Monthly Archives: May 2013

Book launch

Launching ‘Stammering Therapy from the Inside’
9th May 2013 at City Lit and the House of Commons

Over 120 people who stammer and speech and language therapists gathered at City Lit for a day of talks relating to some of the key themes from the book. Trudy Stewart kicked off with an inspiring personal analysis of the therapeutic relationship using the metaphor of a bridge to depict key variables that influence the unique structure and form of each alliance as well as the qualities that both architects (the client and therapist) bring to the construction process. St John Harris followed with a thought-provoking and eloquent exploration of the social model of disability using the film ‘The King’s Speech’ and his own experience of stammering and therapy to illustrate¬†(click here to read). Finally, Carolyn Desforges and Richard Seals concluded the morning with a passionate demonstration of the value of therapist/client collaboration in maintaining a specialist stammering service within the current NHS.

After lunch, Carolyn Cheasman briefly spoke about the genesis of the book and some of her own personal highs and lows during the editorial process; and I was able to pay tribute to the many therapists and clients, both present and absent, who have influenced my professional development, fuelled my interest in stammering and inspired my philosophy of therapy. Next, the Right Honourable Ed Balls, who contributed to a chapter in the book, gave a candid and humorous account of his experience of therapy and the process of ‘coming out’ as a person who stammers in the public eye. A personal reflection by Willie Botterill followed, highlighting the key influences that have shaped her approach to therapy and career. Finally Katy Bailey brought the talks to a close with a frank exploration of some of the challenges and intrinsic contradictions of stammering therapy that aims to promote fluency and acceptance of stammering (click here to read). Following Walt Manning’s summing up, this inspiring day ended with a reception at the House of Commons to launch both the book and the Employers Stammering Network.

Here are some photographic highlights:

Book launch
Myself, Dan Durling, Ed Balls and Jan Logan celebrating our co-authorship of the chapter on 1:1 therapy at City Lit
Co-editors Carolyn Cheasman, Rachel Everard and myself with City Lit Principal and Chief Executive, Mark Malcomson at the House of Commons

What a truly momentous day!


The House of Commons at dusk

Stammering therapy from the inside

‘Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet’
– Aristotle

As some of you will know, I have been involved in editing a book on co-authoring stammering therapy knowledge with Carolyn Cheasman and Rachel Everard at City Lit over the past few years. My first foray into the world of publishing books, it has been an adventure that has taught me a great deal about patience. The idea of the book – to provide people who stammer and their therapists with a shared platform to reflect on their different experiences of stammering and therapy – originated from discussions Carolyn and I began back in the early 2000s. At that time we struggled to find a publisher who considered client and therapist accounts to be valid evidence. Thankfully attitudes have since changed and, over a decade later, our determination has paid off as the book was finally published this month:





The collaborative process of editing has been both predictably and surprisingly time-consuming; a journey, marked interchangeably with highs and lows, that has required considerable resolve, good humour and willingness to compromise. Despite or possibly because of this, I have found the experience deeply engaging and satisfying. I sincerely hope the final publication serves to inspire both therapists and people who stammer to continue to collaborate and extend the boundaries of thinking about stammering therapy.

‘I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples’
– Mother Teresa

Yalom (2008) first drew my attention to the phenomenon of rippling. The value of listening, bearing witness to and learning from the stories, wisdom and expertise of my clients is precious to me, and the idea of passing the importance of this on to others has provided the personal meaning, commitment and perseverance to see this project through to its end. I hope the book illustrates the significance and potency of listening to those central to the therapy process, yet who all too often remain unheard. The integration of client and therapist perspectives invites a paradigm shift, where insider accounts are included not simply as an adjunct, but as a robust, integral source of information in their own right.

To mark the publication of ‘Stammering Therapy from the Inside: New Perspectives on Working with Young People and Adults’ there will be study day at City Lit on 9th May 2013 focusing on several themes from the book. The Right Honourable Ed Balls MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, will be speaking at the official launch of the book at lunchtime. Having contributed to one of the chapters in the book, he is also hosting a second celebratory event at the House of Commons later that evening. I cannot help but smile with continued disbelief at the thought of marking the publication of this book in such a way. It seems incredible, when I think back to the early discussions about the book with Carolyn, to consider how small ideas can be sown and in time grow in such surprising and unpredictable ways.