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Practical Thoughts Blog

Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) appropriate for kids who stutter?

Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) appropriate for kids who stutter?

Yes, indeed! There is quite a bit of literature (and more coming all the time) about the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for people who stutter - not just for anxiety but also for other negative reactions to stuttering. I use the principles of cognitive therapy in my therapy all the timeand, lately, I’ve been integrating more of the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and mindfulness approaches, as well.

Put simply, cognitive therapy approaches help people examine the role that their thoughts play in their daily life experiences. Recognizing thoughts that lead to negative emotions or unwanted behaviors can help people make changes in their livesor, it can help them come to terms with difficult situations they are faching. This is very relevant for people who stutter, of course, because helping people come to terms with stuttering is one of the most important aspects of therapy.

Interested in learning more? There are several great chapters and articles on the use of CBT, ACT and other cognitive methods with people who stutter, so speech-language pathologists can quickly learn how to enhance their existing treatment with these approaches.

You can find some great tutorials from the Stuttering Foundation (https://www.StutteringHelp.org).

And, there are excellent chapters on CBT and ACT in Stammering Therapy From the Inside, and in More than Fluency.

There are even some great journal articles and tutorials about the use of CBT, ACT, and Mindfulness therapies that make a terrific foundation for journal clubs or study groups.

You will also see cognitive therapy methods woven throughout the comprehensive approaches that Nina Reardon-Reeves and I use with school-age kids who stutter as described in School-Age Stuttering Therapy: A Practical Guide and Minimizing Bullying for Children Who Stutter.

The bottom line is that speech-language pathologists can help people who stutter cope with their stuttering in more effective ways--and this often means more than just focusing on their fluency. Incorporating the methods of cognitive therapy can help us improve our ability to help our clients overcome the burden of stuttering!