I was asked to help an eleven year old boy with his speech. He had been stuttering since he was little and there was no obvious reason for it. He’d been brought up in a loving home and was a happy, outgoing boy with a great family and friends.
His parents had been taking him to speech therapy for years and it hadn’t made any difference. Speech therapists do a wonderful job, but it hadn’t helped this particular boy. He could do all of the exercises when he was in the room but couldn’t put them in to practice when he left.
He came to see me and we spent the first session getting to know each other. When he felt at ease, I told him that he would be stutter free within six sessions if he was totally committed to it. He was about to start secondary school in a few months and didn’t want to be a target for bullies.
Consciously, he didn’t know why he did it. By using hypnosis, we discovered that his speech impediment wasn’t the result of shock or trauma but a decision he had made at four years old.
He came from a family of fast talkers that loved to tell stories. He couldn’t get a word in edgeways and he wanted to share his opinions. In fact, he was desperate to be heard. He found that when he stuttered, everyone would stop and wait for him. They thought they were helping but it only strengthened his belief. His stutter got worse. He had found a brilliant strategy for making people listen to him.
I told him that because he had created the problem, only he could change it. When he accepted that, he made a lot of progress. I took him back in to the past and showed him how to reverse his decision to stutter. I helped to reconcile the part of his mind that stuttered and the part that wanted it to stop. I got him to imagine himself a year from now, making a speech to the whole school.
Sometimes we make a decision without even realising we’ve done it. That decision turns in to a belief and before you know it, it’s running your life. As time goes by, we forget why we started doing it and forget how to delete it. All compulsive behaviour fits this model. Most problems begin as a solution to something else.
He mostly stopped stuttering a couple of days before his birthday. It took him another month to be totally free. I always ask for clients to update me with their progress.
His mother was delighted. I was too. It’s much easier for a therapist to help someone who really wants to change and this boy did. The best hypnotic subjects are humble, imaginative and have no problem following instructions. Kids are good at hypnosis, they haven’t yet learned to stop using their imaginations.