My Quest for Fluency

Ever since I realized that I had disfluency in my speech, I have been craving to find fluency. And thus began an endless journey- a quest for fluency! The first time I was introduced to formal speech therapy was when I was 10. A relative recommended a speech therapist practicing at the Goa Medical College, a government medical college and hospital. My parents took me to the therapist. The therapist wanted to hear me talk, and asked me to describe my daily activities after I get up from my bed. As I did so, I remember, I hardly had any blocks. The therapist then asked me to stiffen my hands, legs, tongue, jaw and neck muscles, as he demonstrated. He told my parents that my I.Q. level was high and that I tend to think faster than I talk, leading to stuttering. He prescribed that I do those muscle stiffening exercises every morning. I did those exercises for a few days on my own, and for a few more days due to my parent’s coaxing. But the blocks and the repeating words didn’t reduce. Three years later (at 13) our family doctor recommended another speech therapists in a private hospital. This speech therapist was a young girl in her late 20s, and told my parents that a therapy cannot be possible with just one sitting (referring to our previous failed therapy), but has to be continuous for a period of time. She called me for an hour-long sitting every Saturday. She taught me a few techniques like talking one syllable at a time, by tapping fingers. She made me do story-telling with her techniques. As homework she told me to keep a paper with me and every time I stuttered keep a tally of the same on this paper, separately for each day. She then assessed this paper on Saturday during the sitting. I had a tough time maintaining this tally, as my classmates in school began to pin-point- “You just stuttered, but you didn’t add it on that paper! You are cheating!” It also made me over-conscious about my stutter. I tried speaking while tapping my fingers, but many a times I got carried away with the blocks and forgot that I had to tap my fingers. It was during my initial days of college that stammering really began to bother me and affect my personality. My next stop in search of fluency landed me to Partha Bagchi of the Stammering Cure Centre fame in Bangalore. I have mentioned about my experiences here in detail in my previous post. I attended a 15-day crash course conducted by Partha Bagchi. For a while, I could gain some control on my stammering. But in a few months time, the relapse occurred which lead to a feeling of resentment towards my stammering. During Partha Bagchi’s course we were told that the fact that we stammer is imbibed in our sub-conscious mind, and when that thought is replaced by thoughts which are contrary, then stammering would automatically disappear. I then read about Hypnotherapy as an effective way to give suggestions to sub-conscious mind. I went to a Hypnotherapist named Mr. Rajsingh Sawant in Kolhapur (Maharashtra). He had advertised 100% cure for stammering on newspapers. I had several seatings with him for 2 days- but to no gain. Then there was a 2-day workshop on self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy by Dr. Sajan Galani in Goa. He promised to teach us a lot of things like gaining full control on one’s sub-conscious mind, winning people’s mind, finding answers to one’s problem through hypnotherapy and even go back to our previous lives and not to forget- 100% cure for stammering. I participated in that 2-day workshop. During the workshop, he had a hypnosis session with me, in which he ‘hypnotized’ me with his suggestions that I am a very good public speaker, and I can speak very well. He insisted that I should buy his audio cassettes of suggestions and hear it as I practice self-hypnosis for a few weeks and my stammering would be gone! I bought the cassettes and tried self-hypnosis for a few weeks. But when it really mattered, everything seemed to fail! The thing that finally worked for me is the time when I stopped chasing fluency, and started working on my attitude and mindset. With acceptance, the hurt associated with stammering started to melt down. Instead of focussing on fluency, I started to focus on speaking effectively with my stammer, and life seemed to be better. I began to think that it’s okay to stammer… as long as I have been able to convey my message. And when I took this path, I slowly noticed that I was beginning to manage my stammering quite more effectively, than what I was able to do while trying to be fluent.

9 Comments

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  1. Sachin 7 years ago

    Dear Harish
    Your post brought back many memories- painful, sad- from my own life. I too chased cure over a long eventful course- full of disappointments. The way we have an undeniable faith in life after death, same way, I had a undying faith that one day, I will speak like "normal" people, totally cured! Finally one day, I met Ananta's master- and a curtain lifted. All the sadness, sense of failure went out of the window and was replaced by a sense of wholeness. Like you, I realized that Accepting my difficulties, and dealing with them in a practical common sensical way (rather than chasing a magical fluency offered by XYZ) was the most spiritual act for me.. Life changed ever since. My communication improved by leaps and bounds.
    I never went to any therapist for any treatment. Went to Dr Ajit Harsingani, Pune, just once, who charged me Rs 3000 for essentially giving me the diagnosis!
    This is why, I am great believer in self-help, acceptance and working on communication skills..

  2. admin 7 years ago

    Yes! I think we all have similar stories… Going in search of various options, and still trying the new ones in the hope that it might just work! 🙂

    This trait of PWS, is often misused and is sometimes seen as a business opportunity! Sad but true!

  3. admin 7 years ago

    "I began to think that it’s okay to stammer… as long as I have been able to convey my message" . You have summarised the whole concept so well!! Amazing!!

  4. Anonymous 7 years ago

    Hey Harish,

    Your experience sounds kind of similar to mine, including Partha Bagchi.

    I only saw a myself living a fulfilled life if I could speak fluently. Any stammerer I met, who had failed with speech therapy felt like a loser.

    When I was working abroad, I met stammerers who were managing their stammer and, were living fulfilled lives. Some were doing things I considered amazing – salesmen, primary school teachers,executives.

    I gave up on speech therapy and courageously started to speak with the struggle. It does not help always if you struggle too much to speak.

    I have found accepting stammering has helped reduce the fear and flight tendencies. This helps me focus on reducing the severity of my stammer allowing me to communicate better. Eventually, sometimes there is a feeling of peace with myself than when I worry or pretend to be fluent.

    Best Regards,
    Yadgar.

  5. admin 7 years ago

    hi harish nice write up..and posted in very right time(for me)….since last one month iam not trying to achieve any fluency ….rather training my self , not to react in any situation whether i speak fluently or not(tough task) …….. one need motivation to walk in a tough path ,thanks for posting ur write up in right time

  6. Akash 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this Harish. I also went to many speech therapists, psychiatrists and also relied on alternative (or irrational one may say) healing branches like Hypnosis, Reiki, Astrology etc. I also feel that I am better off in terms of speech. Does this mean that any of these therapies helped? Could that be a result of combination of all of therapies? I don't think so. The improvement is either automatic (yes there is a theory that with age, stammering tends to decreases)and/or induced by change in the mindset. Acceptance as well as advertising the fact that I stutter has really helped me. I try to bring to stammering even into my routine talks as and when it is relevant to do so and many a times it is.

  7. admin 7 years ago

    so very nice it is to see how acceptance helps. thanks for sharing your story harish. the way i see it, "you are doing just fine!"

  8. savio 7 years ago

    I too struggled all my life….but never gave up….now since iam 43 i have lots of meditation added to my prractise…however i long the need of stammering clubs where we come together and practise communication skills…

  9. Mahesh Gaonkar 3 years ago

    very Nice thanks you @Harish

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