PART IV:

FINAL WORDS


CHAPTER 22

TO THE STUTTERER

If you, the stutterer, have read this book to this point, you've undoubtedly seen yourself described several times. You understand your form of stuttering and know how it developed. Perhaps you have experienced a rekindling of interest in doing something about your problem. You've likely had the traditional speech therapies and/or psychotherapies and know these are not the solution. The key, of course, is understanding, and what I have attempted to do in this book is relieve some of the mystery and ignorance surrounding stuttering. You may already have experienced a reduction in Base Level Stress as a result.

The treatment described herein may enable you to profit still further. Your stress may be so low you may be able to treat yourself. But this book is not intended as a self-help manual. Self treatment is not advised - many of the subtleties of the technique must be seen and, in addition, most patients tend to jump ahead too quickly in their practice regimen and invariably experience difficulty.

Motivation is your most important asset. If you feel compelled to seek therapy because of outside pressures from family and friends, you are approaching it from the wrong direction. The decision must be a personal one, for the work, while not difficult, requires faith and determination. You will have to make a major commitment to restructuring a part of your speech. Learning the Air Flow Technique is not difficult; habituating it to all speaking situations and extinguishing the fears that lie in the way is where the challenge lies.

Most of us take speech for granted. Having been a stutterer throughout life you are used to the struggling and the avoidance behaviors, even though they are physically and psychologically exhausting. But if you have a specific goal in mind - whether finding a new career, or seeking advancement in your present one, or simply freeing yourself of this nagging constraint so that you can become a new person - you will find the strength to sustain your motivation as you acquire and build a new habit.

Thousands of stutterers have received Air Flow training. The long-term success rate in our most recent published report is 93.4 percent (see the Appendix). This high rate of success may appear startling in view of the poor results of the past. But if you simply reread this book, you will understand why Air Flow Therapy has achieved such excellent results: it is based on a theory which does a better job of accounting for stuttering than any previous theory. The therapy is a direct, logical outcome of the theory and involves not only a set of techniques, but also the patient's understanding of how his stuttering began and why the technique is effective. This understanding is crucial to the outcome and accounts in large measure for the virtually negligible incidence of relapse.

When I explain the cause of stuttering to patients the usual response is: "You know, that makes sense. It agrees with what I had always felt. I knew I wasn't crazy or neurotic." It is my sincerest hope that, having read this book, you, too, will feel that its contents make sense. The evidence, based upon the results of work with thousands of people like yourself, seems to lend support to this conclusion. 


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