Thursday, April 13, 2006

Transfer-Wk 23,Thurs-Best Practices for Fluent Speech

A few days ago I was speaking to a friend. Half way through our conversation he interrupted it to ask why I wasn’t speaking as I had a few days earlier, when I called him right after my speech exercises.

Essentially, he was asking; Why was I choosing to stutter?

That wasn’t exactly how he phrased it, but there was no doubt that was what he meant. Basically, I had forgot to use my targets and my stutter wasn’t bad enough for me to think about it yet.

I told him that the most difficult about my speech therapy, is that I don’t really need it once I finish the course. I will need it eventually, but actually choosing to use it when you were spontaneously fluent was very difficult.

I went on to provide an analogy; let’s say you had difficulty walking, and would trip over your feet randomly within every 50 steps. This would be highly irritating, so you take therapy. The therapy teaches you a special way of walking, with you concentrating on every step you take, including every bent joint and every muscle contraction from your abdominal muscles to your toe nails. The therapy works amazingly well, but the amazing this is; you can walk thousands of steps now without thinking about every step and still don’t trip.

You’re cured!!

Well, not exactly; your cure will be as fleeting as the enthusiasm gained at a motivational seminar. If you don’t realize this (as I didn’t in 1993 even though I was told), you go skipping down the street enjoying your life like never before, everything is great for a month. If you do realize it, you practice constantly and attempt to monitor your voice all the time (which I do now), but it’s still very difficult to do.

That was the analogy provided by me to my friend.

He quickly chalked up my analogy as a load of B.S., and went on to say : ‘I thought it was like the way a black belt would practice Karate. Even though he knows it, he practices every day.’

This caused a slight paradigm shift for me.

Practice as defined in the dictionary is “systematic exercise for proficiency”. So basically, my shaping every day is my practice. I practice to maintain and perfect my skills.

But what my friend was saying was, I should be practicing fluency as a doctor practices medicine, or a lawyer practices law. It’s a constant application of the recommended process.

Essentially, the 8 targets taught in the Precision Fluency Shaping Program, is a collection of Best Practices for Fluent Speech.

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


At Thursday, April 13, 2006 8:16:00 PM, Anonymous Vikesh said...

I was just thinking of a question for you John when I read this post.

Your friend made a very good point, and he must be a really good friend to have noticed and is trying to help you in your therapy.

The best thing we can do, in any therapy, is have the support of your family and friends.

Why do you find it difficult to use PFSP in real world situations? What aspect(s) of the program are uncomfortable? Maybe uncomfortable isn't even the proper feeling. If not, then what is it that doesn't enable you to practice it on a continuous basis? Oh, your busy schedule cannot be used as an answer please.

At Thursday, April 13, 2006 10:46:00 PM, Blogger John MacIntyre said...

Hi Vikesh,

your busy schedule cannot be used as an answer please.

Calling me out on my lack of self-discipline eh? ;) Actually that's more of an excuse for my lack of structured transfers.

This wasn't really about feeling uncomfortable use it, it was more of a 'I just forgot'. I was speaking about something I really wanted to say, and my stutter wasn't severe enough to remind me to use my targets.

You know, monitoring something which is normally handled unconsciously is not as easy as you may think. Try to control and monitor your breathing for a while and see how long you last. ;)

As far as not being able to perform in other situations like the drive thru's ... I don't know why. I suppose it's just habitual panic reaction, rather than using my skills. Maybe it's a self-esteem issue.

However, while I do talk alot about the problems I'm having; I've had my share of successes. The speeches I've given, my ability to use the telephone, use automated voice services, leave clear telephone messages, the after video I made, etc... Even the drive thru's which were not executed with precision, where done with some control .. alot more than ever before.

That's the best answer I can give right now, maybe pondering this will give me a bit more "insight". If I am able to articulate something better than what I've written above, maybe I'll post my thoughts.

At Friday, April 14, 2006 2:04:00 AM, Anonymous Vikesh said...

Hey John,

Didn't mean to imply any lack of discipline on your part. I guess it was more of a general question as to why PFSP is so difficult to incorporate into real life situations. I have met a few people who have taken the program at some time in their lives, and a few of them do not use it at all.

As for monitoring yourself throughout the day, I know this is not an easy thing to do. It will only take practice and more practice to get it second nature.


At Friday, April 14, 2006 11:34:00 AM, Blogger John MacIntyre said...

"Didn't mean to imply any lack of discipline on your part"

Sorry Vikesh, I mis-interpretted that last paragraph.

I’ll spare you the details, but as mentioned in at least one previous post, I do have a bit of a time management problem which is bothering me. I attribute this largely to a self-discipline weakness.

When I read your last statement about my "busy schedule", I think I interpreted it as it truly is, not as you intended.

Maybe I should start a blog on time management and self-discipline … but that would be a little contradictory to my goals of improved time management, wouldn’t it? ;-)

As far as your actual question goes; Why PFSP is so difficult to incorporate into real life situations?

I think there are 2 big reasons :

Self discipline - I believe the same problem people have losing weight even though we all know how.

Fear of Criticism - I believe many people feel uncomfortable using their new speech pattern in public. Personally, I was criticized in 93 when I finished the program.

This time through the program, I paid special attention to my tonality, since I knew it would be a major hurdle transferring my new pattern to the real world. My therapist knew about it right from the get go, and has been quick to point out when I get chanty.

For the most part, I think I’ve done a decent job. Most people tell me I don’t sound odd at all. The only comments I’ve ever had, were I sound like I may have been through a voice coach, and that I have a remarkably clear speaking voice.

Here is a few posts I made about tonality:
PFSP-Day 14-Talk about maintenance
PFSP-Day 10-Slow Normal & Shaping

There are plenty of criticisms on the tonality problem:
Stuttering workshop in San Francisco March 26
Re: Has anyone tried the fluency shaping method..?

I hope that more accurately answers your question. :-)


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