Make Room For The Stuttering

The River’s Flow – Episode 92

Posted on: October 2, 2012

Episode 92 features Ruth Mead, who hails from Dallas, Texas. Ruth is a writer, and before that she ran a car business.

Ruth started writing when she was 33, and wrote non-stop for 3 months. She reached the point where she had entered “the flow,” meaning that she was just free writing and not having to change anything.

Ruth feels that writing helped improve her speech, as she began to think about this flow. She wasn’t thinking about changing anything when she wrote and she began to realize the same was possible when speaking.

You can read Ruth’s book “Speech Is a River” here, which as you can see, is freely available. You can also read this review of Ruth’s book by Barbara Dahm.

Listen in as we talk about effortless talking, what being “cured” and “transformation” means, holding back, humor and so much more. Ruth gets me talking a little about my feelings growing up thinking my father was ashamed of me.

This was a great conversation. Feel free to leave comments or questions for Ruth or both of us. Feedback is a gift.

Music used in this episode is credited to Dano Songs.

10 Responses to "The River’s Flow – Episode 92"

Ruth, finally! I haven’t listened yet, but I am so excited you finally did it. I believe it is very important to get out every sucess story. The mere thought that something like this is possible have healing power. I remember my joy when I heard about John Harrison and Alan Badmington stories – they gave me hope. Every story is precious. People who achieved fluency, or who like Pam became awesome communicators while still stuttering give me hope.

Thanks, Anna. And I love no story better than yours! You are right about the importance of every success story. The first real success story I ever had a chance to read was John Harrison’s book and, like you, and it changed my view of stuttering…..offering me hope that people (and stuttering) can change. Thanks, Anna.

Ruth speaks about how much “writing” helped her deal with her stuttering in a very positive and healing manner – she very much “fixed” her stuttering. Well, how can “writing” help us deal with negative thinking? From a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), writing helps us:

1. By placing our thoughts on paper we “step outside” of them – we “dissociate” from them. We observe them from a “distance”.

2. By “stepping outside” our thoughts, this tends to lower the intensity of the emotions attached to the thought(s).

3. By being “outside” our thoughts with decreased emotions, it is much easier for us to analyze our thoughts from a more rational, adult frame of mind.

4. By operating from a more adult frame of mind, we can much more easily and effectively apply resourceful adult thoughts on to those negative thoughts. In doing this we are doing “reframing” – placing new meanings on limiting negative meanings such as limiting beliefs about ourselves and the false judging of other people’s thoughts about us.

So, by all means, start writing out your thoughts and see how doing so works for you.

Thanks a whole bunch Ruth. I sure enjoyed the tape.

Bob Bodenhamer

Thanks, Bob! I was thrilled to read that my experience is confirmed by NLP….that writing is one way to have a voice and that the written voice can be carried over to the spoken word. Thanks, Bob.

Bob, actually I did this for w hile, but it didn’t have any effect on me. Writing is what I do for a living, I am very comfortable writing and never put as much thinking into it as I do when i speak. I do different things for speaking such as going to improv classes. I absolutely love them. To me communication has challenges besides stuttering. Now I never see stuttering as an obstacle even though I may stutter sometimes still, but it is difficult for me to have an easy exchange of thoughts – my thoughts tend to go on vacation when I speak in unfamiliar situation. I want people to like me and do not want to offend them and as a result I often feel more comfortable when I have a little bit of stuttering – it is like a familiar shield, my trademark. So I do not see Ruth;s method as a cure, but I see her as an inspiration and as an evidence that overcoming stuttering is possible. Also because of her I know what my goal is – speaking from my core self. Anna

Anna, you know we see eye to eye on almost everything….and I’ve been amazed as I watch your courage to attend improv classes, even CLOWN classes… are way ahead of me in your courage and ability to cut through the obstacles most PWS have to deal with…obstacles even greater than stuttering. Thanks, Anna.

I mean no offense to you Ruth when asking this but I am curious. I don’t stutter like the person conducting the interview, I think I sound more like Ruth. I know Ruth has been cured but comparing Ruth to myself I noticed a holding back in her voice. The tone of the interviewers voice around 38:00 sounded very strong and she asked a specific question about Ruth’s book. The sound of Ruth’s response reminds me of how I would feel and probably respond slightly discombobulated. There were also times during the interview when the woman was in the middle of stuttering and Ruth talked over her. There was also a time when Ruth finished a sentence and the interviewer started a new question but Ruth cut in to add on to her sentence, this is something that would occur to me when I blocked. As a person whom is very observant of their voice I would think Ruth would be very aware of this. I can imagine the pressure and want to speak and if I was conversing with someone that was having trouble I would let them finish their sentence entirely.

So again, I mean no offense to Ruth and I praise you for doing this interview to help the stuttering community. My question Ruth is, do you feel absolutely no holding back in your speaking?

I was very definite, Brent, when I defined what I meant by the word “cure”. I had never spoken on the phone before I was 33 years old, but during the following years I was able to talk on the phone, selling cars, for hours on end….never thinking about what I was going to say or how to say it. This had been unthinkable to me when I stuttered. And I speak very very imperfectly. I butt into people all the time (I come from a family of l2 children and we had to butt in to the conversation if we ever got a chance to speak!!). “Discombobulated” is a good description of my speech. I like that. When I speak spontaneously, letting myself simply say what I want to say without holding back, I often sound discombobulated. But that’s preferable to a person who stuttered on around 85% of her words at one time. I’ll take my present imperfect way of speaking any day of the year. Thanks for your comments. I truly appreciate you going to the trouble to comment.

There is this pervasive feeling in the stuttering community that acceptance is the key to stuttering and that we are not alone. I agree with both premises but there is so much more to this equation. Ruth has shown through this interview and her life that you can overcome this maze and you can kick butt in life with or without a stutter. She is so committed to being herself and her humor and strength resonates throughout the interview. You can tell she is a leader. And I like the fact that she wasn’t 100% fluent throughout the interview. Because in the end that doesn’t matter as much as showing up and becoming who you are. Great interview. Great interviewer.

Sebastian Scala

Hi Sebastian
Good to hear from you! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights. One of the things I love about doing these podcasts is that I/we get to hear from so many different people and their very different perspectives.

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