Relief From Stuttering

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“Relief From
Stuttering” is a collection of twelve papers contributed to annual
on-line stuttering awareness conference, by Ellen – Marie Silverman
from 2000 to 2012. Each paper has been reviewed and enriched in the
light of a long career as a therapist, helping people who stammer/
stutter and also two decades of mindfulness practice by the author,
in search for healing and wholeness for herself.
Let me state at the
outset, three reasons why I think the authorship of this book is

  1. She has been
    “there” and back. Yes, she is a person who stutters.
  2. She is a
    therapist, has been well up in Speech language academia, an ASHA
    fellow, a transactional analyst and above all, a serious researcher
    and practitioner of Buddhist mindfulness approaches like Vipassana,
    Shenpa, Lojong, Tonglen
  3. Being a woman and
    a trained researcher, she is offering women’s perspective on a
    predominantly “male” disorder in a “male” world-view.
Now coming to the book-
it can be a difficult task to put together one’s own writing spread
over twelve years, as if a common thread ran through the twelve
papers by design and as if author was one and the same person over
all those years. But Silverman has done a commendable job of finding
this common thread, Laying The Groundwork To Speak With Greater
, and has prefaced the book, with a comprehensive
In this helpful
orientation, she identifies and expands on four fundamental themes
running through this collection of papers:
  1. Honoring self
  2. Fearlessly facing
  3. Charting a path of
    change and
  4. Using helpful
    assessment metrics.
I half expected, the
last theme, to consist of self-rating scales about how often and
how badly I stammered today
kind of stuff! But I was positively
surprised to see that the author was talking about choosing a
metric of our attention and of our effort rather than the results of
our effort-
for obvious reasons.
If we count dis-fluencies, we are missing out the essence of this
complex phenomena. The book is full of such departures from
traditional wisdom and practices, diving into realm of focusing at
our thoughts, intentions, fears and desires, using time-honored
oriental practices. Because, she believes, that we do not just need
to look at how we speak- rather we need to look at ourselves in
totality and at much greater depth. Getting to know ever more deeply
what we believe is critical because, we live what we believe.
This is the first step on the journey of change.
So, this book is not
about speech techniques: there is plenty about that on Internet and
in the clinics. It is all about what goes on behind and beyond
the “block”, the struggle, the silences and the desire to be
quiet since no one would understand. The author has brought in
psychological insights as well as Buddhist approaches, having been
inspired by Eric Berne of “Games People Play” fame, creator of
Transactional Analysis.
The twelve papers cover
various aspects of stuttering: writing a children’s book Jason’s
; a review of stuttering and gender research; Using
stories in recovery, what Mindfulness can offer, Shenpa -a
technique to become aware of the moment of stammering and accepting
it as it is, instead of fighting it off etcetera and finally, Why
Seek Therapy?
So, for Rs 400 (for
Kindle), and Rs 700 (for paperback) from Amazon,
this is a good resource to read, discuss & share in your Self
Help Group, to present to a friend – above all, to keep in your
collection so that you can turn to it every now and then. Because the
concepts this book explores may easily take months, even years, to
put in to practice. The task at hand is not just speaking well
but being a whole new person in every encounter, in every
Finally let us
remember, a very apt Indian saying: If you know who you are, you
are WRONG! 
Because, You, the true Self can never be the
object of “knowing”. Similarly, the twelve papers offered here
are sign-posts, not the destination itself. Hence the need to revisit
them, again and again.
Lastly, we learn
something about the author herself through this book- and not just
her thoughts on stuttering. For many of us, especially young Indian
women, she could easily be a genuine role model of a person with
diverse interests (painting, sculpting for example), achievements
(open captioning for live theatre, business, publishing) and
foremost, living life on her own terms. We congratulate Ellen-Marie
on her achievements and wish her many more years of creativity and
service to others.
may ask questions about matters of interest or express concerns
directly to her at tsss920499
at aol dot com
. You may also want to follow her on tweet, about
mindfulness and stuttering on Twitter @TSSS920499 . Who knows,
stuttering may be the humble beginning of a great journey towards
eternal Now and mindfulness for you…

Comments are closed.

  1. kapil sharmaa 6 years ago

    i will definately buy this book, thanks sachin sir 🙂

  2. lashdinesh 6 years ago

    Thank you Sachin sir for spreading the word and bringing out this in foreground so that we can benefit from it.
    Enjoyed the review and appreciate it!! Thanks again 🙂

  3. Sachin 6 years ago

    Thanks Kapil and Dinesh. Yes, I think- for many of us it is time to take the next step- explore the world behind our stammering- instead of just learning and re-learning a new technique..
    If we are going on an all India tour, we better learn all about our car- how to change tyre, spark plug, etc etc.


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