Something you’ve been trying doesn’t seem to be working. You may find yourself thinking, “I should try harder”, or “I should try something else”. 

In this video, find out the trouble with trying. Then discover the benefits of an alternative perspective.

Now over to you: do you find that the harder you try not to stammer, the more likely you are to stammer? Are there times in your life when you take a more experimental approach to problem-solving? What would you like to see me doing next to support you?

You know what it’s like. At times you can feel overwhelmed by strong emotions and avoid taking action. At other times you override your feelings and push ahead. How can you start finding a middle way between these two extremes, so that the emotional impact of stammering can be lessened?

Now over to you: what emotions do you experience most in relation to stammering? How are you currently managing these emotions? Do you notice a discrepancy between this and the way you respond to loved ones when they’re upset?

The self-critical voice inside can be really harsh at times. Like your own worst enemy. Find out how to take a step towards ending the inner war. Or at least bringing about a truce!

Now over to you: have you discovered any helpful ways of working with the part of you that’s self-critical? If your inner critic will allow it, why not share your experience?

The intermittent nature of stammering can be one of the hardest things to deal with. Find out three main stages towards managing this variability with increasing ease.

Now over to you: how unpredictable is your stammer? Could the way you manage other unpredictable things in your life provide you with clues for how to manage your stammer more easily?

Discover a key mindset for making progress in stammering therapy and how to stay open to different (rather than habitual) ways of relating to your experience.

Now over to you: what aspects of your communication do you currently feel most curious about? What do you really want to understand better or view from a different perspective? And do you have any idea what the mystery object in the video is…??


It’s difficult to change things you’re not aware of, right? So how do you start getting a clearer picture of what’s really going on with your stammer? Find out four different areas of your experience it’s useful to be aware of, in order to stay open to change.

Now over to you: which of the areas described do you think could be most fruitful to explore and how could you go about doing that? Have you already discovered some blind spots or brought some hidden parts of yourself into the open? What difference has this made?

One woman shares her experience of stammering therapy. From her initial concerns about starting, to what’s made the biggest difference to her life.

Does your speech become less fluent when you feel under pressure to make a good first impression? Find out 3 tips for starting to reduce some of that pressure.

To mark this year’s International Stammering Awareness Day, this video is dedicated to those of you who are feeling or have felt imprisoned by a “secret” (covert/interiorised) stammer. I invite you to take a step towards finding freedom.

Does your breathing seem to go to pot in stressful situations and make it much harder to speak? In the first half of this video, find out what’s interfering with your breathing and a powerful way of tackling this. In the second half, get introduced to the ins and outs of abdominal breathing, to help you catch your breath.

You may see avoidance strategies as your armour and moments of stammering as a chink in that armour that you want to fix. But what if the armour weighs you down more than it protects you? And what might you need to do in order to start feeling lighter?

Do you find that you’re most likely to stammer when you least want to? And that the harder you try to stop it, the worse it seems to get? Discover a powerful shift in mindset and behaviour that can start to free you from the “what you resist persists” trap.

Do moments of silence in conversation feel uncomfortable, even when you’re not getting stuck? Do you try to fill these gaps as quickly as possible? Find out how to start reducing this sense of time pressure, so that pauses can become helpful rather than fearful.

Does comparing yourself unfavourably with other people lead you away from a sense of belonging and connection? Find out how an invitation to Buckingham Palace shed light on three ways of working with this kind of social anxiety.

Do you find that the fear of stammering makes you mentally and physically tense up, even before you’ve begun to speak? Find out the surprising connection between letting go of this fear…and learning to juggle.

Here I talk about the drastic measures one man took to try to be able to say his name and how this story challenges a commonly held belief about what makes a name difficult.

Trying to change habitual behaviour can be very challenging. When you break the process down into stages, you can learn to do things (such as “block modification”) with more ease.

Do you find it difficult to put recommendations into practice (and then feel bad about forgetting)? Or do you try so hard to follow them that you get overwhelmed? It’s very usual to tend towards one of these stressful extremes. Could a ukulele and an aeroplane provide clues about how to find a more balanced approach?

Hoping for a “quick fix” speech technique to stop stammering? You’re not alone! But does such a thing exist? And if this is your sole focus, what might you be missing?

If you find yourself putting your life on hold because you believe it’s not ok to be a parent, partner or friend who stammers, it could be time to start questioning those beliefs and opening to the possibility that your loved ones may see your communication from an entirely different perspective.

Does your stammer feel like a deep dark secret or something that simply shouldn’t be talked about? Here I explore some of the benefits we can experience when we “come out” and start being more open with people about the thing we have been trying to keep hidden.

Some advice can be really unhelpful, can’t it! Here I share a couple of examples and then I make 3 suggestions for dealing with unhelpful advice in ways that can enable us to take away something useful from whatever advice we receive.

One reason people give for not being more open about their stammer is that they fear being labelled as “a stammerer” by other people. Here I share one of my own examples of being given a label I didn’t want. Then I consider what could be underlying the fear of certain labels and how we might start to see things a bit differently.

When we put off things that we need to do (eg making an appointment with the dentist or doctor), we often find that the “short-term gain” of relief can easily turn into the “long-term pain” of regret, increased resistance and inconvenience. Here I share an approach that can start to make speaking tasks we’ve been avoiding feel a bit less overwhelming.

Coping with the ups and downs of change can be challenging. For those days when we feel like we’re back where we started, I share an image that can help us to realise that these ups and downs are a natural part of the process of moving forward.

Often we “mind read” and make assumptions about what others think and feel in relation to us. When we realise that we could be seeing our own thoughts and feelings being reflected back at us, like a reflection in a mirror, we can gain insight into our own experience and start to free ourselves from being overly concerned about what other people may or may not be experiencing.

It’s natural to feel concern about what other people think of us but when this concern turns into fear, it can hold us back from saying and doing things that are important to us. In this video, I suggest 3 steps for starting to work with fears about what other people think, illustrated by the story of a hungry tortoise…

Avoidance of anxiety-provoking situations can cause our “comfort zones” to become more and more limited over time. In order to start expanding them again, we may need to face a bit of the unknown and experiment with taking some small risks, where the stakes don’t feel too high. In this way, we start to build confidence and move in the direction we want to go in, one step at a time.

Dysfluency in “fluent” speakers isn’t the same as dysfluency in people who stammer. Nevertheless, remembering that fluent speakers aren’t always that fluent, can ease some of the internal pressure that comes from striving for 100% fluency.

The last in a short series on habits, this vlog looks at one of the reasons why changing habits of speech can be so challenging and then suggests an approach for working with this.

(Recorded with a phone camera – apologies for the reduced picture quality!)

What have old wallpaper and habitual thought patterns got in common? Both form the backdrop to our everyday experience and yet can become invisible to us and therefore harder to change. Becoming more aware of the “wallpaper of the mind” can be a first step towards reducing the negative impact of certain thinking patterns.

Bringing greater awareness to habits of body, mind and speech can help you to step out of “automatic pilot” and start exploring how to manage your stammer in a different way. This vlog focuses on habits of body and how they can give you insights into how you may approach others things in life, such as trying to speak more fluently.

Getting to know your habits in non-speaking situations and then experimenting with temporarily changing them can be useful preparation for exploring habits which hold you back in speaking situations. Bringing greater awareness to habits of body, mind and speech can help you to step out of “automatic pilot” and start exploring alternatives.

With stammering, fear and avoidance often go hand in hand. When you’re supported to start facing fears, you get a chance to check out whether the reality of doing something is different to what you had imagined. This can open up opportunities for you to say and do more and more of what you want.

When people who stammer meet speech therapists, do they stand on opposite sides of a battlefield? Or can they come together as allies?

    Sarah Leach

    Speech Therapist (fluency specialist)

    5 Staple Inn, High Holborn,
    London WC1V 7QH

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    Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists

    Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice

    Giving Voice | Speech and Language Therapy transforms lives