Establishing the consensus: What is stuttering?

This article gives consice explaination as to what is stuttering.

What is stuttering?

When people write to me asking about stuttering, and the precise steps I took to reach freedom, it becomes clear that they have no idea what stuttering is.

And, how can you find a solution if you don’t know what the problem is? How can you reach a destination if you have no idea where you are heading?

You expect to be given “the ultimate recovery guide”, yet another quick fix that will magically free you from stuttering. I have no such guide, no set of exercises, and even if I gave it to you, lacking a deeper understanding of the problem and its mechanisms, any instructions would seem pointless to you, and wouldn’t work anyway.

You don’t need yet another guide, another technique. What PWS’s do need, however, is to firstly, understand what stuttering is and, secondly, adopt an entirely new approach to dealing with it. By doing this you will be able to gradually dissolve stuttering as opposed to being fighting against, “curing” it or trying to control it.

Let’s see if official institutions provide any answers or clarity.

The NHS’s leaflet «Stammering advice for families» reads: “Stammering or stuttering is an overall label for an interruption in the flow of someone’s speech”.

American National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) states: “Stuttering is a speech disorder characterized by the repetition of sounds, syllables, or words; prolongation of sounds; and interruptions in speech known as blocks.”

Worryingly, the authorities too don’t know what stuttering is and only present the list of its observable manifestations. Moreover, they admit that “the precise mechanisms that cause stuttering are not understood. No commons cause is established.

Researchers that have taken the heavy responsibility of explaining everything from a «scientific» point of view, don’t have the answers either.

They explain thatA lot of what appears to be a research on stammering is not research on stammering. Instead, it’s more general research on the speech-motor system, genetics, language and so on, and people who stammer are just one of the groups tested.”

Aimless drifting. Beating around the bush on the global scale. And today it must stop. Let’s establish the common ground, the consensus NOW.

What is stuttering?

The great many faces of stuttering. The way I see it.

Until now stuttering succeeded in stringing us all along. Ha-ha!  A great many disguises of stuttering. It presented itself as autism, asymmetry of brain hemispheres, underdeveloped articulators, and even schizophrenia.

Contrary to “scientific” beliefs stuttering is not a physical [or tangible problem] but is deeply rooted in your psychology.

If there was a “tangible” physical impairment to your brain or articulators, you would not be able to speak fluently on your own, sing, talk effortlessly with children and animals. You wouldn’t experience those glimpses of “unexplained fluency” when you forget yourself for a moment, and begin to speak without a shadow of disfluency.

Having a physical malfunction means you would stutter non-stop, regardless of a situation or setting.

Stuttering originates in your Belief system [or unique set of principles which you unconsciously refer to interpret your everyday reality i.e. good or bad].

One day you came to believe and associate the simple act of speaking with something very unpleasant, distressing, dangerous or even punishable. It doesn’t matter what had precisely happened to you, but since then the prospect of speaking began to cause nervousness, anxiety and/or even fear. More on the subject of beliefs, please click HERE.

Propelled by anxiety\fear, every time you must speak you react anxiously, feel panicky, your palms become clammy, you fidget and feel pressured for time, speak too fast, the heart begins to race. In other words, you are frightened.

Fear is activated as a safety reaction to prevent you from engaging with the activity that “last time” caused a highly emotional and painful reaction. Your reptilian brain that activates fear, doesn’t know if the situation was genuinely dangerous to your life or not. All its registers is the fact that last time you felt very distressed. It knows it because you felt bad, overreacted, felt scared, your heart raced, you were emotionally hurt, frightened.

Fear protects you. If you are afraid of something, you won’t do it. When you do feel scared or nervous, your attention turns inward, onto your inner experience. Feelings self-conscious, you worry about what others might think, find it difficult to concentrate, you feel inferior, become painfully aware of what you say and how you say it.

Added to the equation is your “unconscious” fixation on speech as you obsessively and compulsively try to control it.You madly monitor your every breath, every sound, anticipate, rehearse every word in your mind, what if it gets stuck, what filler words, what crutch shall I employ etc. You virtually orchestrate every finest detail.

Consciously controlling speech, you interfere with the very complex process. In fluent speakers, this task is fully delegated to the unconscious mind. You do yourself great disfavour by attempting to micro-manage speaking. As a result, your speech flow is disrupted. Disruptions manifest in what you experience as “repetition of sounds, syllables, or words; prolongation of sounds; and interruptions in speech known as blocks”. In other words, you stutter!

What you focus on expands. You get more of what you so desperately try to avoid.

You believe system sets you up for stuttering even before you open your mouth.

To break the vicious cycle and cease stuttering blocks, you will need to abandon the old Belief system and replace it with a new and effective one. The one that will not interfere with your speech disrupting its nature given flow, pace, rhythm, timbre etc.

Now, that is NOT easy as you have been holding on to your erroneous beliefs for 10, 15, maybe 20 years. Over the years “the programme” has become so ingrained and unconscious you don’t even realise you act and live your life according to it; hence you cannot control your stuttering.

Your stuttering reaction will cease once you alter “your programming” – your Belief system.

In summary:

Stuttering is learned reaction to speaking encounters and is rooted in your psychology rather than being a physical impairment to the brain.

It is unconscious hence you cannot control stuttering and cannot stop stuttering at will. Stuttering is something YOU DO habitually based on your Belief system.

Your stuttering reaction will gradually dissolve once you alter the programming – your Belief system.

P.S. Have you ever considered your stuttering could be caused by your thinking,perceptions and habitual behaviour?

**Please note: Cases where stuttering came out as a result of a traumatic head injury and/or stroke were excluded from my study.

All text is copyrighted. Please include the link to my blog if refer to it elsewhere.

Art work by Tomasz Alen Kopera

Author: Olga Bednarski

8 thoughts on “Establishing the consensus: What is stuttering?”

  1. Wow…this is so interesting, this comment really struck a chord with me “One day you came to believe and associate the simple act of speaking with something very unpleasant, distressing, dangerous or even punishable. It doesn’t matter what had precisely happened to you, but since then the prospect of speaking began to cause nervousness, anxiety and/or even fear.”
    I used to fear speaking to my dad, I used to tell him lies as the age of 8, and if he caught me lying I used to get hit. So the speaking bit was always something that I feared as it had the propensity to cause the fear to come true and I would get hit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. I think first we all need to understand the problem in its finest details and inner working (more on this in future posts), this already can do so much for so many of us especially those who have tried speech therapy before but slipped back and relapsed.


      1. I look forward to these posts. Your blog is amazing! I am stutterer, I have tried many speech therapy but it didn’t worked.
        I believe that I can speak fluent every day but I need hints. I think that your articles may help me. Write, write, write! Your words will help many people who have open mind.
        Best regards.


      2. Hello Monika, and thanks you for your kind words. If you are physically well and sound, there is no reason why you cannot begin to speak effortlessly and fluently at all times. I work everyday to make my findings available for all as soon as possible. I come across many nonsensical ideas about stuttering nearly everyday, some of which are truly upsetting, this prompts to carry on and publish my work. Many thanks for your support. Olga


  2. Amazing article, Olga. You have clearly articulated my understanding of stuttering. I am a speech therapist. I don’t stutter but have a strong passion to help people who stutter speak easily. Not having to think about speaking is the natural way to communicate. People who stutter can achieve this freedom. Thank you 🙏🏽


    1. Hi Linda, thanks for your comment. I m glad speech therapist start to join me on this journey. I think collectively as parents, STL’s, people who stutter and their families we can do so much more and help alleviate stuttering sooner. Best regards, Olga


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