The 2020 NWCFD-IISC will be held from Monday July 27 through Saturday August 8 in Pocatello, Idaho. For more information, please contact Dan Hudock at email@example.com (2020 NWCFD-IISC student clinician application, 2020 NWCFD Stuttering Clinic Client Registration, 2020 Flyer NWCFD Interprofession Intensive Stuttering Clinic, NWCFD-IISC Need-based Client Scholarship Application)
Stuttering has more recently been described as a multidimensional syndrome due to the psychological, emotional, and social impacts on the quality of life for the individual. Due to these negative functional impacts a holistic approach should be taken when treating clients who stutter. This causes an inherent problem because Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) undergo little, if any, direct training on counseling theory and application and likewise, mental health professionals typically have minimal exposure to individuals with communication disorders. Our clinic has second year graduate students in speech-language pathology and counseling collaborate during the co-treatment of clients who stutter through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a mindfulness-based mental health approach to holistically treat the needs of clients who stutter.
General Structure of the NWCFD-IISC
This two week intensive program will take place on Idaho State University’s campus in Pocatello, Idaho. Each client will work with one second year graduate student in speech-language pathology and counseling throughout the two-week clinic using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) framework. The clinic will be held daily from 9am – 5pm with an hour break for lunch. During the clinic, there will be educational seminars, group discussions, individual and group therapy along with many opportunities to generalize. We believe that stuttering therapy should be done in a supportive environment throughout all activities and that a critical need is to generalize the success that one has in the clinic room to other settings and situations.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Stuttering
ACT is a mindfulness-based mental health approach with 6 main principles.
The stuttering syndrome is filled with many negative thoughts and feelings about oneself such as; anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, loss of control, time-pressures, and negative self-perceptions. Understanding and implementing the 6 principles of ACT allow clients who stutter to see themselves for more than just their stuttering (self as context) and to view communication in a different more global sense. For example, success is no longer conceptualized as being fluent, but instead the ability communicate ones needs and wants when and how they want regardless of the presence of absence of stuttering. Therefore clients understand how to process events and situations with more positive framing (defusion), which decreases negative impact, dwelling, and inherent rumination on negative communicative experiences. Likewise, understanding our values and value systems with having commitment to live by our values recontextualizes priorities and importance of life decisions. This again helps reaffirm that stuttering is but a part of us, not the whole of us. This life change of acceptance and openness lets us live as our true selves, no longer needing to hide our stuttering or ourselves. During any moment we can choose how to react and, with the use of certain strategies, can reduce communicative stressors and pressure and actually be observant and present in our interactions. All to often when fluency is the focus of interactions we loose the connection and may set unrealistic expectations for communication. If fluency is our target for success we experience much pressure not only to modify how we produce speech, but to also to suppress any thoughts and emotions (anxiety, time-pressure, etc) that come along with stuttering and communication. Being present allows clients who stutter to take time for themselves before and during communication to become aware of their thoughts, feelings, and styles of interaction, which has been shown to reduce anxiety and senses of time-pressure, while enhancing the quality of the interactions. Practicing this principle allows clients who stutter to greatly reduce the sense of loss of control and anxiety during moments of stuttering. They allow themselves to recognize and accept the emotion, but then make the conscious choice to proceed how they wish to from there. ACT incorporates mindfulness practices along with the other principles to treat the holistic needs of the clients while being flexible for individual client variability.
Phase 1: Acceptance and Awareness of my Stutter
The goals of this phase are for the individual to 1) gain awareness of thoughts and feelings related to their speech and their stuttering, 2) become aware of how they stutter and what they do to avoid stuttering, therefore concomitant emotions and behaviors can be reduced, and 3) begin the process of accepting their stuttering. Stuttering can take a devastating toll on a person, so the first step in change in being aware of the impact it is having.
Clients will be educated about stuttering and the potential impacts that stuttering has on an individual. From here clients will analyze their and their clinicians communication styles and skills in a variety of settings to better understand the communication process and how to become a more effective communicator. Additionally, participants and student clinicians will work to build trusting relationships with each other. At the end of this phase we hope to see decreased use of concomitant stuttering behaviors and the start of decreased negative impact from stuttering. As these are difficult aspects of one’s life to conquer, the last day of this phase will consist of a ropes and challenge course showing clients and students that they can overcome many obstacles.
This phase focuses on modifying beliefs, attitudes and patterns of overt stuttering. By the end of this phase we hope to see additional decreased impact from stuttering, and dramatically increased overt fluency. We treat overt stuttering using individualized therapy to modify stuttering into a more manageable form that can be utilized at the client’s discretion. As complete fluency may be an unreasonable we provide the client with the tools and strategies to manage their fluency at a level that they are comfortable with. Throughout this phase clients and student clinicians will take day trips to vacation spots and local shops for generalization purposes.
This phase targets taking the progress made in the first two phases, and carrying over into the real world by teaching the client to be their own clinician. Although the clinic does offer refresher programs, which we encourage clients to attend, upon clinic completion, the client is best served by being their own clinician. Therefore during this phase of therapy the client takes the lead on their therapy, homework, and how they want to approach therapy. By teaching the client how to problem solve, and best utilize techniques, they will be set up for success upon returning to their daily lives. On the last day of the program, participants and their families are invited to take part in a graduation ceremony and celebration.
Registration and Fees
- The cost of the clinic is $1,500, which covers lodging, most meals ($150 ISU food card that can be used at the cafeteria), participation in the ropes course, t-shirt, and clinic-related materials and expenses over the two weeks.
- A $200 deposit is required for clients to reserve their space (as we have limited availability).
- The balance is due by the fourth day of clinic.
- Scholarships are available on a need-based basis.
- Thanks to the Brenda Bertsch-Malepeai Memorial fund, Malcom Fraser Grant funds, and other generous donors we are fortunate enough to offer partial to full scholarships to some of the attendees. Please contact Dan Hudock (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.