Rebecca, Stammering therapy evening course - freedom to speak
'I have benefitted enormously from the Interiorised Stammering 24-week course. I wasn't sure in the first session, because of my fear of speaking in groups, but I am so glad I did it. This fear itself began to diminish during the course, as I became more comfortable speaking up in the group, and enjoyed it too. The group dynamic is very supportive and the tutor, Carolyn, encourages a very thoughtful approach.'
'I really liked the course structure; split into the three areas of: acceptance and identification; desentisation; modification. I can see why the desentisation section is the longest one, and I think the one that helped me the most. I now feel far less sensitive about my stammer and far less fearful of what others think. I have learnt it isn't the big deal I've grown up thinking it was. This in turn has helped my speech, as I am more relaxed and use less tension. The modification techniques have been really useful for getting through problem words and sounds. Many previously feared situations don't have the same effect, and I feel like a weight has lifted. The course made me more confident about myself in many ways.'
Yu, 7 day intensive stammering therapy course
"I would like to share my recent progress. Desensitization has worked well in the past three months and people around me all say that I have improved a lot. I have the confidence to talk to strangers and my social anxiety has reduced a lot. I now enjoy meeting and talking to strangers in my career and life. I have more confidence and patience and hold a strong belief that as long as I keep using the knowledge and techniques you guys taught me, I will progress more in the future. I am doing my best to become a self-reliant person and reduce all the avoidance that I hate. I am stepping out of my comfort zone every week and expanding to a larger territory and I enjoy it a lot! Attending the City Lit therapy is the best decision I have made in the past 10 years. Great course and thank you so very much!"
Samara Riaz, Stammering therapy evening course - freedom to speak
"Stammering has always been a sensitive issue for me. For so long, I felt so hopeless in regards to my stammer and really needed help to overcome it. After some consideration, I enrolled for the Stage 1 stammering therapy course. The course was intensive and every session was thorough which made it such an amazing course to partake in. I don’t have enough words to describe how effective the course is and how well the course is managed. Every session was different and insightful. I remember my journeys home and reflecting on the sessions and just thinking how amazing and discreetly you start to overcome your stammer from session one. Without completing this course I would not be as confident and happy as I am with my stammer. I’m proud to say my stammer is no longer my enemy. Thank you so much to City Lit, you are an amazing institution and I hope that you continue to change lives. A special thank you to Natasha (the speech and language therapist who facilitated the course), my peers, the rest of the speech therapy team and also the British Stammering Association."
RK, age 34, Stammering therapy evening course - freedom to speak
'I’ve had a stammer since I was a child.'
'In everyday life, I’ve been perceived as being a ‘non-stammerer’ to others, even to lots of people close to me. This was due in part to the ‘mild’ nature of my stammer (i.e. my speech is not that different from that of my interlocutors) and also due to the various techniques I used to avoid my mild stutters being perceived by them (e.g. by using fillers, pauses and other avoidance techniques). The anxiety that I felt of being seen to stammer was variable, ranging from insignificant with some people and extremely high in other situations.'
'I have come to learn (or rather admit to myself) that the term a ‘mild' stammer is a misnomer. Even with a ‘mild’ stammer, my speech impediment has had a significant negative effect on me at times. For example, it had a negative impact during my oral examinations at university where I experienced performance-anxiety and where I was not able to show my true abilities due to my thoughts, feelings and anxiety in those situations.'
'I wasn’t able to admit to myself that I needed help, or ask for help, until I had needed help for a long, long time.'
'After years of hiding my stammer, I finally came to face a crisis. My toughness and hiding had dragged me into a deep, dark hole.'
'That was how I ended up starting this course in September 2016.'
'It ended up being life-changing.'
'Through therapy and lots of hard work, I have worked through many issues, including my negative thoughts and feelings about stammering. The group has given me expertise, support and guidance. I feel, and am, a whole lot better. I see future oral examinations or presentations of any kind as a challenge to be welcomed, not a situation that will induce panic or failure in me, something to avoid. That’s huge.'
'Over the course of several months, you will start to work on all the ways in which you hide. You will see after 6 months how far you have come. I recommend this course and the course tutor very highly.'
Alastair, Stammering therapy evening course -freedom to speak'
I became aware of my stammer as a teenager, and I tried to hide it throughout my time in higher education. I was fearful that my speech would hold me back in terms of getting the level of job I sought after, so signing up to a speech therapy course seemed like the logical step in terms of dealing with my negativity. I had never undertaken speech therapy prior to attending this course, so came onto it not really knowing what to expect. What this course brings is a group environment where everybody is supportive of one another and willing to share their own personal experiences, which often have themes that resonate throughout the entire group. The tutor carefully guides you through each stage of the course; helping you to identify your stammering behaviours, address your negative thoughts and feelings, before assisting you by way of modification techniques. This course has helped me to become so much more accepting of my stammer to an extent I wouldn’t have foreseen as possible. My confidence around my speech has grown so much in a short space of time, and I now find myself leaving home to take on a new challenge abroad, working in a job that only last year seemed such a distance away.'
Ana, Stammering therapy evening course - freedom to speak (interioritised stammering)
'I came across City Lit´s speech therapy at a point in my life where I felt hopeless and trapped at work. I had been struggling with my stammer my whole life, trying to hide it at all costs. However, I felt emotionally exhausted and no longer able to avoid certain situations at work. Moreover, I wanted to progress professionally and achieve greater things. I thought I deserved to give myself that chance. This motivation made me take that step forward and attend the first session.'
'Before attending this therapy, I had never spoken about my stammer or even said the word `stammer´. The prospective of sharing this secret with a group of strangers was surreal and terrifying. However, I soon could see myself in my mates, realising we all had the same fears and done similar crazy avoidance. Because of this I think we all soon felt comfortable and in a safe environment, where we could be ourselves. Confidential, non-judgemental, inspiring, fun and positive are some of the words that come to my mind when I look back to this therapy. We all created a real support system that even trespassed the actual classroom and that still stands. We did a lot of self-analysis and modification techniques, we learnt to receive feedback on our stammer and to establish goals for each week, goals that were adapted to our own personal rhythm. We also met some very inspiring people who came in to share their successful stories.'
'Suddenly, I found myself speaking about my stammer in job interviews, discussing my stammer with my family and actually saying the word `stammer´. I no longer feel as bad when I stammer and I don´t replay that moment in my head long afterwards. This 24-week programme has allowed me to gradually face my fears and come to terms with my stammer. I definitely still have a lot of work to do. I still have fears and I still need to work on my thoughts and emotions. However, I don´t feel as terrified as I felt before and I actually feel strong to try new things.'
'I really appreciate the help I got from City Lit and I really appreciate the friends I met. Their stories, their efforts, their successes and set-backs, have all been incredibly inspiring. I think there is no possible failure when you attend this course. Whatever small or big achievement, you will understand yourself better, you won´t feel alone, you will learn helpful techniques and very possibly be empowered to try things you always wanted to do.'
Mark – reflections after attending stammering therapy courses at City Lit
'Recently I attended a two-day Public Speaking in the Workplace course followed by a three-day Acceptance and Commitment Therapy course with City Lit. Since the courses, I have found that I am generally more comfortable with my speech - whether I have the odd stammer or not. I have found that the mindfulness training, a large part of the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy course, has benefitted me also in all aspects of my life. I now feel able to address aspects of my mental well-being and my response to difficult situations in an easier way than before.'
'In terms of my stammering behaviour, I've seen a marked decrease in areas of my life that would usually have seen an increase. For example, I started a new job in mid April and usually this would see a definite increase in stammering in so far as my being in a new environment with new people. This time around I have barely stammered at all - at least to the point of being conscious of it or feeling uncomfortable.'
'As a stammerer I am particularly interested in public speaking - as this seems to be the only area that now causes me a significant amount of angst. I am working on this slowly and intend to attend another Public speaking course soon. However, it was my sister's 50th birthday meal at the beginning of June and I was called upon to do an impromptu speech in front of about 20 guests. I could have refused but I found myself giving the speech. What amazed me was how comfortable I was giving the speech...I was obviously quite passionate about the subject being my sister's milestone...but I was very comfortable taking my time and saying what I needed to say - and without stammering!'
'I think taking the courses at City Lit at the right time in terms of my own development has really helped me in the above situations. I look forward to pushing myself and further public speaking.'
Alison - a student marking 20 years since her course at City Lit
‘I attended a stuttering/desensitization at City Lit course in 1997. Given the 20-year anniversary I wanted to write to say thanks. I frequently say that the intensive course changed my life. Amongst others, I say this to the folks at the support group for people who stutter in my local area, a group that I founded 14 years ago. Last night’s support group meeting was on the topic of “fear”, as several people said “feared word” during our intro at the meeting – we thus explored “what is being feared?". I’m no expert of course, but I feel very lucky to have attended the 3-week intensive course at City Lit as it set me up to be comfortable chairing the support group meetings and "going with the flow” of what people want to talk about. We practice some modification techniques too.
'My job as a professor requires me to do lots of speaking – this morning’s class, for example, was with 350 students with me hooked up to a microphone and prancing around the stage talking and demonstrating what I teach. I did a couple of cancellations, and several preparatory sets. It stills works a treat, although sometimes is more accessible than others. I enjoy playing with intentional stuttering too, usually at research conferences/seminars that I give in various places. Nothing is perfect though, and certain situations (noisy perfunctory dinners with work people, for example) are still to be dreaded – but all very minor compared to where I was 20 years ago.
'I see from online that the City Lit is still going strong, so still changing people’s lives. Fantastic.’