Conquer your stammer and become verbally fluent…
The use of hypnosis in the treatment of stammering and other communication disorders is not new and reports date back to the late 19th century. Hypnotic techniques have been used to establish deep relaxation, with self-hypnosis being taught to enable the stammerer to benefit from the effects of relaxation in the absence of the therapist. It is commonly found that the first time that patients are hypnotised, even before any therapeutic work has been done, their fluency improves significantly, at least for the duration of the trance experience. An early demonstration of symptom relief of this sort can serve to increase the stammerer’s belief in the treatment and strengthen his or her motivation to continue with it.
In addition to relaxation, direct suggestions of well-being, confidence and increased self-esteem (“ego-strengthening” suggestions) are given. During the hypnosis sessions these positive feelings are linked to a gesture, (an anchor) which may later be used by the patient to recreate the feelings when they are needed in everyday situations. Suggestions given in hypnosis that are intended to promote responses, feelings or behaviours later in non-hypnotised state are usually referred to as post-hypnotic suggestions. Post-hypnotic suggestions may relate to feelings of well-being or confidence in certain situations or may consist of instructions to carry out traditional speech therapy techniques (e.g. smooth, calm, slow and prolonged speech) at appropriate times.
How Can Hypnosis Help With my Stammering?
Hypnosis can be used with stammerers to assist in stress management and the building of self-esteem where this is the sole means of therapy or alongside formal speech therapy exercises.
Recognition of the potential usefulness of hypnosis in the context of disorders of communication led in the early 1980’s to the foundation of the British Society for the Practice of Hypnosis in Speech and Language Therapy, which is recognised by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. A survey of speech therapists using hypnosis in the UK by Macfarlane and Duckworth(1990) suggested that the major use of hypnosis in fluency disorders is as a means of achieving rapid, deep relaxation, reducing physical tension and anxiety and encouraging self-esteem in the patient.
There is a general feeling then that hypnosis may be helpful for mild stammerers in conjunction with stress management and confidence-building techniques and coupled with speech therapy techniques for the more severe cases. This view is based primarily on clinical studies and anecdotal reports.