Tuesday, August 01, 1995

To block or not to block

In response to Michael Sylvester's about becoming aware of "internal states that make blocking more likely". "In the final analysis - he says -one can reach the stage where the big question is TO BLOCK OR NOT TO BLOCK!"

If you mean that one can work on creating conditions that will make his/her
blocks less likely, I agree. If you mean that when I find myself in the
clutches of a bad block somehow it's because I "decided" that this time
I'd just go ahead and block... I don't agree.

He comments that he was a "severe stutterer" because he used gross muscular movements to release himself out of blocks.

By that definition I was a severe stutterer too. I once asked a lady for
directions in Boston and I blocked so severely that she thought I was
undergoing a Dr. Jackill (sp?) to Mr Hide (sp?) transformation. She almost
fainted ... I almost did the same out of embarassment.

I suspect this is not, however, the single factor clinicians, and most
stutterers would use to judge severity. I can see how your "diary" method
would work in this case, but, as others have pointed out, when you stutter
on practically every word (or sound) it's a different story.

Let me ask something else that I may simply have missed (sorry if this
is the case). Have you had much contact with other stutterers? If I think
back, it's amazing how little contact I had until I joined the NSP. While
growing up I thought I and an older cousin were the only ones in the
world. Later I avoided other stutterers. In all I have to admit that I had
NEVER heard really severe stuttering until about 10 years ago. I am now
50 and I credit the NSP with allowing me to get over my overwhelming desire
to avoid other stutterers... and in fact opening me up to new ESPECIALLY
wonderful friendships, besides a deeper understanding of the problem.

I continue to find that your "just stop" attitude, motivator, hypothesis...
whatever...is potentially harmful both from the point of view of engendering
"etiology confusion" and most likely providing more continuing frustration than therapeutic help to many. On the other hand, if it helped you it CAN help
others, and, in this context, I am very glad you have been expressing it. I also find that your block management ideas are good. This is one of the wondrous
aspects of this field that has been shown time and time again on this list. Even
completely different and conflicting cause postulates often result in similar
and effective therapeutic ideas.

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