Thursday, April 27, 2006


Adrian has suggested I should speak out on NLP/Neurosemantics. He wrote in his comment:

I would be interested in hearing your views on the application of NLP/Neurosemantics in the treatment of stuttering. These approaches to stuttering have become wildly popular in recent years. Well known NLP practitioner Tony Robbins has claimed to have cured stuttering in one session. Bob Bodenhamer of Neurosemantics has claimed to have cured stuttering in two phone sessions. These are lofty claims that I have a difficult time believing. The "therapy" is based on the idea that stuttering is a cognitive problem with no physical or neurological correlate and once you have your head screwed on straight you will be fluent.

...Here are some links to Bodenhamer's webpage:

Yes, Bodenhamer is on my watchlist! :-) He wrote an article in Speaking Out, and I am hoping to wrote a Letter to the Editor. I am short of time. To summarise, NLP/Neurosemantics or any other techniques like auto-suggestion and motivational techniques are very useful to change behaviour, and so are helpful in achieving more fluency. However, Bodenhamer and other practitioners are pushing it far too hard: see cure or we understand stuttering. His statement in Speaking Out on the nature of stuttering are ill informed and ignorant of the new research coming out. If it is all in the mind, so how come genetics matters. How come the brain scans of people who stutter are different? How come they are worse in dual tasks? More soon..


Anonymous said...

Hi Tom,

Just a short point on something I think a lot of people are confused about.

You wrote: "If it is all in the mind, so how come genetics matters. How come the brain scans of people who stutter are different?"

Well, you don't suppose the "mind" is unconnected to the "brain", do you? In that case, we should expect people with behavioural differences, differences of "mind-set", etc., to have different brain scans.


Tom Weidig said...

No necessarily, you can have different mindsets but have the same brain activation. In the same way, as you can talk to your grandmother on the phone or have phone sex, both times the activation of the phone line is the same!! :-)

In the brain scans, researchers only look for differences that exist in ALL people who stutter and not in people who do not stutter. In this way, the behavioural aspects is more or less filtered out, because everyone does something else when he stutters. But it is possible that some differences are consequences of stuttering.

The brain generates the mind, so they are connected. In a sense what I say is that I stutter not because the wrong software is installed, but because the hardware is not perfect and BETTER THAN AVERAGE SOFTWARE can only reduce the problem or the very BEST SOFTWARE can eliminate the problem (but this is difficult to achieve).

Or, I say that I can play a better computer game on a weaker computer than on an average computer but only if the game makers are very good programmers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

What about the case study that you and Linda Rounds wrote?

It may not use the word cure, but certainly does imply it. In fact, Linda states in the case study, "My second phone conversation was January 23, 2002. I have not stuttered since that time."


Anonymous said...


Regarding genetics and stuttering-- not only have brain scans showed ORGANIC differences between the brains of people who stutter and people who do not, but stuttering has been shown to be more likely to occur when the person who stutters has immediate and extended family members who stutter. Although behavioral aspects of stuttering have been found (otherwise behavioral intervention would NEVER be successful), it is definitely not the only contributor to stuttering.

I think people who boast claims of cures for stuttering are quite disgusting-- often preying on the vulnerability of people with a devastating disorder. Most of these claims are not substantiated or supported with research.

Grrr. . .

-A bothered speech-language pathologist in training

Anonymous said...

I am looking through the internet trying to find something about ways i can get rid of my stuttering, I had a one on one with Anthony Robbins about 5 years ago at a seminar, the claims that he made about stuttering being cured in a matter of hours in my situation was false, I was ok whilst up and speak to him, but then when i came to the real world, i lapsed, I have tried contacting people from the seminar but no one can really tell me anything - your help would be appreciated

Anna Margolina said...

I stutter since childhood. I am over 40 now. I learned a great deal of fluency techniques, but I still wasn't able to get rid of stuttering. However. Recently my speech improved significantly. The reason? First, I read the book by John Harrison, which I recommend to anyone who stutters (Redefining stuttering)and I read the book by Bob Bodenhamer. After applying the methods outlined in both books, I am now able to 1) talk on the phone without fear or much blocking 2) increase my fluency with strangers and at home 3) noticeably reduce the occurence of difficult speech blocks. 4) change my attitude toward my own stuttering and myself. If stuttering is purely "organic", "genetic" "mechanic" etc thing, then how come I was able to increase my fluency purely by changing my mindset and using metods like intentional stuttering and observation of my blocking behavior? I agree that there should be some genetic predisposition to developing of stuttering (high sensitivity, quick stress reaction, may be even some problems in hemispheres communication etc), but they do not make stuttering. And my own experience confirms that changing the atitude and mindset is very efficient way to increase fluency. maybe NLP is not a magic cure, but it helps nevertheless.

ruchi said...

Hi Tom
I would like to just say that "Can you explain why people who stutter/block can speak fluently in some situations(when by themselves or with a pet) and block when confronted with people ?
Does the brain switch on the "stuttering behaviour" only when people are in front of you ??

NLP and neurosemantics has helped me and a lot of people open their mind to explore and recover over their blocking behaviour.

It had nothin to do with a physical speaking disorder,IF IT WERE THEN PEOPLE WOULD STUTTER EVEN IF THEY WERE ALONE.

It definitely is a communication problem .



Anonymous said...

Until Linda Rounds speaks with her own voice here (not through Bob Bodenhamer) I am going to presume that she relapsed long ago and that is why she does not publicly promote her "book". (Really an unpublished, unedited pdf that costs $30 called "Letters to Desperate Stutterer")

Mark M. said...

I do not know Linda Rounds and do not know why she doesn't publicly promote her book. What I do know is that I just completed reading her book and after reading it I felt like the flood gates were opened. I was much more aware of how I was thinking and aware of what I need to analyze still in myself. Based on Linda's writings she seems like a very wise person and her writing holds valuable information. For those to disregard her book, have you completely read it and attempted to apply it to yourself? I'm sure it won't be a cure all for all PWS for some some like myself it's an eye opener. Thank you Linda Rounds for sharing your story!