Friday, March 10, 2006

Transfer-Wk 18,Fri.-Therapeutic blogging

Long before last September, I had wanted to start writing online. Mostly I wanted to do this for professional reasons; increased peer recognition and the like. While I did feel, I had some great ideas, I honestly wondered if I could sustain a string of professional quality, hi-grade ideas for .. well … forever. So it was infinitely postponed.

However, prior to my therapy in October, it occurred to me a blog about my speech therapy may be interesting, unique, and focused with a purpose. So a blog was born.

At this point, I considered the blog to be merely a chronicle of events in my therapy, and transfer phase. I saw this as being possibly beneficial to others, but not to myself. I had hoped my success would provide hope to other severe stutterers, and prove it is worth the effort. But to my surprise, by my third post, I began having helpful insights.

Once I got to therapy, other benefits really became apparent. As you might expect; my note taking, retention, and overall learning experience was increased. But because I knew I would be writing about what I learnt, I assembled information more completely.

For example; once we were told, there are 45 sounds in the English language. For the purposes of the Precision Fluency Shaping Program (PFSP), these sounds fall into one of four groupings. We were then provided with the groupings, and the sounds were listed; a, e, i, o, u, j, l, m, n, r, th+, v, w, y, z, ch, f, h, s, sh, th-, b, d, g, k, p, and t. Well, that’s a lot of sounds … it really is … but it’s not 45! It’s 27.

Where are the other 18 sounds?

Now, I’m not sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I was the first participant in over 30 years to ever ask that question. And the only reason I asked it, is because I knew I would be blogging about it later that day, and needed to have my facts straight.

As a side note; the missing 18 sounds are vowel combinations sounds (‘oo’, ‘ee’, ‘oi’, etc..). These vowel combination sounds are implicitly found within the 27 sounds and easily recognized without being explicitly declared.

My retention was increased dramatically, since I was actively listening to my therapist talk about the information, reading about it, assimilating the ideas so I would blog about them, confirming my understanding, making sure I wasn’t forgetting anything, thinking about proper application, then rereading and editing what I wrote.

When I entered the transfer phase of my therapy, I felt an increased sense of commitment to follow through and apply my new skills. After chickening out of a goal of going to Toastmasters, my first week out of therapy, I knew I had to go if only to maintain my integrity. So I went to my first Toastmasters meeting 2 weeks after my therapy ended, and have gone fairly regularly since then. I have already given 2 speeches, I have won the best speaker award once, have been disqualified on a technicality from the club speech contest, and am scheduled for my third speech this Wednesday. But had I not gone to the meeting on my second week out of therapy … I think the courage would have quickly evaporated.

There is also an increase commitment to practice and proactively transfer my skills. For example; when I spent over 3 hours driving through Tim Horton drive thru’s ordering 16¢ Timbits … I must confess … it wasn’t at the top of my list of things to do that day. But I did it, and I’ll do it again. Damn .. was that another commitment I just made? ;-)

I’ve also met other people who stutter via my blog, and have inspired at least 2 other stuttering blogs (see links). Over all it’s just been a great experience.

I would recommend anybody with any type of problem or challenge to journal about it. You don’t need to do it publicly with real names, nor do you need to post potentially embarrassing video’s of yourself as I did here, here and here. You don’t even need to journal about it in a blog, you can do it in Word documents on your PC, or in a paper notepad from the dollar store.

So where do you start? Well the easiest way to start a blog is at Blogger, unless you’re planning to become a professional blogger or use it for marketing your business, it’s a good and easy place to start. You can have your blog up in about 15 minutes.

If you want to blog about group therapy though, please be aware that blogging about other therapy participants is OFF LIMITS. Don’t mention other participants at all, not with a fake name, or as an anonymous third person. Therapy is a very private thing, and should not be infringed upon.

Having said that, the picture I have on my site with fellow participants was taken with their permission, I told them it would go on my blog before taking it, and asked repeatedly if it was ok. If somebody were to call me today, and say they had second thoughts about the picture, I’d take it down immediately.

If you do want to start Therapeutic Blogging, I’m sure you will develop a deeper understanding into any problem you have, and focus more intently on resolving your own issues.

Good luck with your blog.

Not meant as advice, please find a qualified therapist if you are interested in similar therapy.


At Saturday, March 11, 2006 5:46:00 PM, Blogger MarvThroneberryII said...

Your blog and others says it all for me regarding stuttering:-)
It's personally therapeutic to read other blogs, comment here and there of questionable substance and validity to the subject.

Drank a Guinness(well, more than one) today toasting your new daughter. Solidarity with Celts, established and those born new, I say.

At Sunday, March 12, 2006 8:41:00 AM, Blogger John MacIntyre said...

Thanks Stepp.


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