Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Understanding and treatment in 9999

Pablo from Spain asked me some time ago: "Do you believe that in our life time (I am 36) there will be a truly scientific understanding of stuttering and a truly scientific therapy for curing it?"

Let me first say what I believe is the maximum understanding and treatment we can achieve: (I will talk about timeline in my next post)

1) PDS is very likely not a local problem but a more distributed problem. I give an example: it is not like computer hardware breaking down due to a faulty cable or a software with a bug in the code, but it is more like a very inefficient transport system or a high crime rate in a city. You will never be able to answer the question: Where exactly is the problem? You see the effects, but many factors play a role like the underground trains are very old, only one underground line, and the unions block any change. Currently, we don't even know what the various factors are. It's like, the city is still very foggy, and we slowly need to get rid of the fog (also due to genetics and brain imaging tools) and explore the different factors. The maximum understanding will come when there is no fog anymore, and all factors and how they interact are known.

2) There will not be a cure in the sense as having the same speech system as normal speakers, but more like the children who have recovered. Much greater fluency will be achieved faster with fewer relapse. Thus, it will not be like the computer doesn't work due to a cable failure so lets replace the cable or the computer bug is here lets replace this line of code. It is more like lets improve the inefficient transport system. God knows where you should start. So build a new underground line or lets get new trains. BUT the problem is that you cannot shut down a city (or a human being) for a few months and re-build everything. You can only do slow step-wise improvements. In therapies you always need to work on a change in behaviour, but with no fog around the city anymore, we will know much better where to attack the problem (which might be slightly different for different people). Medication is probably the most straightforward way to help people, as you just take a pill and nothing else. You don't need to follow some therapy which is much harder. Taking a pill will change neurotransmitter level in the brain and is like ensuring that there is never bad weather in the city or the people using the transport system are not stressed. And the transport system improves tremendously (without solving underlying issues), but is not really a cure as such.

Actually, to be completely honest with you, I think that in 9999 there will be no human beings anymore as we know now. So there will also be no stuttering anymore!! We will have morphed with computers into one big system. We will be sub-entities like cells in our body. And communication between sub-entities (direct descendants of us) will not involve speech anymore. This process has just started with the Internet. For example, take my blog, I am currently putting ideas into your mind, and you can influence my mind by posting comments. These comments are just like my own thoughts: I might take them on or ignore them. Wikipedia and google have also dramatically increased our common shared memory and so on. This process will continue... :-)


Anonymous said...


I really enjoyed this posting. The analogy you draw (which you have done before) I think is very appropriate.

BTW - I begin the pagoclone study next week - here's to "good weather!"


Tom Weidig said...

Good Luck!

Let me know in case you think you dont have the placebo.

And you could be the first guest blogger!


Anonymous said...

Many people know the importance of self confidence and try to boost their own by using many different personal development models. Self confidence to most people is the ability to feel at ease in most situations but low self confidence in many areas may be due to a lack of self esteem. Low self esteem takes a more subtle form that low self confidence. So if you are tired of feeling not good enough, afraid of moving towards your desires and goals, feel that no matter what you do it is just never good enough, then your self esteem could do with a boost.

Every day we make decisions based on our level of self-esteem. We also exhibit that level of self esteem to those around us through our behaviour. 90% of all communication is non-verbal - it is not what you say but ho you say it that matters! Your body language, tonality and facial gestures can all tell a completely different story to your words. It is our behaviour which influences others and people react to us by reading our non-verbal communications. Have you ever met someone you just didn't like although on the surface they seemed polite and courteous, or you met someone who seemed to speak confidently yet you knew they were really frightened underneath and just displaying bravado?

Parental and peer influences play a major part in moulding our level of self-esteem when we are children and in our early years of adolescence. The opinions of the people closest to us and how they reacted to us as individuals or part of the group was a dominant factor in the processes involved in forming our self esteem.

As adults we tend to perpetuate these beliefs about ourselves and in the vast majority of cases they are ridiculously erroneous. It is time to re-evaluate our opinion of ourselves and come to some new conclusions about these old belief patterns.

Ask yourself some serious question:
Is your long-held view about yourself accurate? Do we respect the sources from which we derived these beliefs? Most of the negative feedback we bought into as we were growing up actually came from people we have little or no respect for and as adults we would probably laugh their comments away! Yet the damage to your self esteem was done when you were very young and you still carry it with you to this day.

Is it possible that even those people you respected, who influenced your self-worth, were wrong? Perhaps they had low self esteem also.

As adults we have the opportunity to reshape our self-esteem. Try to judge accurately the feedback you receive from people you respect. This process will allow you to deepen your understanding of yourself and expand your self-image. It will also show you were you actually need to change things about yourself and were you don't. Many people are striving to better themselves in areas where they are just fine or actually excelling and it is only because they have an inaccurate picture of themselves in their minds due to low self esteem!

Setting small goals and achieving them will greatly boost your self-esteem. Identify your real weakness and strengths and begin a training program to better your inter-personal or professional skills. This will support you in your future big life goals and boost your self-esteem and self confidence to high levels you didn't existed!

Learn to recognise what makes you feel good about yourself and do more of it. Everyone has certain things that they do which makes them feel worthwhile but people with low self esteem tend to belittle these feelings or ignore them.

Take inventory of all the things that you have already accomplished in your life no matter how small they may seem. Recognise that you have made achievements in your life and remember all the positive things that you have done for yourself and others. Take a note of your failures and don't make excuses like "I'm just not good enough" or "I just knew that would happen to me", analyse the situation and prepare yourself better for the next time. If someone else created success, regardless of the obstacles, then you are capable of doing the same! Remember everyone has different strengths and weakness so do not judge your own performance against that of another just use them as inspiration and know that what one human being has achieved so can another!

Surround yourself with people who respect you and want what is best for you - people who are honest about your strengths and will help you work through your weakness. Give the same level of support to them!

Avoid people who continually undermine you or make you feel small. These people are just displaying very low self esteem. As your own self esteem grows you will find that you are no longer intimidated by another's self confidence or success and you can actually be joyful for them! Do things you love to do and that make you happy. A truly happy person never has low self esteem they are too busy enjoying life! By getting busy living your life with passion and joy you will not be able to be self-consciousness.

If you find yourself feeling self-conscious in any situation focus on the fact that others can tell and many of them will be feeling the same. Be honest. People respond to someone better if they openly say "To tell you the truth I'm a bit nervous" rather than displaying bravo or fake confidence that they can see right through. Their reactions to you, will show your mind at a deep level, that there was actually nothing to be frightened of and everything is great. If someone reacts to this negatively they are just displaying low self esteem and very quickly you will find others noticing this! Really listen to people when they talk to you instead of running through all the negative things that could happen in your head or focusing on your lack of confidence. People respond to someone who is truly with them in the moment..

Breath deeply and slow down. Don't rush to do things.

Stop the negative talk! 'I'm no good at that' or "I couldn't possibly do that" are affirmations that support your lack of self esteem. Instead say "I have never done that before but I am willing to try" or "how best can I do that?". Which leads us to the last point - the quality of the questions you ask yourself s very important.
When you ask a question it almost always has a preposition in it. For example, "How did I mess that up?" presumes that something was messed up, a better way of phrasing the question would be "what way can I fix this quickly?", as this presumes you can and will fix it. Or "How am I ever going to reach my goal?" could be rephrased as "what way will lead me to my goal quicker" presumes that you are going to reach your goal! Get the picture? Change the quality of your questions and your results will change!

Practise these techniques and watch your self esteem rise day by day. personal development plan