Stammering and Stuttering Hypnotherapy in Leeds
I read an interesting article in the i newspaper last week (25/10/17) concerning stammering, which is one of many conditions that we treat here at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic.
The piece was written by 21-year-old student Rory Sheridan who is himself someone with a stammer.
Rory has undergone therapy at the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children in London where, writes Rory, “the negative thoughts which I had about my stammer were turned into positive ones as I realised it wasn’t such a bad thing.”
He adds: “Everyone has their thing that they find difficult – speaking is mine.”
What Rory writes reflects a fundamental concept in the successful treatment of many conditions – an individual gaining the confidence and self-awareness to manage that particular condition. At Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic we help clients to change their perspectives where appropriate.
A fresh insight
The treatment Rory has received has provided him with a fresh insight. He says he now sees his condition differently and doesn’t allow stammering to hold him back.
“I apply for all the jobs and opportunities I want to.”
In the past that would have been beyond him – his anxiety over how others might perceive him had become debilitating.
Nowadays, if someone has a negative reaction, Rory regards that as their problem not his. And now that he has the confidence to acknowledge his stammer to himself and to others he finds that the vast majority of people react positively. And so his confidence increases.
Rory concludes by stating: “We are increasingly seeing and realising the many positives of what stammering gives to a person: empathy, patience, great listening skills, attention to detail and creativity. The list goes on. I try to see the positives where I can.”
Such words are heartening to me not only as a therapist but on a personal level too because as a child I also had a significant stammer.
Children and adults
People who stutter, as I did from an early age, do so to varying degrees and in various circumstances and while the condition is most common in children it often extends into adulthood. As the newspaper article indicates the condition can involve “blocking” – that being the inability on occasions to utter words or sometimes even any sound; “repetition” – that being repeating words or syllables time and time again before managing to move on to the next; “prolongation” – elongating the sound of words far longer than most speakers.
At school I had particular difficulty with words beginning with “D” which being named Danny was rather unfortunate. Even now some of my old pals still call me: D-d-d-Danny. And in essence it is how people react that eases or erodes an individual’s confidence. Sometimes a negative impact is unintentional – for example the well-meaning parent who adopts the habit of completing a child’s unfinished sentence; sometimes it is more malevolent, such as a bullying teacher who uses the child’s difficulty against the youngster to exert authority.
I learnt to control my own condition with the help of a kindly speech therapist and by building up my own self-confidence.
Self-confidence can be rebuilt.
In my own case I found strength from a young age in the boxing gym. (In fact, some of the best help and encouragement I received in life came from my boxing coaches Harry Pinkney and Kevin Cunningham, though I doubt if either of them ever regarded themselves as therapists.)
At Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic, you might be relieved to learn we don’t have a boxing ring.
We do build confidence though, helping clients to overcome anxieties related to various conditions. We also employ techniques specific to individual conditions – in the case of stammering, for example, a simple exercise is to teach a person not to close his or her eyes when speaking – they are often unaware that when stuttering their eyes will shut – by concentrating on keeping their eyes open the mind is distracted from their perceived speech difficulty.
This is just one simple technique among many others which we combine with cognitive behavioural therapy and clinical hypnosis for the benefit of clients.