Wednesday, August 02, 1995

Just say no?

In response to Michael Sylvester's definition of "voluntary" as any "self-initiated behavior performed, which upon "post reflection," allows for the possibility that one had the choice to perform or not perform that behavior."

And by that definition you view blocking as voluntary? I would have to be
aware of the possibility of blocking (and choose not to..) at the
beginning of every sound I am about to make... I am afraid that would
put a serious damper on my communication (and pleasure in it). This
is not like choosing to eat chocolates or not..

Response to Michael's comment on some people's recognition of the therapeutic value of some of his propositions.

Nobody who has commented on your views has denied the therapeutic value they
had on you. Several, including myself, have commented positively on the value
of the block management ideas you have expressed. I also mentioned that
if a "just stop it" attitude worked for you, it may work for others, and
that's a good thing for everyone to know. As Chris Stephens cogently pointed
out, this is quite different from an endorsment of causality. If volition
were the simple cause of stuttering then chronic stuttering would be
a psychological problem. Far from a "mythical idea" this has caused
great harm to our community and has taken centuries (millenia?) to
debunk. The notion of resurrecting it "for therapeutic value" as a way
to emphasize that we do have some control over our speech, may, I state
again, have some value for others as it apparently had for you, but,
far from "user friendly", it could also cause great harm, and, in this context, I would recommend that any SLP exercise EXTREME caution in adding this to their "bag of tricks".

I also see danger in the resurrection of this notion in the media. I can
just see a 20/20 segment: "Stuttering Solved... just say no!".

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