An excerpt from Advice to Those Who Stutter by Lois A. Nelson, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison
If only you could talk without stuttering! You may be frustrated when stuttering occurs. You may get discouraged and angry with yourself and at the world. Nothing you try seems to be effective for long. At its mildest, stuttering can be annoying. At its worst, it interferes greatly with communication and with your life. Past experiences may have strengthened the belief that nothing you do will make any difference in how you talk. That’s where you’re wrong.
It is possible to change the behavior that you do when you stutter. Not by magic. Not by asking others to do the changing for you. The ingredients of change are firmly rooted in knowledge. You need information about the process of speaking fluently. You need information about the disorder of stuttering. And, you need to experiment with various ways of stuttering. A tall order but not if you have a plan.
To begin with, change your focus. One of the most difficult concepts to grasp is this: the behavior that occurs when you try not-to-stutter contributes to the severity of the stuttering. Try the opposite behavior: try to stutter. Become very familiar with exactly what you do while stuttering if you are to change it.
Too difficult? You simply want the stuttering to go away — never to occur again. That’s a normal reaction. You dislike repeating. You do not want to hear or see or physically feel stuttering. The experiences of feeling “stuck” are frustrating and perhaps frightening. Tremors in your lips or jaw may give rise to panic. It is hard work. Harder than you have ever done before. It is less fearful to study and analyze stuttering under the guidance of a fluency therapist. But you can do some of the identifying and categorizing of behavior on your own if you remember to do this “change work” in small doses.
Don’t overwhelm yourself. Tomorrow is another day. It took years for stuttering to develop to the level and in the particular pattern that occurs at this point in time. The process of unraveling the pattern and changing the disfluent behavior takes time also.
READ MORE in Advice to Those Who Stutter (PDF file)