For each client who is interested in participating in individual therapy, group immersion programs, or various workshops at the American Institute for Stuttering (AIS), we require an initial consultation. While we make efforts to answer any and all questions before scheduling the consultation, we wanted to provide five main things that you can expect in your first interaction with an AIS therapist.
5 Things to Expect in a Consultation at AIS:
You will talk about your individual experiences and discuss your personal concerns
To best tailor therapy towards your specific needs, you will complete a thorough case history and will discuss information about the physical components of your stuttering, thoughts and emotional impact, personal avoidance behaviors, and previous therapy history. Many people tell us that they have never talked about their speaking fears prior to coming to AIS; you will have the opportunity to speak openly about your feelings related to stuttering and will learn how therapy can work to reduce speaking fears.
You will learn current, accurate information about stuttering, including causal factors, modern therapeutic approaches, self-advocacy and legal issues.
We know that there is much contradictory information about stuttering out there. During your consultation, you will learn what current research tells us about the science of stuttering. We will discuss why many therapies only bring about temporary fluency. You will learn that for most people, therapy is NOT about practicing speech “techniques” to be fluent. Many people who stutter tell us that they have already had lots of therapy and that it just doesn’t work. They are surprised to find out that there is still much they can do to speak more confidently and stutter more easily and openly.
You will begin to establish helpful, functional goals for your therapy
You are the most important source of information when it comes to setting your own specific therapy goals. Together, you and the therapist will discuss if and how therapy might be beneficial, and will set some initial goals. You will likely find yourself feeling excited about the many possibilities. Some examples may include:
“I want to feel more confident speaking on the phone.”
“I would like to be more comfortable meeting and making friends.”
“I want to order exactly what I want while I am out at a restaurant.”
“I would like to work on my communication skills and confidence in my job search.”
You will begin to “demystify” your own stuttering
Many describe their stuttering as something that feels like an “out of body experience.” Stuttering can be confusing- you may wonder why you are so fluent in some situations and stutter so much more in others, or why it sometimes feels like you can’t breathe when you block. All people who stutter do so differently. For some, there is great physical struggle. Others are “covert,” all the while working to hide their stuttering. During the consultation, you will have many of your questions answered and will map out your individual “stuttering fingerprint.” In so doing, you will come to better understand your own stuttering and what you can do to become a more joyful, authentic communicator.
You will leave with a plan of action in place
At the conclusion of the consultation, you can expect to leave with concrete recommendations about individual therapy, group therapy, or participation in any of our other programs (e.g., Immersion program, Tuesday Night Support/Practice group, Public Speaking workshops, etc.). In addition, you will be equipped with resources to facilitate your education about stuttering and connect you with immediate support from others who stutter based on your current level of readiness, needs and interest. When you leave AIS after your consultation, you will feel more empowered and excited to continue your journey toward Speaking Freely and Living Fearlessly!
Ready to schedule your consultation?
You can benefit from a consultation if you:
Avoid speaking situations and opportunities for fear of stuttering.
Find the act of speaking to others to be a physical and/or mental struggle.
Experience negative emotions such as guilt, shame, or anger related to your stuttering.
Rely on previously learned “speech tools” to be fluent that are not reliable/consistently effective.
The American Institute for Stuttering is a leading non-profit organization whose primary mission is to provide universally affordable, state-of-the-art speech therapy to people of all ages who stutter, guidance to their families, and much-needed clinical training to speech professionals wishing to gain expertise in stuttering. Offices are located in New York, NY and Atlanta, GA, and services are also available Online. Our mission extends to advancing public and scholarly understanding of this often misunderstood disorder.
Mark O’Malia, M.S., CCC-SLP
As a person who stutters, Mark has an in-depth understanding of the unique challenges that stuttering can create in an individual’s life.