What To Do If Therapy Isn't Working

Mother with son in a clinic waiting room; therapist talking to another mother with a baby

Tips on what to do if stammering therapy isn't working for you or your child.

Are you having doubts about the therapy that you or your child is 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 next. 


Is something not right about the therapy you or your child is receiving? 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. 
  • 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 young adults and adults are less likely to stop stammering altogether. See What is Stammering? However, therapy will help you manage the way you stammer and how you think and feel about it.
  • Are you/is your child not enjoying therapy? Are you, or does your child seem reluctant to go? If so, why? Depending on your child's age, ask for their opinion — are they 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/your child 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/your child needs right now? If you or your child are not particularly bothered by stammering, is this the right time for therapy? Would helping teachers, family members or friends understand about stammering be more useful?


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 our Options for Adults and Options for Children & Teenagers pages. 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. If you're an adult, 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. For parents, we have parent-led support groups regularly throughout the year. Email familysupport@stamma.org for details.

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.  


Contact the Action for Stammering Children helpline. You can speak to a speech & language therapist who specialises in stammering. Call 020 3316 8100, weekdays 9am-5pm.

Join an online group like the STAMMA Facebook group. Lots of parents are members there, so you could ask them questions. Or there's the UK Network of Parents for Children who Stammer Facebook group.