Desensitisation

Home practice invitation

Desensitisation is the process of gradually reducing the fear of stammering, so that over time, you’re more able to manage moments of dysfluency with ease.

Read the attached handout on different aspects of desensitisation. From the list of activities mentioned on the handout, rank them in order of difficulty for you, from the easiest to the most challenging.

Experience and/or fear of negative listener reactions often plays a major role in stammering. Write down the worst listener reactions you can remember from the past and how you coped. Then write down the worst listener reactions you currently fear and consider how you might be able to cope with these.

Choose the easiest person (from a list of people you talk to regularly) and see if you can have a conversation about communication, mentioning something to do with stammering, if you feel ready to do so.

Certain sounds and words tend to have more stressful associations attached to them than others. Choose a few non-feared sounds/words first and then some feared sounds/words. For each sound/word write down whatever thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, images, stories, memories etc you notice coming up in relation to the sound/word. Then invite your imagination to explore some alternative associations or ways of perceiving the sound/word eg if you perceive a word as “spiky”, what might soften the spikes? Turning towards feared sounds/words in this way can be a first step towards lessening the power of the stressful associations.

Entering this process of desensitisation can bring up feelings of vulnerability. For inspiration on how this is a strength rather than a weakness, I recommend watching this entertaining TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability?language=en

Relevant video blogs:

http://www.communicationliberation.co.uk/videos/juggle-with-fears-of-stammering/

http://www.communicationliberation.co.uk/videos/what-you-resist-persists/

http://www.communicationliberation.co.uk/videos/take-my-time/

http://www.communicationliberation.co.uk/videos/loved-ones-may-really-be-thinking/

http://www.communicationliberation.co.uk/videos/going-round-in-circles/