Successful therapy involves more than just a series of good sessions, the clinician saying the “right thing,” or the client feeling good about the process. In truth, the best metric of the success of a counseling interaction is whether the client achieves progress toward making desired changes. In stuttering therapy, this may mean that the client improves his or her speech fluency, communication attitudes, or both. Achieving these challenging goals typically involves a process of change—not just learning a lesson or practicing a strategy but developing new behavior and thought patterns. It also means overcoming roadblocks to success associated with the difficulty in making meaningful changes in one’s life. Part 3 of this course will show how the various counseling microskills reviewed in Part 2 can play a role in helping clients move toward making changes in their lives as shown in the skilled helper model (described in Part 1). The goal will be for clinicians to understand the “big picture” as it relates to helping individuals who stutter improve their ability to communicate and reduce the adverse impact of stuttering on their lives, so they can move through a process of change and overcome roadblocks that may arise. This is the final course in a three part series. Be sure to also watch:
Understanding Counseling and the Process of Change
Skills for Helping Clients Succeed in Therapy
J. Scott Yaruss, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-F, F-ASHA, is a Professor of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Michigan State University. A board-certified specialist in fluency disorders, Dr. Yaruss has served on the board of directors for the National Stuttering Association and as Associate Coordinator for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Special Interest Division for Fluency Disorders. His research examines factors that may contribute to the development of stuttering in young children as well as methods for assessing and evaluating treatment outcomes in children and adults who stutter. Dr. Yaruss has published nearly 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals and more than 100 other articles, papers, and chapters on stuttering. He is author, co-author, or editor of several booklets, books, and brochures on stuttering, including the Overall Assessment of the Speaker’s Experience of Stuttering (OASES), a comprehensive evaluation tool for children, adolescents, and adults who stutter; Early Childhood Stuttering Therapy: A Practical Guide, School-age Stuttering Therapy: A Practical Guide, and Minimizing Bullying for Children Who Stutter (all published by Stuttering Therapy Resources, Inc., a publishing company dedicated to developing useful resources for helping speech-language pathologists help people who stutter. . Dr. Yaruss has been named Speech-Language Pathologist of the Year by the National Stuttering Association and received the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Science Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. Yaruss teaches classes on stuttering and counseling methods for speech-language pathologists and frequently conducts workshops designed to help speech-language pathologists improve their ability to work with individuals who stutter. for more information about Dr. Yaruss’s workshops.
Chapter One discusses the process that people who stutter may go through when deciding to make changes in their speech and communication. Such information is particularly relevant for speech-language pathologists working with people who stutter, because the motivation to change comes from the individual themself, not from outside influences. Understanding how change occurs can help clinicians support their clients as they transition from the process of thinking about changing, to beginning to make changes, to solidifying those changes in their daily lives.
Making changes in one’s life (particularly in one’s communication skills) is challenging. Often, clinicians blame a lack of motivation when change is slow, but motivation may actually play only a small part in determining whether a client will be successful. Recognizing the difficulties inherent in practicing speech strategies and facing fears helps clinicians be more empathetic to the process their clients are undergoing, and this can help them be more supportive in identifying novel means of overcoming roadblocks to success.
Chapter Three shows how the microskills introduced in Part Two fit into the context of the Skilled Helper Model. A specific example of a child who stutters will be used to show the various stages of the model, and different microskills will be highlighted as they support the overall process of change.