Stutter (Stottertherapie) Speech Training Intensive Course, Berlin 19.-22.10.2016

The course in Berlin will be held in English with German translation when required.


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How Embracing My Stutter Gave Me a New Lease on Life


By Patrick Hanlon
Food and travel writer, blogger, 1/2 of gastrogays, London by way of Dublin!
Reading Time: 6 minutes

As I sat in a university lecture, my breathing was shallow and fast, my palms sweaty and my heart raced as one-by-one my classmates stood up to speak. This scene played out countless times before but the panic, fear and anxiety intensified each time this situation came around. I looked down at the book and the literature review I had written on the book. Nervously I agitated in my seat. Any semblance of confidence I once had in my own ability was on the floor and soon it would be my turn.

As my fear escalated, my focus and determination simultaneously vanished. ‘Just take it in your stride,’ I told myself. I was visibly uncomfortable, like always, and was consumed with the fear of being ‘found out’, of being seen as stupid and incompetent, of being pitied, of being a stammerer. Then it came: “Patrick Hanlon, you’re next to speak…”

“Ah…..muh……th….I….I”, I couldn’t even begin by stating the title of my report in front of my class, let alone eloquently broadcast the key points of the report like everyone else before and after me. My mind raced as I tried to conjure up different ways to communicate what I simply couldn’t get to leave my lips. Every trick and avoidance mechanism I tried to use failed me. If I could have physically run away, I would have; I was running away in my mind. After five excruciating minutes of broken sounds, non-words, speech blocks and facial struggle, I had to ask red-faced and humiliated to stop. I finished my 1,000 word report after one sentence.

As I sat in my college seminar waiting to be called to speak, I didn’t know it but that marked my lowest point. I was losing a lifetime battle I had to endure and at that point I was honestly ready to give up. I’ve suffered from a stutter my entire life and this was everyday life for me, and for so many others like me. Quietly fighting an internal war with yourself and avoiding situations, words and sounds. Choosing how to phrase things. Reaching for different tricks and coping mechanisms. Things as banal as saying your name at Starbucks, ordering a dish off the menu at a restaurant or answering the phone can be the most excruciating.

A stutter, or stammer, is a speech impediment that affects around 1% of the world’s population. You probably know loosely what it is and you might have come across stutterers every so often in your life. Maybe you’ve followed Pop Idol singer Gareth Gates’ speech difficulties or watched the Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech. You might have been glued to the Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall documentary Educating Yorkshire and cried tears at school boy Musharaf’s speech breakthrough.

Living with a stutter is really tough. I’m sometimes asked by fluent speakers what stuttering feels like and I explain it like being blind but with occasional glimpses of perfect 20/20 vision, or being deaf and having small, random spurts of crystal-clear hearing. A stutter is a beast and a real battle between physical and mental state. No two stutters are the same. There is a scale of covert (practically unrecognisable) to overt (incredibly obvious) but even day-to-day how a stutter interrupts your life can be drastically different from person to person. Good days and bad days come and go, but the constant is that your stutter is always there.

I’m a freelance writer, and I spent my entire life battling a stutter, sailing turbulently along and calling at many ports of speech therapy and different teachings and techniques. At 21, the same day of that excruciating scene described above, I found a lifeline in The McGuire Programme, an immersive, intense speech therapy programme run by people who stutter for people who stutter, combining a new way of breathing (from the costal diaphragm, not the crural – which we use naturally) and a transformative mentality. It works for some people, it doesn’t for others and it’s certainly not a quick fix or an easy ride.

Though, I need to assure you: people who stutter are some of the funniest, most intelligent, sharpest and confident people I know. I’ve met hundreds of them. Take it from me, they’re rarely shy, nervous or unsure of what they want to say and some even have comedic timing to rival the best in the business. Unfortunately, before they can communicate what their brain is thinking, their stutter interrupts the process, gets in the way and can often step them in their tracks. But you don’t have to live this out of control way…

I still battle my stutter every day, I will for life. You never lose a stutter. It doesn’t go away and there’s no definitive ‘cure’ – no matter what Google might lead you to believe. What you can do, though, is change your perceptions and mentality and take on board different ways to go about living with a stammer so that it’s no longer an issue that dictates the everyday. My life has been transformed and I live how I never thought I could, never forgetting where I’ve come from as I work hard and confidently on my speech every day in my quest for eloquence and a comfortable level of fluency. So, I want to share three insights on how you can too.

Lean In

So, there’s a common saying in social work: ‘lean in to the discomfort’, and the same applies here. Whatever makes you uncomfortable, explore it, pull it apart and understand it. When you see the sum of its parts, it’s not so scary any more. Sure, there will always be other scary things lurking around the corner, but having a mentality that you can tackle anything, that you’re bigger than what scares you, and that you’re a strong and confident person will ensure that you’re prepared for whatever comes your way. A stutter seems physical and it is – our diaphragm and speaking system freezes in the face of fear – but really 90% of it is mental. Re-assess how you approach situations, what your mentality is and how you relate to yourself.

Feel The Fear and Do it Anyway

Ask a person who stutters what makes them most uncomfortable and many will say something like ‘blocking and struggling in front of strangers’, ‘stuttering in front of my kids’, ‘being seen as stupid, inferior or incompetent by my work colleagues’ – always anxious and worried about how the ‘listener’ is perceiving you, yet the biggest focus needs to be on how you as a person experiences your own speech. Why are you speaking thinking about everyone else? The only thing that matters is how you feel when communicating. Susan Jeffers’ book Feel The Fear and Do it Anyway is well worth anyone reading.

Be proactive

To use another common expression, ‘play to win’. Don’t go through life dodging obstacles that get in your way and waiting for the next wave to hit. Power through the wave. Tackle opposition head-on. Look a challenge in the eye and see it through. You have no idea how much confidence you’ll gain from having a proactive, rather than reactive, mentality.

Do you see a common thread? It can be summed up in one word: embrace. Uncomfortable and difficult, I know, but when you embrace something fully it becomes less and less of an issue. Most people who stutter will tell you it’s the one aspect of their lives they despise and hate even thinking about or showing anyone. But here’s the crux: you need to break it apart, build up your confidence step-by-step and live the way you want to. You have to walk through that big scary door that’s stopping you and face your fears.

Don’t force yourself to live in fear when there’s a whole wide world out there, a world waiting to hear what you have to say.

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Stutter (Stottertherapie) Speech Training Intensive Course, Düsseldorf 22.-25.06.2016

The Stutter (Stottern – Stottertherapie) Speech Training Intensive Course in Düsseldorf will be held in English with German translation when required.

The Stutter (Stottertherapie) Speech Training Intensive Course in Düsseldorf

The McGuire Programme Deutschland Speech Training Course run by people who stutter (stutter) for people who stutter (stottern) . Focusing on the mechanics of speech, the physiology and psychology of stuttering, confidence building and learning new techniques to control stuttering. We also deal with the fear of speaking using non-avoidance and assertiveness training techniques (face-to-face, group & telephone training)

It’s also a great opportunity to meet other people who stutter (stottern)  and to improve your English speaking skills as the course will be held in English but there will be German translation if and when required from native German speakers.

Best Western Savoy Hotel Düsseldorf, Oststraße 128, 40210 Düsseldorf.

22.-25.06.2016 – 4 Day initial courses – this is considered your ‘beginner course’ which gives you the confidence and the motivation to continue to apply the methods in the real world. Plus you will have access to our international support network of speech coaches available whenever you need assistance, practice or support.

Nr. of Participants:
The number of participants is unknown until a few weeks before a course. In Germany this can vary from 12 to 20 people in total. This is a combination of new students and returning members (aka graduates) who come back to get more advanced and to help the new students.

Once-off membership fee of 1.252€ plus 19% VAT totalling 1.490€. This gives you unlimited access to our courses, refresher days, improvement days, challenging graduate weekends, fortnightly support group meetings and worldwide phone/video coaching support plus your own personal training coach.

Your personal coach and your phone/video coaching is free of charge.
There is a small fee for returning members (graduates) of 20€ per day or 60€ for a 3 day course

Contact info:
Emmet O’Connell: – Handy: +49 (0)176-83 4050 26
or Beate Köhler – Handy: +49 (0)176-61 2648 18
Website: or via our international website:


Lysterfield Owen Westwood works to control his stutter with McGuire Programme

AFTER more than 20 years spent trying to hide his stutter, a Lysterfield man has decided to “take action” against the speech impediment that has controlled his life.

Owen Westwood, 25, has had the “crippling” impediment since he could talk but time spent chained to a desk in an office job he hated forced him to fight back against “the demon”.

“I felt stuck because of my speech — I felt I couldn’t get a job anywhere else because who would hire a person who stutters?” he said.

“There is no cure for stuttering — the only way forward is for me to take control of my stutter instead of it controlling my life.”

Just trying to say his own name once led to anxiety and poor confidence, he said.

“There are so many people out there now who are experiencing the same feelings of pity and guilt and self-hate because we can’t do things as simple as introducing ourselves or order the food that we really want as opposed to what we can say,” Mr Westwood said.

He hoped sharing his story would inspire other people with severe and debilitating stutters to take action.

In July 2013, he joined a program to start on his “journey to be the most eloquent speaker I can be”.

The McGuire Programme, developed and run by a group of people learning to control their own stutters, includes a four-day course that focuses on the mechanics of speech, techniques for overcoming stuttering and the fear of speaking, the physiology and psychology of stuttering, and confidence building. Participants can do refreshers and work on their speech privately after the course.

Mr Westwood said joining the program was “the best decision I’ve made to date”.

“I went through my early childhood, teenage years, all my schooling with a really crippling speech impediment and it was tough,” he said.

Lysterfield's Owen Westwood has a severe stutter but has worked hard to improve his speech.

Lysterfield’s Owen Westwood has a severe stutter but has worked hard to improve his speech.

“I would avoid speaking situations every day, every chance I got because my fear and anxiety was so high that I would avoid doing speeches at school and being my true self at parties.”

Mr Westwood, a former student at Highvale Seconday College in Glen Waverley, said he never dreamt of taking part in school plays and even asked his English teachers if he could do his oral presentations at lunchtime to avoid an audience of students laughing at him.

“I always had a really tight group of friends but there were a few people who would go out of their way to pick on me, insult me every chance they got because I spoke differently to them,” he said.

Traditional speech therapy hadn’t worked for him because it only focuses on the physical aspects of stuttering, he said.

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg — underneath the surface there’s the mental and psychological struggles that come with having a stutter and that’s where the McGuire Programme helped me,” Mr Westwood said.

Since joining the program, Mr Westwood has moved on from the job he hated and now works fulltime as an audio visual technician — and he loves it.

“I’ve been able to take the positive attitude I have from improving my speech into my work and no longer dread getting up in the morning and going into the office,” he said.

Original Article Featured in written by Knox Leader

Meet the Conwy teenager who copied Gareth Gates to get rid of his stammer

Since overcoming his impediment, Daniel Reid of Llanfairfechan has spoken in front of 100 people at a wedding.

A teenager with a stammer took a leaf out of singer Gareth Gates’ book and has now conquered his speech impediment.

Like Gates, Daniel Reid’s stammer caused him no end of distress – but his life changed for the better thanks to a programme of daily breathing exercises.

But Daniel, now 19, will never forget how the impediment marked his life. On his first day of secondary school he stammered so badly he wasn’t able to say his name out loud in front of his classmates.

Daniel, then aged 12, rapidly lost his confidence and very soon wanted to change schools, but his mother, Wendy, encouraged him to remain at Ysgol Friars, Bangor.

School days slightly improved when he changed classes to join his friends from primary school who were used to his speech impediment.


Daniel, of Llanfairfechan, has battled with a speech impediment all his life and his parents sent him for speech therapy from the age of seven until he was 14 – but to no avail.

“School was a miserable time for me, I was bullied and laughed at,” said Daniel, who know works two jobs as a sales and kitchen assistant.

“I was a withdrawn person even in front of friends, if I thought I’d struggle to say something I just wouldn’t speak.

“I’d avoid meeting people I didn’t know, and my parents and sister would finish my sentences for me, which I didn’t mind.

“My sister would order any takeaways I wanted – anything so I didn’t have to talk.

“For some reason saying my name was the worst thing for me, I have no idea why. I just couldn’t get ‘Dan’ or ‘Daniel’ out, and sometimes I’d even make up a name if a stranger asked what my name was.”

But things dramatically changed for the better when he went to London to try the Mcguire Programme, the same scheme Gareth Gates goes on to control his speech impediment. “It’s a challenging programme, I have to do 20 minute breathing exercises every morning,” said Daniel.

“I also had to stop 100 strangers on Oxford Street, asking them directions and so on. My mother was with me and she was crying because she couldn’t believe I was actually talking to complete strangers.”

His mother was so impressed with her son’s new-found confidence that she asked him to be best man when she was getting married to Daniel’s stepdad Mark.

“I was both terrified and excited that they asked me,” said Daniel. “One hundred people were coming, many of whom I had never met before, so they had no idea I had a problem with my speech.

“I had five months to practice but we were all nervous on the day. But using the techniques I learnt through the Mcguire programme, I nailed it.

“My mum was in tears and I’m just so glad I was able to do it for her and Mark.”

Share your view about this story using the comments section below.

Infoabend SAMSTAG 23.04. im RüKONTOR, Rüttenscheider Str. 144, Essen

Infoabend SAMSTAG 23.04.2016 im RüKONTOR, Rüttenscheider Str. 144, 45131 Essen, Germany 13.00 – 14.00 Uhr

Aus Krankheitsgrünen muss die Infoveraustaltung in Essen am morgigen Samstag, 23.04.2016 leider ausfallen.

Wir entschuldigen uns für doe späte Absage.

Die Infoveranstaltung wird auf den nächsten Samstag, 23.04.2016 verlegt.

Genre beantworten wir Fragen zum McGuire Programm via Email unter

Bitte registrieren Sie Ihr Interesse am unseren Kursen auf unserer Webseite

Unser nächster Kurs findet vom 22. bis 25.06.16 in Düsseldorf Statt. Nicht verpassen – anmelden!

Jamie Googan; Stutterer – “My dream is now my reality.”


Jamie Googan: Bachelor of Business (Honours) in Sport and Exercise Graduate

– “My dream is now my reality.”

As a child growing up with a severe stammer (stutter / stottern), I always wondered why I spoke in a different way from other students and why they would laugh at me when I tried desperately to pronounce my own name. I was always self-conscious of my speech, and what I was going to say. One of my biggest emotional struggles came from growing up without being able to say my own name without stammering. I always had a dream of becoming an eloquent public speaker, I just didn’t know how.

When I got accepted into CIT I was both delighted and nervous. I always had a passion for sport and exercise from training Martial Arts, and knew the course was for me. My second class in college was an icebreaker session and we had to stand up and introduce ourselves, I stammered profusely on my own name and the whole room laughed.

I always found it challenging to reach out and ask for support until I met with Ruth Murphy from the Disability Support Service (DSS). As I am also challenged by dyslexia, Ruth advised me of all of the supports available such as extra time, separate room for exams, and Assistive Technology.

The Access Service introduced me to a student called Shane O’Sullivan who also has a stammer (stutter / stutter). During our very first meeting he said “we who stammer support each other” and I never forgot it. We became very close friends and even lived together for two years during college. Having a culture of student support is what makes CIT so unique.

I heard about a programme which supports people who stammer (stutter / stutter), called the McGuire Programme on The Late Late Show on 06. June 2008. For the first time in my life I could relate to people who had the same problem as I had.

I knew that I was no longer alone. My first presentation in college was supposed to last five minutes, but it lasted twenty minutes and from that embarrassing experience I finally decided to join the McGuire Programme in Galway in August 2012. For the first time in my life, I found joy in speaking and communicating with others. With my new found voice the lecturers in the Department of Sport,

For the first time in my life, I found joy in speaking and communicating with others.

Leisure and Childhood studies Noel Collins and Cian O’Neill gave me every opportunity to practice my speech by reading out loud, to giving presentations at the start of class, and really wanted me to succeed.

I graduated from CIT with a Bachelor of Business (Honours) in Sport and Exercise in 2015, and during my time I availed of many supports from the Access Service that played a vital role in my recovery from stammering and achieving my degree. CIT Access Service has one of only thirteen Assistive Technology Labs in the country where I availed of supports from Mark Burleigh, the Assistive Technology Officer, such as Mind Manager, Ginger Online Proofreading Software, Read and Write Gold, and a place where I could practice my presentation skills. What makes Assistive Technology so good is that you can use it at home and in the workplace.


Some of my best experiences in CIT was being involved in the Martial Arts and Swimming societies where I met loads of new friends from different backgrounds and studies, with the same interests.

I am currently employed by the CIT Access Service where I support various Access initiatives and help other students to be the best that they can be. One of my proudest speaking moments was representing the Access Service at the launch of the National Plan for Access and Equality 2015-2019.

By pushing myself to speak in challenging situations I found myself slowly breaking down the mentality of stammering and doing what I thought was once impossible. I never thought I would make it this far and be in the position that I
am. With the right support network and fantastic support from family and friends you can achieve anything you want, just believe in yourself. Never be afraid to reach out and ask for support. My dream is becoming my reality.

A copy of the CIT publication ‘Access- The Student Voice’ is available in PDF format here.

How can you start to have more FUN speaking?

Words of wisdom from John Harrison:

This may be hard to understand, but the desperate need to be fluent is partly why it’s so hard to be fluent. An obsessive focus on fluency helps to keep stuttering foremost and fixed in your mind.

My question to you is — how can you start to have more FUN speaking?

What I have found is that fun is the antidote to performance fears. Because when you’re having FUN you’re being most yourself. And when you’re being most yourself, that’s when you are most in touch with your personal power. I know that recovery is more complex than just focusing on fun, but keeping this in your awareness helps you to stay aware of how you give away your power.

One thing I do in my public speaking workshops is to invite people to move around the room when they speak, and to double their volume and use more vocal variety. Few people are comfortable doing this … at least not initially … but they are always shocked to discover that when they feel they’re coming off too big (loud, assertive, etc.) this is precisely when the audience finds them alive and engaging.

A big part of the recovery process is recalibrating our perceptions and our beliefs. This takes time and practice, but it is doable.