Adults - therapy at the Michael Palin Centre

What sort of therapy can I get at the Michael Palin Centre?

Your therapy will be tailored to fit with what concerns you most and what you want to achieve. It may focus on:
 

What are 'speech' skills?

This means learning ways to control how often you stammer, to reduce how much struggle or tension you experience, or to stammer in a more ‘easy’ way and mind less about it. You may have experience of learning speech skills before and you may or may not feel that it is the right approach for you now. Importantly, it is not the only way to move forward towards the goals that you have and indeed feeling more comfortable about stammering openly can be an important idea for many people.

How can therapy help me with how I feel about stammering?

For many people who stammer who are seeking therapy, what affects day-to-day communication and quality of life are thoughts about how people will respond to them if they stammer, emotions related to that, and feeling less confident in themselves as a result. Psychological therapies offer different ways of working with thoughts and feelings about stammering, when this is what people want to work on. Psychological therapies include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) and Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP).

Find out more about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

CBT is based on the idea that what we think affects how we feel as well as how we respond in situations.  As human beings we are naturally attuned to anything that feels threatening, including being rejected or criticised, or feeling that we don't fit in.
 
Some people who stammer feel more anxious in social situations because of their stammer.  In CBT you learn to identify patterns of unhelpful thinking and to use various 'thinking skills' to help you manage challenging situations.  This includes learning how to harness more positive and helpful perspectives and to use problem-solving skills.
 
CBT is widely used in the NHS to help people with a range of emotional concerns including anxiety and depression. Over the last 20 years CBT has increasingly been used in therapy for people who stammer and it has been shown to reduce speech-related social anxiety in adults who stammer.
 
Four therapists at the Michael Palin Centre have formal qualifications in CBT and all have experience in incorporating it into their work with clients.

Find out more about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) (pronounced ACT rather than A.C.T.) aims to help people do things which makes their life richer, fuller and more personally meaningful. Key skills are learning how to unhook from difficult thoughts and feelings so that they have less impact, learning mindfulness skills, getting clear about what you really want life to look like and taking steps towards that. ACT is increasingly being used in work with people who stammer.

Find out more about Solution Focussed Brief Therapy (SFBT)

Solution-focussed Brief Therapy helps people to get a clearer picture of how they want life to be and start making changes in that direction. SFBT conversations are focussed on bringing the strengths and resources that you bring to therapy into sharper focus and on augmenting the changes that you are already making. In SFBT you are encouraged to notice small changes which show that you are building your life in the way you want to.

How can communication skills help me?

Many people find that stammering, or trying not to stammer, affects their natural way of communicating. For example you may look at people less or stop listening to what people are saying if you are thinking about which words to use.
 
While it can be important to explore fluency techniques as well as thoughts and feelings about stammering, therapy can also help you to fine-tune your communication skills so that you come across as a confident and effective communicator.

What if I don't know what I want?

That is fine. Many people don’t know that much about what sort of therapy is available, and when that is the case it can feel daunting starting out. If you feel you would like to explore therapy then the main thing is to get in touch, and the therapist you talk with will help you gradually work out the right direction for you. People often want to explore different ideas, or combinations of things, and the direction that therapy takes can change over time as well. The most important thing to know is that therapy is tailored to everyone individually.

Working on it!