Sheehan Stuttering Center
Publication date: April 2012
Digital Book format: PDF (DRM-Free)
"Easy Stuttering" by Stephen Mereu, Pamela Shanks, and Vivian Sheehan is the result of 50 years of experience and intense study regarding the subject of stuttering. In the introduction, the authors say that the most ideal way to receive help with stuttering is face-to-face with a professional in the field. However, they realize this may not be an option for some who need help with stuttering. This book is designed for such people.
This book is the product of more than fifty years of studying and treating stuttering and stutterers. It consists of articles and assignments in an order we have found effective and should not be used in any other order. Its worth depends on achieving successes with each assignment to overcome habits and attitudes that each stutterer has typically developed in his or her attempts to be fluent. Originally, in the clinic, the assignments contained in this book were weekly projects, but an individual going through this program on their own may take longer than a week to progress to the next assignment (but do not try to shorten the time required to complete each task). What is important is not the time it takes to complete an assignment, but how well you do it.
This book expresses the ideas and concepts of its “originator,” Joseph (Joe) Sheehan, and most of the assignments were originally written by Joe. Joe had guidance from Charles Van Riper in developing his way of working with stutterers, but Joe went on to develop his own philosophy about how to overcome the problems of stuttering. Joe was a very severe stutterer who never gave up, found ways to help himself, and eventually became a professor at UCLA. He devoted his life and energy to helping other stutterers. Through the years of holding a clinic at UCLA, the assignments in this book were developed, used, reused, and modified as he saw ways to improve them. As a clinician and as his wife, I collaborated in running the clinic and then continued his work when his death came to soon for him to finish his mission. This compilation of Joe’s thoughts, wishes, and urges to help others feels good to me as a way of bringing his mission to fruition and to bring some recognition to his genius.
Our philosophy and keynote ideas for therapy stress “no direct attempt to be fluent.” The quest for a sure way to be fluent only perpetuates continued disaster with no real change in attitudes and feelings, and no genuine hope for the future. Real fluency can only be earned through openness, acceptance of one’s stuttering, and an honest attempt to give up avoidance of words, situations, and people, thus conquering the fear both of stuttering and of silence.
Our therapy ideas differ so much from the usual attempts to train a stutterer to be fluent that it is difficult to explain, difficult to teach on paper, and hard to help the stutterer or clinician to accept the idea that success does not necessarily mean sounding fluent, but is experienced by not using tricks to avoid stuttering. It takes courage to continue to face stuttering openly without struggling to cover it up from oneself and from the listener. The best attitude is to accept stuttering and try to do it more easily and openly. This way will lead to more and more permanent fluency with easy communication.