Make Room For The Stuttering

Free To Speak Freely – Episode 93

Posted on: October 16, 2012

Episode 93 features Barbara Dahm, a Board Recognized Specialist in Fluency Disorders, who alternates between New Jersey and Israel. She has been a speech clinician for 40+ years.

Barbara talks about a 17-year old girl she worked with early in her career who had a severe stutter. She talks about trying to find the answer to help people who stutter.

Her present work is rooted in Gestalt therapy. Barbara believes that neurological function and habits cannot be separated from how the mind works. She also thinks that feelings, thoughts and behaviors are all linked together. Traditional therapies seem to overlook that stuttering is a systems problem.

We discuss Barbara’s belief that stuttering is “over control.”  She works with people on thinking about speech as automatic and as a natural process. She helps people to try not to be fluent. But the result IS fluency.

“It’s not just that I’m not stuttering, it’s a different experience.” Barbara wants to help people “quiet the editor” in their brains.

This was a great conversation. For more information on Barbara’s work, please see her website, Stuttering Online Therapy. Barbara would love for people to study, research and critique her program.

Feel free to leave comments or questions for Barbara. Feedback is a gift. Music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

5 Responses to "Free To Speak Freely – Episode 93"

HEY, PAM…..finally!! I love Barbara Dahm’s ideas. One of her best articles is “The Illusion of Control.” And I know personally that her belief “Stuttering is over-control” was true for me. Also I liked “You don’t set out to obtain fluency.” And I love her idea of fluency as a by-product of something else, not something we seek directly. When you mentioned your feeling of helplessness, Pam, I liked her answer…something like “When you feel lack of control, instead of trying to control…let your brain bring up the language automatically.” Anyway, thank you very much Pam for bringing Barbara Dahm to your listeners. Ruth Mead

Ruth: Hey! I liked the article “The Illusion of Control” as well! ( : I also believe that stutter is a result of over-control. When I started therapy I wanted to be more fluent, but now I just want to give up all effort and make my speech effortless.

[…] recently had an opportunity to be interviewed by Pam Mertz on her podcast Women Who Stutter: Our Stories. I particularly liked the title she gave to the episode, Free To Speak Freely. It is the essence of […]

Thank you, Pam, for doing this interview. Yes, speach is a system. I first was introduced to this idea by John Harrison’s book Redefining Stuttering and then I did quite a lot of reading. Modern neuroscience supports this idea that speech requires a good deal of automatic coordination. For example we have one area in our brain that is responsible for turning thoyughts into words. Completely different area decodes words and allows us to understand them. Yet another area in another aprt of the brain adds emotional tones to the speech. Again totally different area understands emotional tones. Plus muscles responsible for articulation. Plus body language. Plus accesing memories etc. There are disorders where people are able to understand words, but unable to produce articulated speech. Or when they cannot add emotional tones to their speech. Or cannot understand when emotions in voice. Now imagine that all this needs to be cordinated very fast so a person could produce a continuous flow without long pauses. When all this comes together, speaking is a pleasure. When it is not – it is a pain.

Marvelous to hear Barbara adopting a different approach to help people overcome stuttering, and to hear of success. 🙂

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