Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gunars Neiders' PhD

Gunnars Neiders has made his PhD public, I browsed through and discovered many lines of thoughts with which I agree. However, I also felt a certain lack of an over-arching framework and conceptual unity, and many interesting points seem to be listed rather than structured together. In any case, congratulations for your PhD. We need more people who do theoretical work.

Make up your own mind. Here is the abstract:

This work was motivated by meta-analyses of outcome studies in which a third of individuals
who received current stuttering therapies experienced minimal positive results. These individuals remain afflicted with life-long chronic stuttering.

This theoretical work approaches chronic stuttering from a new, revolutionary point of view. First, the stuttering problem is defined holistically as Chronic Perseverative Stuttering Syndrome (CPSS) that includes dysfunctional ideation, emoting, behaviors, perceptions, and life
choices of the person who stutters. The holistic definition addresses abnormal visible or audible speech and non-speech producing muscle functioning during speech production, avoidance behaviors while speaking, self-defeating attitudes and unhealthy negative emotions, and self-limiting life choices.

Second, building on the bio-psycho-social model, based on the neuropsychological and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy framework, a stage-by-stage model of how developmental stuttering begins and perseveres throughout the lifespan is constructed. The model begins with epigenetic
systems theory and subsequently addresses the pre-natal, birthing, and early language acquisition stages, while also addressing the classical conditioning associating speech with danger and operant conditioning associated with the development of secondary symptoms. The developmental model includes both unsuccessful and successful therapy experience stages.

Third, focusing on REBT techniques, the stutterer's self-concept and beliefs that interfere with his/her speech production are examined. A detailed step-by-step therapy protocol is presented to modify the client's speech, as well as modify the "wiring" of his/her brain that interferes with fluent speech. At each step the techniques used are explained in detail and the reasons for using each specific technique are given. Throughout, the client is taught how to change the irrational (unhelpful) beliefs and unhealthy emotions--beliefs and emotions that interfere with fluent speech and self-actualizing life choices--into more rational (helpful) beliefs and healthier emotions. From this detailed material a therapy manual to test out the effectiveness and efficiency of therapy can be readily built.

Because the therapy protocol is presented in precise and coherent detail, it is accessible to both psychologists and speech-language pathologists. Additionally, this dissertation captures the current zeitgeist of evidence-based practice and is compatible with current search for the
application of psychology to the problem of chronic stuttering.


Ora said...

Wow - he's certainly got a lot of degrees!

I'd be interested to know: What are his previous degrees? What's his professional experience?

Mark B. said...

Considering that he graduated from college in 1959, he's had plenty of time to collect degrees. ;-)

Ora said...

Mark -

It takes more than time - it takes determination and perseverance, a lot more than most of us have!

Gunars Neiders said...


First of all, I think that you could help me with making my dissertation better before I publish it as a book or as papers. But in order to do that, you would first have to read the dissertation end to end. As you read, please make notes for specific pages or overarching comments after each chapter.

I am sure you have good ideas and I have a ton of them that I did not include because of the time limitation. The only good dissertation is a done dissertation.

After you read it all, we could decide on the forum for discussion. You could pose questions, I could pose questions. The answers are often not as easily found as the questions. If you have good ideas, we could rewrite the damn thing :-)--it took a chunk out of my life. I would really want to benefit from your experience. I would also want you to try some of the exercises in earnest, to see if they really help you as much as they helped me.

Looking forward to a long and fruitful cooperation. Some things I wrote may be disjointed and you could help me with them. I think that we both are mature people who can discuss specifics keeping in mind, that nothing, except Darwin's "Origin of the species", was written in one fell swoop.

Science is evolutionary at times, what I wrote is revolutionary. But the end product could be cooperative effort. I am engaging also a neuropsychologist.

So on some publications you could be the third author, if and only if you really contribute.

Ora said...

Gunars - Thanks for posting your dissertation. I've started dipping into it, and would like to spend more time with it.

In addition to Tom himself, you have a lot of interested readers of Tom's blog who could also be available as a resource to you. Some laymen, some with a technical background, all interested in stuttering. You might not find a lot of people who'd want to read it from end to end. But you might find some.

In any case, for those of us who are interested bystanders, if you could give us specific tasks or questions, or if you want feedback on specific sections or chapters, I imagine you'd get some response.

This comments page is a narrow communications channel, so you might also post your contact information (email address) so you can be contacted directly.

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