Other Stuttering Therapy Programs

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 by Paul Goldstein
An operant-based fluency program that I failed

This is a review of an operant-based fluency shaping program, founded by Israel Goldiamond, that existed for many decades at the University of Chicago. I tried this program in 1977, hoping to find relief from very severe stuttering. Their strategy was to teach a simple fluency technique based on breathing and phrasing units, and then expect that clients would simply "choose" to use this technique in all situations rather than stutter. Any failure in a situation was regarded as a voluntary choice to stutter to gain some hidden advantage. I learned their technique inside the clinic, but had great difficulty applying it in real-life situations. The clinical staff tried mightily to figure out "why" I was still "choosing to stutter" in the outside world, when it was clear from my in-clinic speech that I had learned the technique. But I knew that I was NOT voluntarily choosing to stutter. A few months later I was told that I was among the 2% of clients who had "failed" their program.