Keep your home calm and relaxed as , a relaxed home atmosphere encourages a calm state of mind.
- Speak slowly and clearly when talking to them, this will help them copy your speaking style.
Describing stammering or stuttering as ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ in childhood can and often will cause your child to encounter speaking problems in adult life. Therefore the best thing you can do is be nurturing, caring and accepting of the way they speak.
Stammering or stuttering in adult life
When stammering or stuttering continues into your adult life it can lead to stress, anxiety and low self-esteem. In some cases, stuttering can start in adult life. There are many reasons for this but may include the following:
Neurological trauma (Brain injury)
This is thought to be one of the most common causes of stammering or stuttering in adult life, neurological (brain) trauma includes such things as stroke, head injury, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. As this cause of stammering or stuttering is physical, physiological intervention and speech and language therapy are typically required and hypnotherapy can help to deal with the anxiety and self esteem issues.
In some cases, a stammer or stutter can develop due to a drug reaction. Certain medications prescribed medications may lead to changes in speech. If this happens while you are takeing a medicine, be sure to contact your GP immediately. In these circumstances Hypnotherapy would be an unlikely alternative.
A life event or series of events that you find make you anxious can result in stammering or stuttering. This is often referred to as psychogenic stuttering. Some examples of stressful events include the end of a relationship or a bereavement. A stress-reaction could also follow an accident or any event that causes you to feel stressed. In most cases this form of stammering or stuttering disappears once the stress and anxiety ends. This particular form of stammering or stuttering will benefit greatly from hypnotherapy as it will help you overcome the stress and anxiety.
Re-occurrence of a childhood stammer
As I have already said, stammering or stuttering in children is not uncommon. Usually a child may grow out of their stammer or stutter, but it then it comes back in adult life. If a child has a stammer or stutter, they may learn to avoid using certain words. This makes it look like they’ve beaten their stammer or stutter. This often fails to work in later life, causing the stammer stutter to reappear.
Coping at work with a stammer stutter
Stammering or stuttering is considered a disability under the Equality Act. This means that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you because of your stammer or stutter.
Considerations your employer may want to take could include:
- Allowing you more time when engaging in oral activities (interviews, presentations etc.).
- More emphasis on written work.
- Giving you more time for you so you can be heard in meetings.
If you are worried about your speech, in the first instance it is important to go to your GP. They will be able to carry out physical tests to establish any physical causes. Once a cause has been established, your GP will be able to talk through your treatment options.
The most common form of treatment offered is speech and language therapy. A speech and language therapist is an expert in speech disorders, such as stammering or stuttering. They will assess you to better understand your issues. They will then work with you to formulate a treatment plan.
The exercises you are given will depend on the nature and severity of your stammer or stutter. Many therapists will seek to control and improve your fluency. They will teach you to speak slowly and deliberately. Over time you should be able to build up a more natural way of speaking.
Often tackling any underlying stress, anxiety or self-esteem issues is also advised and needed. This can easily and effectively be dealt with using hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy for stammering or stuttering
Firstly you must address any physiological cause of the stammer or stutter, but when looking at treating psychological causes o, hypnotherapy for stammering or stuttering can be exceptionally useful. There are many issues that cause stammering stuttering which can be successfully addressed using hypnotherapy, including the following:
Often you become self-conscious of your stammering or stuttering. This can quickly lead to anxiety, as you believe stammering or stuttering is in someway wrong and something that you should be ashamed of. This typically comes from your childhood when your teachers or your family may have told you that stuttering is wrong. If this applies to you, you may have learned that stuttering is wrong. This learned behaviour can become embodied in your muscles (known as muscle memory) which can make stammering or stuttering worse. Hypnotherapy for stammering stuttering will reduce your anxiety about your speech.
Your stammering or stuttering can cause you to feel low self-esteem. This may occur due to your childhood bullying or through being told stuttering is bad. Hypnotherapy will help this by changing your negative thought patterns into much more positive ones. This will improve your self-esteem.
Perhaps you can trace your stutter or stammer back to a stressful event, hypnotherapy will be able to help. This can be especially helpful if you find certain situations or people make your stammer or stutter worse.
You probably find your stammer or stutter gets worse when you are under stress. Hypnotherapy is an extremely effective at treating stress and can certainly help you with this. I will induse you into a state of deep relaxation so your subconscious is open to my positive suggestions. I suggest relaxation as a response to the stressful situation. This combined with self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques that I will give to you will help to reduce stress and remove your stammer stutter.
As with all forms of therapy, figuring out what works best for you is important. For many, a combination of therapies works well. This may mean visiting your GP in the first instance and then working with me alongside a speech and language therapist.
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