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What To Do If Adult Therapy Isn't Working

Tips on what to do if you feel that therapy or courses for stammering isn't working for you.

Are you having doubts about the therapy or course you are having? Not quite sure where it's going? Doesn't feel like the right fit for you? Here we've got some tips for what you could do. 

Questions to ask yourself

First up, take a step back and think about what's not working:

  • What are your therapy goals? Does your speech & language therapist (SLT) share those goals? Goals can include all sorts of things. They can be learning to stammer in an easier way. Or managing thoughts and feelings around stammering, or increasing confidence. Or maybe it's speaking up more or learning to say what you want, when you want. Talk about goals with your therapist.
  • What are you expecting from therapy? Are you looking for a cure? It's important to have this discussion early on with your therapist. Many children do stop stammering. But adults and teenagers won't stop stammering altogether. See What is Stammering? However, therapy will help you manage stammering and how you think and feel about it.
  • Are you not enjoying therapy? Are you reluctant to go? If so, why? Are you finding it helpful?
  • Is it the therapy approach? Does it make sense to you? Has the therapist explained what they're doing and why? 
  • Is it the relationship with the therapist? How you get along with the therapist will make all the difference. Sometimes they may not be the right fit. 
  • Is this the right time to have therapy? Are you able to give therapy 100% commitment? Do you have the time to put into practice what you've been learning? Almost all therapy programmes require practise at home between sessions. This is normally about 5 to 10 minutes every day. If there are other things going on for you right now, you might need to prioritise those. Go back to therapy at another time when you have less going on.
  • Is therapy what you need right now? If you are not particularly bothered by stammering, is this the right time for therapy? Would helping family members, friends and colleagues understand about stammering be more useful? Why not share our Guides For Non-stammerers with them?

What you can do

  • Talk through your concerns openly with the therapist and discuss what can be changed.
  • Talk to the manager of the service if needed — it might be possible to work with another therapist in the team.
  • Take a look at the different options available to you. See Adult Stammering Therapy & Courses. Speech therapy is available on the NHS or privately, face-to-face or in some instances via video. Or there are stammering courses.
  • Speak to us. Call 0808 802 0002 or start a webchat. We're here to listen and to give you information and support.
  • Join a community. See our list of Communities & Stammering Groups. Getting together with other people who stammer is a great way of boosting confidence. You can also learn from other peoples' experiences of therapy.

Everybody who stammers is different. Different things 'work' for different people. So don't be hard on yourself if something doesn't suit you. There are plenty of therapy approaches out there. The most important thing is to find what works for you. What you need is likely to change over time.

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Tayo & Bhupinder
A speaker on stage at STAMMAFest 2023

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