TO THE STUTTERER
If you, the stutterer, have read this book to this point, you've undoubtedly
seen yourself described several times. You understand your form of stuttering
and know how it developed. Perhaps you have experienced a rekindling of
interest in doing something about your problem. You've likely had the traditional
speech therapies and/or psychotherapies and know these are not the solution.
The key, of course, is understanding, and what I have attempted to do in
this book is relieve some of the mystery and ignorance surrounding stuttering.
You may already have experienced a reduction in Base Level Stress as a
The treatment described herein may enable you to profit still further.
Your stress may be so low you may be able to treat yourself. But this book
is not intended as a self-help manual. Self treatment is not advised
- many of the subtleties of the technique must be seen and, in addition,
most patients tend to jump ahead too quickly in their practice regimen
and invariably experience difficulty.
Motivation is your most important asset. If you feel compelled to seek
therapy because of outside pressures from family and friends, you are approaching
it from the wrong direction. The decision must be a personal one, for the
work, while not difficult, requires faith and determination. You will have
to make a major commitment to restructuring a part of your speech. Learning
the Air Flow Technique is not difficult; habituating it to all speaking
situations and extinguishing the fears that lie in the way is where the
Most of us take speech for granted. Having been a stutterer throughout
life you are used to the struggling and the avoidance behaviors, even though
they are physically and psychologically exhausting. But if you have a specific
goal in mind - whether finding a new career, or seeking advancement in
your present one, or simply freeing yourself of this nagging constraint
so that you can become a new person - you will find the strength to sustain
your motivation as you acquire and build a new habit.
Thousands of stutterers have received Air Flow training. The long-term
success rate in our most recent published report is 93.4 percent (see the
Appendix). This high rate of success may appear startling in view of the
poor results of the past. But if you simply reread this book, you will
understand why Air Flow Therapy has achieved such excellent results: it
is based on a theory which does a better job of accounting for stuttering
than any previous theory. The therapy is a direct, logical outcome of the
theory and involves not only a set of techniques, but also the patient's
understanding of how his stuttering began and why the technique is effective.
This understanding is crucial to the outcome and accounts in large measure
for the virtually negligible incidence of relapse.
When I explain the cause of stuttering to patients the usual response
is: "You know, that makes sense. It agrees with what I had always felt.
I knew I wasn't crazy or neurotic." It is my sincerest hope that, having
read this book, you, too, will feel that its contents make sense. The evidence,
based upon the results of work with thousands of people like yourself,
seems to lend support to this conclusion.
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