Integrating Orchestral Speech and the Jump

Integrating Orchestral Speech & The Jump

Introduction

Once you have learned how to employ Orchestral Speech and the Jump and have started experimenting with using them in real-life speaking situations, you will probably have noticed that each technique works well in some situations and less well in others. Therefore, to benefit most from these two techniques, you need to know which technique is best suited to the particular speaking situation in which you currently find yourself.

In most speaking situations there are moments where it is more appropriate to use the Jump and other moments where it is more appropriate to use Orchestral Speech, and you will achieve the best results by freely alternating between the two, using Orchestral Speech for the phrases you need to say fluently with a minimum likelihood of blocking, and the Jump for the phrases that it is important to say accurately. But whatever the case, if you find that one of the techniques doesn’t work in a particular situation – insofar as the listener fails to understand what you have said – you can always repeat the phrase using the other technique. More often than not, one of the two techniques will enable you to successfully get your message across.

To clarify why Orchestral Speech is better in some situations and the Jump is better in others, it is useful to have a clear picture of the similarities and differences between them.

As you worked through our online course modules on Orchestral Speech and The Jump, you will have noticed that these two ways of speaking share much in common. In particular, both Orchestral Speech and the Jump require you to…

  • Immediately abandon the sounds you find yourself blocking on
  • keep moving forward (to the end of the phrase you intended to say)

The key differences between these two ways of speaking are…

  • what you prioritize while you speak
  • what you do when you get stuck

Broadly speaking, Orchestral Speech is best suited to speaking situations where there is time-pressure and where it is more important to speak fluently and where the accuracy of your articulation of individual sounds and words is less important than the speed with which they come out.

In contrast, the Jump is best suited to speaking situations where the speed or fluency with which one speaks is less important.

Differences between Orchestral Speech and the Jump

Orchestral speech

Orchestral speech, when employed properly enables you to avoid blocks and results in instant fluency. This technique is particularly useful in situations where there is time-pressure and a limited window of opportunity in which to speak and in situations where blocking would have negative consequences

The Jump

The Jump does not enable you to avoid blocking. However, it does enable you to quickly get re-started on the next sound when you find yourself blocking. This technique is particular useful in situations where there is little or no time-pressure and where it is OK to allow yourself to block.

With Orchestral Speech, you speak with a firm determination to keep up with the intended forward flow of speech even if you need to miss out some sounds and words in order to do so (just like you would do if you were speaking in a chorus). This means that if you block, you may need to miss out some sounds or words in order to catch up.

Because Orchestral Speech requires you to give priority to maintaining the intended forward flow, it significantly reduces the extent to which you focus on trying to pronounce each word accurately. This shift of your focus of attention away from the quality of your pronunciation substantially reduces the likelihood of blocking while using Orchestral Speech. However, because Orchestral Speech relies on distraction, in the long run it does not teach you to accept your speech errors and dysfluencies, nor does it desensistize you to them. So its fluency-enhancing effects only last as long as you continue to use the technique.

With The Jump, when you start to speak you simply focus on what you want to say, and if you block you abandon the sound you are blocking on and jump to the next sound. Because you don’t need to keep up with the intended forward flow and you have time to attempt every sound. You only jump over the sound you are blocking on.

Unlike Orchestral Speech, with the Jump you do not have to focus on maintaining the forward flow, so your are likely to be much more aware of your dysfluencies and speech errors. However, because the Jump enables you to notice these speech errors and dysfluencies and to accept them and to carry on regardless, it desensitizes you to them and reduces your fear of them. Consequently, in the long run, it reduces your tendency to block and it reduces the fear and any negative emotions that have become associated with blocking.

Thus, the net result of using these techniques is slightly different…

With Orchestral speech, you will block less when you speak,

Thus Orchestral Speech is best suited for use in situations where  one is under pressure to speak more fluently and to move forward at a faster rate.  Orchestral Speech is also particularly well suited to people whose stuttering is relatively severe.

With the Jump, you will block more than when using Orchestral Speech, however each time you block, and successfully jump to get restarted, your fear of blocking and your tendency to block in the future will reduce significantly.

Thus the Jump is best suited for use in situations where time-pressure is not an issue and for use at times when one’s stuttering is relatively mild.

Both ways of speaking have some potential pitfalls…

With Orchestral Speech, if you become overly attached to it, there is a danger that you may use it to avoid blocking and you may thus continue to evaluate blocks as undesirable and fail to overcome your fear of blocking.

With the Jump, if you become overly attached to it, there is a danger that you may start to focus too much on saying each individual sound and word. Consequently, although the Jump will enable you to keep moving forward, you may still find yourself blocking more frequently than is desirable.


Mindfulness and Stammering

Mindfulness events hosted by the SSEP

For some years now, the Stammering Self-Empowerment Programme has been hosting a variety of different mindfulness events.

Our programme continues to change and evolve in response to feedback and requests from people who stammer.

Currently we host regular weekly online meditation sessions and a variety of residential meditation events. Details of which are given below.

Please note that the events we host are for people who already know how to meditate. We do not teach people to meditate as there are already many excellent teaching programmes available – both live and on the internet – many of which are completely free.

In the Mindfulness and Cognitive Therapies module of our online course, we do however, discuss in detail how meditation can help you manage you stammering.

Online Mindfulness Sessions

We hold these silent meditation sessions most mornings and evening throughout the year – on Skype.

The group is open to both stammerers and normally-fluent speakers.

We start at 7am and 8.30pm (UK time) and we sit for 30 minutes.

These sessions are for people who already know how to meditate (i.e., who don’t need guidance) and who would like to meditate together with other people.

During the 30-minute sessions, you are free to practice whatever type of meditation you like. The most important requirement is that you are able to sit still and remain silent for 30 minutes at a time.

Most participants have some experience of one or more of the following: Zen, Vipassana, other Buddhist meditation, and/or Mindfulness training (such as Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

Most participants’ practices include focussing on breathing, or practices like “metta” (loving kindness meditation).

Participants sit in front of their computer/tablet/smartphone (normally with their cameras turned on, although the camera is optional)

Microphones must be turned off.

Your eyes can be open or closed (if your eyes are open, you will be able to see the others who are meditating with you.

You can also listen to (your own choice of) guided meditations or meditation music – as long as your microphone is switched off so others can’t hear it.

The start and end of the 30-minute session is signalled by a gong.

There is no talking or social interaction in the meeting itself, but after the meditation ends participants are invited to join our mindfulness social group (also on Skype) where there is the opportunity to chat.

These online meditation sessions are completely free of charge.

To join a meditation session: follow this link: https://join.skype.com/FB3iLUl5hv2X  Please note that this is a moderated group and it is only possible to enter it after a moderator has arrived. So, if you find you can’t get in, it may be because the moderator has not yet arrived. So, try again just a few seconds before the meditation is due to start.

To join the meditation social group (after the meditation session ends), follow this link: https://join.skype.com/jYbkjpnqIGKq

For further enquiries, email: meditation@stammeringresearch.org

Residential Retreats

For some years now, Paul Brocklehurst (Founder of the SSEP) has been hosting a variety of residential mindfulness Retreats. These currently take place each Autumn and Spring in the village of Etsaut, in the French Pyrenees, and are designed for a maximum of about 10 people. The retreats are of varying lengths – between 3 and 5 days and are intended for people who already have knowledge and experience of mindfulness/meditation.

All retreats involve a combination of sitting meditations, and (indoor and outdoor) walking meditations.
The retreats are open both to stammerers and normally-fluent speakers and they do not involve any therapy of any kind.
The retreats are free of charge. However, we do request that participants help with the running of the retreats (in whatever ways they are able: cooking, cleaning, etc.) Donations are welcome.


Intensive 3 day Silent Meditation Retreat

29th April -2nd May 2024

This retreat involves a total of 5½ hours of formal sitting meditation each day plus walking meditations and yoga/stretching exercises.

Sitting meditations last for 30 minutes at a time and are interspersed either with short (5 minute) walking meditations (kinhin) or (guided) yoga/stretching exercises. In addition, during the day, there are some longer (outdoor) walking meditations.

Participants are required to maintain silence (i.e. refrain from all unnecessary speech) for the duration of the retreat.

 

Programme 

  • 3 days of silent sitting and walking meditation.
  • For experienced meditators only.
  • Some limited(free) accommodation available in our house (but rooms nearby available to rent if necessary)
  • A maximum 10 participants
  • Vegetarian meals provided (with vegan options)

Our intention is to provide a venue and a conducive environment for a small group of experienced meditators to come together for three days of silent practice. The main part of each day will be taken up with a series of (unguided) sitting meditations, punctuated by (indoor and outdoor) walking meditations (kinhin) and some simple mindful stretching exercises. For the sitting meditations, participants are invited to adopt whatever silent meditation routines they normally practice, the only caveat being that they must remain still and silent for the duration of each 30 minute sitting session.

29 April 2024

  • 16.00-18.30         Reception open
  • 18.30                    evening meal & Introductions.
  • 21.00                    start of silence.
  • 21.00-22.00        meditation (2×30 minutes sitting interspersed with walking meditation.

30 April & 01 May  SILENT MEDITATION ROUTINE:

  • 6.30 – 8.40          meditation (sitting 3×30 minutes interspersed with walking meditation and stretching).
  • 9.00                      vegetarian breakfast.
  • 09.45 – 10.30     outdoors walking meditation (weather permitting).
  • 11.00 – 12.30     meditation (2×30 minutes sitting interspersed with walking meditation.
  • 12.45 – 16.30     lunch & afternoon break & opportunities for a 90-minute mindful walk in the hills behind Etsaut.
  • 16.30 – 18.45     meditation (3×30 minutes sitting interspersed with walking meditation or yoga/stretching).
  • 18.45                    evening meal.
  • 20.00 – 21.45     meditation (3×30 minutes sitting interspersed with walking meditation).

02 May

  • 6.30 – 8.40          meditation (sitting 3×30 minutes interspersed with walking meditation and stretching).
  • 9.00                      vegetarian breakfast.
  • 09.45 – 10.30     outdoors walking meditation (weather permitting).
  • 11.00 – 12.30     meditation (2×30 minutes sitting interspersed with walking meditation.
  • 12.45     lunch & End of silence.

THE VENUE

The sitting meditations and all meals are at La Maison d’en Bas in the village of Etsaut in the French Pyrenees. Weather permitting, the outdoor walking meditations will take place in the woodland alongside the Aspe river, just a few metres from La Maison d’en Bas.

Participants will be accommodated either at La Maison d’en Bas or elsewhere in Etsaut (a minute or two’s walk from La Maison d’en Bas).

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

If you wish to take part in this intensive it is vital that you already have some experience of intensive (whole day) meditation and are able to sit silently, without fidgeting, for at least 30 minutes at a time. In total there are eleven 30-minute sitting meditation sessions each day; in other words, 5½ hours sitting per day. The sitting meditations are not guided.

Throughout the 3 day intensive, the only speech allowed will be that which is necessary (such as asking questions relating to activities, alerting us to issues that need to be attended to. There should be no social conversation with anyone during these days.

Mobile phones and computers should be turned off (or put on flight mode) before the start of the intensive and we recommend that you remain offline until after the intensive is over. (We can provide you with the telephone number of one of our helpers, who will remain available throughout the retreat to receive calls and pass on important messages. You can forward this number on to anyone who may need to contact you in case of an emergency).

During this retreat, we request that you only read material that supports your meditation practice. We recommend that you bring a notebook or diary along, to write in.

ENROLMENT

  • There is no charge for this event (it is free), however, you must fulfil the entry requirements, you must intend to stay for the full 3 days and 3 nights and commit to participating as much as you are able in the meditation sessions, and you must be prepared to help, if you can, with the day-to-day running of the event (e.g., cooking/cleaning etc.)
  • Donations are welcome.
  • We have some limited free accommodation (beds in shared rooms in La Maison d’en Bas).  Towels & bedding are provided.
  • If you want a room to yourself, or if there is no more space in La Maison d’en Bas,  we will let you know what other options are currently available in the village.

If you would like to enrol on this silent intensive, please complete this online application form and we will get back to you with details of remaining spaces and how to reserve them. 

For further enquiries, email:

retreat-enquiry@stammeringresearch.org


5 day Combined Meditation and Social Retreat (12th-17th May 2024)

This retreat involves a total of about 1¾ hours of sitting and walking meditation each morning and evening.

Sitting meditations last for 30 minutes at a time and are interspersed with short (5 minute) walking meditations.

In between these morning and evening sessions, participants are free to socialise and to enjoy the village and surrounding countryside. (Please note: You will be responsible for your own welfare should you decide to go walking in the mountains.)

 

Programme 

  • 5 mornings and evenings of silent sitting and walking meditation.
  • Daytimes will be free for social activities.
  • For experienced meditators only.
  • Some limited (free) accommodation available in our house (priority will begiven to people intending to attend all of the 5 days’ meditation sessions).
  • Rooms nearby available to rent if necessary
  • A maximum 10 participants
  • Registration for single days also possible
  • Vegetarian meals provided (with vegan options)

Our intention is to provide a venue and a conducive environment for a small group of experienced meditators to meditate together and to enjoy the natural environment and each other’s company. Early mornings and evenings will be taken up with a series of unguided sitting meditations punctuated by walking meditations. For the sitting meditations, participants are invited to adopt whatever silent meditation techniques they normally practice, the only caveat being that they must remain still and silent for the duration of each 30 minute sitting session.

 

Eve of the 12th May

  • 16.00-18.30        Reception open
  • 18.30                  evening meal & Introductions.
  • 20.45-22.00        meditation (2×30 minutes sitting interspersed with walking meditation.

 

13-16 May DAILY ROUTINE:

  • 06.30-08.15        3×30 minutes sitting interspersed with 5-minute walking meditations (kinhin)
  • 9.00                      vegetarian breakfast.
  • 09.30-18.30        free time
  • 18.30-19.30        evening meal
  • 20.15-22.00        3×30 minutes sitting interspersed with 5-minute walking meditations (kinhin)

17 May

  • 6.30 – 8.15          meditation (sitting 3×30 mins interspersed with walking meditation or yoga/stretches).
  • 8.45                      Final breakfast.

 

THE VENUE

The sitting meditations and morning and evening meals will take place at La Maison d’en Bas in the village of Etsaut in the French Pyrenees.

Picnic lunches will be provided.

Participants will be accommodated either at La Maison d’en Bas or elsewhere in Etsaut ( a minute or two’s walk from La Maison d’en Bas.

 

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

If you wish to join us in these meditations it is vital that you already have some experience of meditation and are able to sit silently, without fidgeting, for at least 30 minutes at a time. In total we will do three 30-minute sitting meditation sessions each morning and three 30-minute sitting meditation sessions each evening. The sitting meditations are not guided.

If you intend to join in all the meditations over the 5 days, we may be able to accommodate you in La Maison d’en Bas. If you wish to only register for individual days, then we can find you accommodation nearby (there are a variety of option within easy walking distance) or you can arrange your own accommodation.

ENROLMENT

Staying the full duration: 5 days & 5 nights

  • There is no charge for this event (it is free), however you must fulfil the entry requirements, you must commit to taking part in the meditations as much as you are able, and you must be willing to help (if you can) with the day-to-day running of the event (e.g., cooking/cleaning, etc.)
  • Donations are welcome.
  • We have some limited free accommodation (beds in shared rooms in La Maison d’en Bas). Towels & bedding are provided.
  • If you want a room to yourself, or if there is no more space in La Maison d’en Bas, we will let you know what other options are currently available.

Staying for single days

  • Attendance for single days is also possible.
  • If you require overnight accommodation for just one or two nights, let us know and we will tell you what is available in the village. The cheapest option is the Gite d’étape called La Garbure, which is directly behind La Maison d’en Bas. They rent beds in dormatories (of varying sizes) for €18 per night.  If you choose this option, you will have to pay La Garbure directly, although we can arrange the booking for you if you wish.

If you would like to enrol on this combined meditation & social retreat, please complete this online form and we will contact you with details of remaining spaces and how to reserve them.

For further enquiries, email:

retreat-enquiry@stammeringresearch.org


Links

Education and self help for people who stammer

Related Links

Useful sources of background information about stammering

STAMMA

The British Stammering Association

STAMMA is the main UK registered charity for people who stammer. It is a key source of information for stammerers, their parents, speech and language therapists, and teachers who work with children who stammer.

STAMMA also have their own Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/stammeringbsa

The Stuttering Foundation (SFA)

www.stutteringhelp.org

The SFA are based in the USA. They are the first and the largest non-profit charitable organization in the world working toward the prevention and improved treatment of stammering. The SFA provide a wide range of high quality written and video resources and information, both for children and adults who stammer, as well as for clinicians who specialise in stammering.

The Stuttering Homepage

www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/stutter.html

The stuttering Homepage is maintained by Minnesota State University in the USA. It is dedicated to providing information about stuttering and other fluency disorders for both consumers and professionals who work with people who stutter. It includes information about research, therapy, support organisations, resources for professors who teach fluency disorders courses, materials for kids who stammer, and much more.

In October each year the Stuttering Homepage also hosts the International Stuttering Awarness Day (ISAD) Online Conference.

The ISAD archive can be accessed here:

http://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/isadarchive/onlineconference.html

This article is objective and well written and provides a concise assessment of what is currently known about the nature and causes of stammering. It also provides an outline of a range of approaches to therapy. A more detailed Wikipedia article that focuses entirely on therapy is can be found at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuttering_therapy

This well-written self-help manual proposes a self-paced, step-by-step approach to managing stuttering. It is closely aligned to Van Riper’s approach, and also teaches a range of helpful mindfulness-based practices.

The manual deals with 7 main themes:

· Understanding the Origin and Nature of stuttering;

· “Acceptance” and what it means and why it matters;

· Identifying what exactly you do when you stammer;

· Playing with your speech—learning more flexibility;

· Breathing, pausing, eye-contact and listening;

· Learning to watch your thoughts (mindfulness);

· The importance of values and beliefs.


Welcome to SSEP

Welcome to the Stammering Self-Empowerment Programme (SSEP)

Helping people who stammer (stutter)

to achieve their optimal level of fluency and to develop their communication abilities to the fullest extent possible.

Support though a combination of education and therapy

No matter whether you are a person who stammers, a parent of a child who stammers, or a speech and language therapist who specialises in stammering, it is our hope that you will find this website to be a valuable source of information and inspiration that will help you on your journey.

Currently the SSEP’s key activities are as follows:

1.  Maintaining and further developing our Free Online Course

2.  Hosting Mindfulness Events (both live retreats and online mindfulness sessions)

3.  Researching and documenting the long-term effectiveness of our approach

Our Free Online Course

A core belief that has guided our development of the online course is that the more you understand about the nature of stammering (stuttering)— the better you will be able to manage and control it.

Our online course therefore differs substantially from the traditional forms of speech therapy and psychotherapy that are routinely offered to people who stammer. Most notably, in addition to teaching ways to increase your fluency and to reduce your avoidance of feared situations, our online course also explains in detail what is currently known about how and why people start to stammer in the first place. So, as you work your way through the online course you will learn about the various factors that contribute to the onset and persistence of stammering; how it changes over time; and why it sometimes spontaneously goes into remission. The course also provides a broad overview of the most widely used traditional therapy approaches that therapists employ in their attempts to ameliorate it.

By providing you with a broad understanding of the nature of stammering and a clear overview of therapy options, our hope is that the online course will enable you determine for yourself exactly which therapeutic approaches are likely to be best suited to your own unique situation and circumstances.

In addition to teaching you about the nature of stammering, the online course also teaches two  fluency-inducing techniques: “Orchestral Speech” and “The Jump” that the SSEP has been developing and trialling over the past ten years.

These new techniques have been inspired by recent advances in psycholinguistic research. Their key advantage (compared to the more traditional fluency techniques) is that they feel (and sound) very natural, and once learned, they can be employed in everyday life situations with a minimum of effort. This means that, unlike many of the traditional fluency techniques, they do not slow you down or get in the way of your ability to focus on what you want to say.

Together, Orchestral Speech and The Jump should minimize the frequency with which blocks occur and minimize their duration when they do occur. Once learned, these techniques should provide you with a robust degree of confidence that, even if you find yourself blocking, the blocks will be short-lived, and you will still be able to quickly and efficiently get your messages across. As this confidence develops, the tendency to block will reduce and the severity of your secondary symptoms will decrease.

Just to clarify—this online course is indeed, genuinely, completely free. There are no hidden charges. The only thing we ask in return is that you complete the various questionnaires that accompany the course, in order to provide us with feedback of your progress. This is so that we can continue to improve the course for people in the future.

Start the Online Course

Meditation and Mindfulness

In recent years, an increasingly impressive body of evidence has emerged indicating that regular meditation and mindfulness practice can provide significant amelioration of the symptoms associated with a wide range of anxiety and stress-related disorders. This has prompted interest, in the stammering world, in the possibility that mindfulness training may also help people who stammer.

Our own experience of mindfulness practices suggests that such training can indeed help people who stammer in a number of ways, details of which can be found in the Mindfulness and Cognitive Therapies Module of our online course. We therefore wholeheartedly encourage people who stammer to undergo mindfulness training, and to develop their own regular mindfulness practice.

visit the Mindfulness and Cognitive Therapy Module of the Online Course

Mindfulness Activities Hosted by the SSEP

As an additional support, and to further deepen your mindfulness practice, for some years now, the SSEP has been hosting  online meditations and also a variety of residential mindfulness retreats. The retreats currently take place in the village of Etsaut, in the French Pyrenees, and are designed for a maximum of about 10 people. They are of varying lengths – between 3 days and 1 week and are intended for people who already have a basic knowledge and experience of mindfulness.

Click the button below details of upcoming mindfulness events.

Mindfulness Events Hosted by the SSEP

Researching and Documenting the Long-term Effectiveness of our Online Course

It is in the nature of stammering that its symptoms can be relieved in the short-term by almost any form of therapy. As often than not, however, after an initial ‘honeymoon’ period, the initial gains that clients have made gradually disappear, ultimately leaving them little or no better off than before they started.

We believe that in order for therapy to be reliably effective in the long term, clients need to have a clear understanding of how and why the techniques they are asked to practice should work, and they need to know how they can be adapted to the various situations they will encounter in their everyday life. Furthermore, to be reliable, the techniques need to continue to work irrespective of whether or not clients have faith in them.

The only way of determining whether or not our onlinecourse (and other forms of therapy) adequately fulfil these needs, is by continuing to monitor clients’ progress over an extended period of time after whatever therapy they have undertaken has ended.  Unfortunately, to date, very few therapeutic programmes have ever done this. As a result there is very little reliable evidence to indicate which forms of clinical intervention for stammering are effective in the long term and which are not.

The continuing lack of reliable evidence of the long-term effectiveness of speech therapy interventions for stammering has contributed to the failure of health services worldwide to provide adequate funding for such therapy. Instead, other conditions are prioritised for which there is reliable evidence that therapy provides lasting benefits.

We want to help change this unsatisfactory state of affairs. But to do so, we need as many of you as possible to cooperate, by completing the various surveys and questionnaires that constitute our ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of the online course.

Thus, after you start our online course, we will send you questionnaires at 6 monthly intervals for up to 2 years. These questionnaires will enable you to provide feedback regarding which modules of the course you have worked your way through, and which (if any) fluency techniques you have adopted and are continuing to use. Also, at 6 monthly intervals, we will invite you complete a standardized (OASES) self-assessment of stuttering severity. This OASES assessment has been adopted by therapists and researchers worldwide and provides the best possible way of monitoring changes in individuals’ stuttering over time and comparing the effectiveness of different therapy approaches.

By cooperating with this research and responding to our questionnaires and assessments, you will help provide the data that is needed in order to ensure that, for future generations, effective therapy for stammerers becomes properly funded and available – both in the UK (through the NHS) as well as in other countries.

The Perfect Stutter

by Dr. Paul H Brocklehurst (founder of the SSEP)

In this book, Paul discusses his own experiences of stammering and how they affected his life. He then goes on to explore what is currently known about the condition, and he describes in detail the research and experimental findings that led to the development of the SSEP online course.

Read more


Contact

Contact the SSEP

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    Research

    Research collaboration

    Assessing the long-term effectiveness of our Online Course

    It is in the nature of stammering that its symptoms can be relieved in the short-term by almost any form of therapy. As often than not, however, after an initial ‘honeymoon’ period, the initial gains that clients have made gradually disappear, ultimately leaving them little or no better off than before they started.

    We believe that in order for therapy to be reliably effective in the long term, clients need to have a clear understanding of how and why the techniques they are asked to practice should work, and they need to know how they can be adapted to the various situations they will encounter in their everyday life. Furthermore, to be reliable, the techniques need to continue to work irrespective of whether or not clients have faith in them.

    The only way of determining whether or not this is the case, is by continuing to monitor clients’ progress over an extended period of time after whatever therapy they have undertaken has ended. Unfortunately, to date, very few therapeutic programmes have ever done this. As a result there is very little reliable evidence to indicate which forms of clinical intervention for stammering are effective in the long term and which are not.

    The continuing lack of reliable evidence of the effectiveness of speech therapy interventions for stammering has contributed to the failure of health services worldwide to provide adequate funding for such therapy.—Instead, other conditions are prioritised for which there is reliable evidence that therapy does provide lasting benefits. We want to help change this unsatisfactory state of affairs. But to do so, we need as many of our clients as possible to cooperate in our ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of the therapy they have undertaken. By cooperating with such research you can help provide the data that is needed in order to ensure that, for future generations, effective therapy for stammerers becomes properly funded and freely available.


    Publications

    PUBLICATIONS

    Books, Articles and Essays describing the research and experiences upon which the SSEP’s online course is based.

    The Perfect Stutter

    by Dr. Paul H Brocklehurst (founder of the SSEP)

    In this book, Paul discusses his own experiences of stammering and how they affected his life. He then goes on to explore what is currently known about the condition, and he describes in detail the research and experimental findings that led to the development of the SSEP online course.

    Read more


    About us

    SSEP – Stammering Self-empowerment Programme

    About the Stammering Self-empowerment Programme

    Helping people who stammer achieve their full potential for fluent speech and successful communication.

    We have been fully operational since the Autumn of 2012, when we started by running a series of intensive courses in Macclesfield (Cheshire) near Manchester, UK. In August 2014 we changed the way we run the SSEP such that, as from August 2014, we have made the entire course available online, so you will be able to do it at home in your own time.


    The Programme’s long-term aims are:

    To work together with stammerers, researchers, and clinicians to develop new, more effective ways of helping people who stammer achieve their full potential for fluent speech and successful communication.

    To provide a free service that makes this help accessible to as many people as possible.

    Our experiences of working with people who stammer have highlighted to us the need for an approach that provides participants with sufficient understanding of their condition to enable them to work out for themselves what changes they can make in order to successfully manage it. We are developing the Stammering Self-empowerment Programme in order to fulfil this need. In particular we are aware of the importance of providing participants with techniques that are easy to employ, and that they can rely upon, in everyday life. Thus, the techniques we teach are designed to provide participants with the confidence that, even if they do block, they will still nevertheless be able to quickly and effectively get their messages across. Such confidence then leads to a reduction in blocking – the core of the disorder.

    About the Founder

    Dr Paul Brocklehurst – Founder of the SSEP

    I have a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Edinburgh, and degrees in Speech Therapy (De Montfort University, Leicester) and Psycholinguistics (The University of Edinburgh).
    I have specialised in stuttering research and therapy since 2007. I'm also a person who stutters.


    I started stuttering suddenly when I was 3 years old. Its onset coincided with being hospitalised with a high fever. Mostly, I produced blocks. I also developed the habit of using force to try and push the words out, as well as head-jerks and other sudden movements.

    Between the age of 5 and 14, I had ongoing speech therapy from a number of different therapists, However, although some of the techniques they taught me helped in the clinic, I found them practically impossible to employ in real-life speaking situations, and the severity of my symptoms continued to increase. At the age of 18, when I first started medical school, my symptoms – which now also included social anxiety – became more severe than ever, ultimately leading me to drop out.

    I then moved to Germany, where I eventually joined a Zen group and started a regular practice of mindfulness and meditation. Then gradually, things started to change. The first change was that I developed a robust sense of self-esteem. Then, I started to find myself able to resist the temptation to use force to push through my blocks, and I stopped producing extreme secondary symptoms. Consequently, my stuttering became much less severe.
    In the years that followed I returned to England, qualified as a practitioner of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, studied diet and nutrition, and founded a wholefood cooperative called “Nothing but Wholefoods” in Peterborough where I lived. Although my stuttering was now mild most of the time, blocks still occurred, and when they did they still sometimes lasted an inordinately long time. So, despite the overall reduction in its severity, my blocks still posed an obstacle to communication, and I was still afraid that I may relapse.

    My situation remained much the same until, at the age of 42, I read about a new psycholinguistic theory of stuttering called the “Covert Repair Hypothesis” which posited that the primary symptoms of stuttering occur when people try too hard to avoid making speech errors. This theory impressed me and from that time onwards, I made a conscious effort not to avoid speech errors and to just carry on speaking regardless of the accuracy of what came out. Almost immediately, I found that my blocks became substantially shorter – so short, that they no longer posed a problem, and my fear of stuttering finally started to disappear.

    Once I was confident that the fear had finally gone, I returned to university, gained a first-class honours degree in Speech Therapy (at De Montfort, Leicester), and then moved to the University of Edinburgh where I completed a masters’ degree in Psycholinguistics and a PhD in experimental psychology – researching the relationship between speech errors and stuttering.

    In 2012, after gaining my PhD, I set up the “Stammering Self-Empowerment Programme”, the aim of which was to develop a new therapeutic approach to stuttering based on a combination of the psycholinguistic theory that I had researched at Edinburgh and the mindfulness practice that had helped me so much. Ever since then, I have been working with people who stutter refining and perfecting this new approach and adapting it to stutterers’ differing needs. The main outcome of this work has been the development of the Stammering Self-Empowerment Programme’s free Online Course for people who stutter. Over the past few years, after much experimentation, this new approach has started to bear fruit, insofar as a proportion of the people who stutter who work their way through online course report that it has brought them significant lasting relief – both from their overt stuttering symptoms as well as from the fears and anxieties that accompany it.