October 16, 2007
View Max’s Presentation of how he made “his fear go down every time he speaks”.
June 26, 2006
Note: If you would like to speak with the author, contact Bob Bodenhamer at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will contact the author for you and arrange a possible conversation between the two of you. English is a second language for the author so please overlook some grammatical errors. I wanted to leave it in the author’s own words without my editing.
My Experience as a PWS with NLP/NS
I started stuttering since I was a little. As soon as my parents understood that I had a stutter, they started taking me to a different doctors / speech therapists. I had many therapies, seen many speech therapists but nothing helped. Almost all doctors I have seen said that there is no cure for stuttering and maybe when I get older my speech would improve. They recommended me to read slowly and loudly when I’m alone. I spent hours, days reading slowly and loudly, but as soon as I spoke I would stutter again.
I graduated from school and went to study abroad. I went to the university in England. I was lucky because no one never made fun of me, neither at school nor at the university. To be honest, my stutter was not bothering me during all these years. Then, upon graduation from the university in London I returned home to Azerbaijan and started working for the company. This is where and when my stammer started bothering me. My job involves lots of communication and stammering was a big barrier. After a couple of years I came to London again to work. I decided that it was a time to do something about my problem and give another try to resolve it.
British Stammering Association
I started seeing traditional speech therapist locally. She taught me how to control my speech, but it was very hard to control it in all situations. Once again, she suggested I should read slowly and loudly when I’m on my own. My speech improved, but that was not exactly what I was trying to achieve, I could not speak fluently. She suggested me to become a member of British Stammering Association. After joining British Stammering Association, I decided to go into one of the courses of BSA. I met with the head therapist of BSA and we talked about which course would be most suitable for me. At the end of the conversation, the head therapist told me that there was no need for me to attend any of the courses because I was already doing everything that was offered by the course with my speech therapist. I did not know what to do.
One day, when surfing through BSA website I saw a book by Bob Bodenhamer. Bob stated, “if you can speak fluently in one context, you can learn how to speak fluently in all contexts”. I bought that book and read it. Also I spoke to my speech therapist about it. It is a very interesting book which covers completely different approach of resolving stutter. Then I decided to attend a course in London by Bob Bodenhamer who is a Neuro-Linguistics / Neuro-Semantic therapist-coach. Bob Bodenhamer is actually one of the founders of Neuro-Semantics field of study (more information on Neuro-Semantics can be found at www.neurosemantics.com website).
Mastering Blocking & Stuttering Workshop
The course ran for 5 days at Imperial College in London. I met a lot of people on the course who stutter. Also there were people who actually recovered from stammering. It was unbelievable, I did not know that it was possible to recover from stuttering. On this course I discovered that my problem was not just a speech problem (mechanical/physical), but a problem of experience in communicating with others. Why I never stammered when I was on my own and why as soon as I went out and started speaking to somebody I would have had blocks? Bob Bodenhamer explained to us, participants of the course, that stuttering is not a speech problem but a mental one. It is all those bad/negative thoughts/feelings that we have behind speaking that trigger us to block. He taught us how to discover those negative thoughts and then, by using NLP/NS patterns, how to apply positive thoughts onto those negative thoughts so that we can speak fluently. I found all information crucial and very useful.
On the course, we worked/practiced in pairs. Bob explained to us different NLP/NS patterns-techniques, how to apply them in order to speak fluently. The object was to achieve the so called “Resource State”. Resource State is any state that when you are mentally there, you feel calm, relaxed, courageous, confident, self assertive, brave, fearless etc. And when you are actually in that state the stutter disappears/dissolves. I spoke to Bob during the course, also I communicated with people who recovered from stuttering and people who stuttered like me. Also during last days of the course there was a panel where people who recovered from stammering were telling their stories, how they achieved total fluency. They also answered our questions.
I started applying methods/techniques Bob taught us on the course and from the book which was distributed to us at the beginning of the course and while still on the course I started to feel the difference, my speech started improving. I was very excited, this improvement in my speech encouraged me to work even harder on my speech. One thing I know for sure: it is not easy, if one wants to achieve fluency, one has to work very hard. After the course I had an appointment with my speech therapist and told her about the course. She was very interested in the things I discovered. So, as I was saying, my speech was improving. I bought a couple of NLP books when I was on the course upon recommendation of Bob Bodenhamer. I read book from the course, went through my notes taken during the course and read books which I bought on the course.
The better my speech was becoming the more I was practicing. I became almost fluent, just had occasional blocks. 3 months passed since I finished the course and I had a relapse. I started having more and more blocks. I did not know what was happening and was trying to get back on track, but speech was becoming worse and worse. I had a big question in my mind: What is happening? Why am I blocking again? I made another appointment with my speech therapist and told her about what was happening. Also I send an e-mail to Bob Bodenhamer explaining in details what was actually happening. He replied to me with a few suggestions on what should I do next.
I felt I needed professional help. I needed to be directed. I had a one month break because I felt that I was very tired mentally, this mental work that I did when practicing is quite tiring and I felt that I needed a break. After the break, I did revision of everything I had done before. I looked through my notes, read the book again from Bob’s course. Also I started to read a lot of articles on NLP/NS from the websites, particularly from www.neurosemantics.com website (very good website). I read articles from BSA written by people who recovered from stuttering (John Harrison, Alan Badmington etc.). Also I read book by John Harrison “How to conquer fears of speaking before people.”. I did a research.
Then I decided to contact local NLP speech therapist upon recommendation of Bob Bodenhamer. That therapist also attended Bob’s course and had a very good understanding/knowledge in Neuro-Semantics. I definitely knew that I had to continue with NLP/NS. We had a few appointments with the NLP therapist over the phone. Therapy helped, I was becoming fluent again and decided to have a therapy with Bob Bodenhamer. We agreed and started the therapy. I needed a guidance/directions from a professional.
During our therapy we (Bob and I) discovered what was actually behind my blocking i.e. what was the meaning I was giving to those negative thoughts that caused me to block. We did some work to heal these negative thoughts and feelings. Bob took me through Drop Down Through Pattern (one of the many NLP/NS patterns but the most successful one). Then we discovered my “Resource State” and applied that state to all those negatives thoughts. How did we do this: mentally I went and was in a place where I had a block. I saw another person/people through my own eyes and was there, experiencing the block again. Once I was there, I stepped outside the experience and saw myself and other person/people I was talking to. Then I had to try and understand what was actually going on in my mind, around me. What/how was I thinking? What/how I was feeling? I felt that the other person was judging me, how I spoke. I thought I had to speak fast because speaking fast means you are smart, intelligent. I resisted experiencing my emotions. I was perfectionist.
I thought that stammer was protecting me from saying a wrong thing i.e. English is not my first language and sometimes when I did not know how to say something I would stammer so that people think that I stammer but do not actually know what to say or how to say something. Then I discovered my “Resource state” and applied it to all those negative, unnecessary thoughts. And when I am actually in that “Recourse state” stutter disappears/dissolves. I feel calm, relaxed, confident, courageous, brave, fearless, self assertive etc. When I speak I forget about how I speak. I concentrate on what am I saying, not on how to say it. One has to be able to operate unconsciously from one’s “Resource State” every time one speaks.
Now I am getting to the point where I actually enjoy conversation, total experience, not just talking. I know it will take time and I remember that it will take as long as it will take. I have to practice, practice and practice on the things we covered with Bob and don’t be discouraged if I block sometimes. I don’t have to beat myself up for the blocks that I have. I have to learn from them, replace failure with feedback. There are so many things to say that I did, do and are still to be done, because first I learned, then I practiced and then, at some point I just forget about these things and give up control to my “Resource State”. That is where and when I speak fluently.