Make Room For The Stuttering

400th Post! NSA Workshop Summaries

Posted on: July 16, 2011

Here are summaries from some workshops presented at this year’s National Stuttering Association annual conference recently held in Texas!

I am also gratified to have reached a milestone. This is my 400th post since starting this blog in February 2009!

There were so many workshops to choose from at the same time. It’s almost unfair to have to choose. So I asked fellow attendees to summarize some of the best workshops they attended. Helps me, helps you, helps all.

You Are Changed By What You Do: “Shame-Busting” Through Avoidance Reduction Therapy. This was the most powerful workshop for me, led by Vivian Sisskin. She and several people that participate in her therapy groups led us through how to reduce shame by learning to face our fears and re-define success and progress. I listened to Vivian speak last year and became fascinated with her approach to avoidance reduction.

Shame was always my biggest issue, and learning even to identify that is hugely empowering. I have read several books on shame reduction and shame resilience over the last year as well, that has helped me move toward more acceptance of my feelings and emotions.

My friend Brandon shares his take away points from two workshops that resonated with him.

Release Fear, presented by Zaheen Nanji and NSA Career All-Stars, presented by Beth Bienvenu, Jim McClure, Tracey Wallace, Gregg Benedikt, and John Moore.

Brandon writes, “As I find myself looking for a new career opportunity I realized that the work place is my final frontier. From experience in working outside my comfort zone, I know what needs to be done but wanted to hear it from others that are doing it. The Release Fear workshop turned the abstract concept of “facing what you fear to create change” into a logical evaluation to expose the cost of making or not making the change.  This workshop helped me to see that some discomfort now while facing challenging speaking situations will lead to a more open and balanced life in the future.”

He goes on to share, “Do you remember growing up thinking, “Damn, am I the only one that stutters?”  Then you find an organization like the NSA and know you are not alone.  Witnessing a person stuttering in the workplace is like a Bigfoot sighting for me. It is exciting and a bit scary depending on how far away I am from it.

I still feel I have one foot stuck in the mud with regard to the workplace, so I was excited to hear from the NSA Career Stars.  Hearing first hand from these successful people that stutter in the work environment took away a lot of the mystery I had built up around it.

I loved the slogan “Participation is the Price of Admission”.  A few years back I realized that in order to be more at ease with stuttering I would need to take it to the street.  Originally I was misled to think I could practice in hiding then put the show on for all to see.  I realized I was just going to have to be ME!

One of the biggest changes I had to make was to start using the world as my practice.  Hearing it again from one of the speakers pinpointing the workplace really hit home for me.  The phrase “Participation is the Price of Admission” has many meanings for me.  Regarding stuttering, it reinforces that I need to work my speech agenda step by step, speaking up and sharing my ideas and concerns, and interacting, all for the admission to a better more fulfilling life.”

Brandon – thanks so much for sharing these thoughts and how helpful these presentations were for you!

My friend Anna shares her thoughts on some workshops she attended. Anna was a first time attendee to the conference and also presented at the Toastmasters workshop! I have so much material here that I will include her two other summaries in my next post.

Laughter Yoga – The Fun Part of Everyday presented by Judith Newman.

Anna writes: “When was last time you really laughed? Not smiled, chuckled or giggled, but laughed, openly, heartily, loudly, without inhibitions? If you can’t remember, you should check out laughter yoga classes. As Judith explained, laughter is very beneficial to our body and our brain – so we should do it often. You can do it alone and your body won’t know the difference between a “fake” laugh and the real thing.

But it is easier to burst into open laughter in a group, under the guidance of a laughter Yoga leader. For 45 minutes we did silly exercises and laughed so hard, my insides started to hurt. Regarding  stuttering, it is not a therapy. But laughing with all your might, while looking a stranger in the eye, is definitely something that I don’t do in my everyday life.  To me it was very liberating.  To my non-PWS husband – a bit too weird.”

Thanks Anna for taking the time to share these thoughts.

In my next post, I will have two more summaries from Anna, on Dr. Baker’s Speech – Treatment Innovations and Journey of Hope presented by Robert Baker Ph.D. and Going Beyond Stammering with Confidence presented by Maria McGrath (who has been a guest on this podcast).

And I will have a summary from Alex on his powerful thoughts on the keynote by Neal Jeffrey.

I also have a few live videos from the conference that I will post, once I have secured permission from those recorded. Feel free to leave comments, so that the folks who took the time to write these up, and me, know that you found it helpful.

8 Responses to "400th Post! NSA Workshop Summaries"

About laughter yoga. Here is a couple of the exercises that Judith showed us and which you can do with a partner. Imagine – your little brother is small and you show to each other with your hands how small he, while giggling a little. But he growth and as you show how tall he growth (taller than you) your giggle excalates into open laughter. Another – you step into the river and giggle, but the river gets deeper and so does your laughter. FInally it is so wide and wild that you burst into loud uninhibited laughter – show your partner how wide is teh river and how funny it is.
Sounds silly? MOre reason to try it.
Seriously. I wish I could be at all workshops at once:)

Thanks for covering the NSA Career Stars workshop! We had a lot of competition during that time slot, including Vivian Siskin’s workshop and the speed talking workshop! I asked each of the panelists to provide a number of “take-aways” for the attendees, things they’ve learned on their career path. “Participation is the price of admission” was one of them. I think I’ll write them up and post them somewhere sometime soon!

I’m glad you found VIvian’s workshop helpful 🙂

For me it was really important to read about some of the workshops,and to get a little taste of the convention.
The Vivian Sisskin workshop is particularly interest me,cause i was inspired very much by the work of Joseph and Vivian Sheehan,
and i look for more sources of their philosophy ,that Vivian Sisskin is the best re -presenter (i know)of it.
B.T.W-I wish that NSA or someone else would record some audio from the convention,the only audio i found was by the great Dani from stuttering is cool (of The great lecture of David Seidler).
Thank you Pam!

Thanks Ari. I have three more summaries to post, which should go up by tomorrow. I just posted a video of one of the young people speaking at the conference, and I have several more to edit and post as well. I am very glad you found this information useful.
I am lucky enough to get to go to Friends this week – and Vivian Sisskin will be presenting again. I will try to capture some video of her presenting, as well as David Seidler addressing Friends.

Thanks Pam,i will wait for your good stuff!

Pam (and Brandon) … thanks for mentioning the Career All-Stars Panel. I was a late addition to the panel and was the one who said the line, “Participation is the Price of Admission.”

That’s actually a line my boss back at Starbucks shared with me in 1996. She was talking about making sure I participated in meetings by voicing my perspective. I’ve adopted that line to apply to my life. It’s another way to think about not avoiding speaking because the only way for us to move forward is to shut up and talk.

Hey John, Glad you found this and took the time to reply. Good stuff. Looks like it was really good that you were a last minute addition.
Visited your site. You have great stuff going on. Congratulations!

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