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From Pain to Power

Are you in a “victim” role waiting for someone or something to “cure” your stuttering behaviour? It’s not going to happen!

This article is about taking ownership for your own recovery, embracing “fear” and changing your thoughts and vocabulary to become a far more positive person.

With an attitude of ownership of our stuttering and commitment to improve our speech comes a feeling of empowerment that helps us move away from pain and fear around speaking situations to feelings and behaviours of power and confidence.

There are many valuable resources available to people who stutter in Australia. However, long-term recovery from stuttering will not happen unless we take personal responsibility for our recovery.

The best help and therapy in the world will not succeed unless we have the attitude to be brave, work hard and persevere to overcome a life-time of fear and negative thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviours around our speaking. Stick at it and over time you will move from a position of PAIN TO POWER!

FEAR is an interesting word. If we consider the word as meaning False Expectations Appearing Real and apply it to speaking situations, we have a fear that we might stutter and appear to our listener as different, incompetent, disabled, whatever. We then try to suppress the fear and try hard not to stutter and you can guess the result! Our very fear of stuttering becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and we block and stutter. Stuttering is not something that mysteriously happens to us. We trigger the behaviour; it’s an inside job!

Fear is a normal and healthy human experience. If we never experience a bit of fear, then we aren’t putting ourselves in situations that will enable us to grow as people! Speech aside, this principle applies to every aspect of our lives; career, relationships, sport, etc. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with a feeling of helplessness and paralysis.

It’s good to realise that most people are living with fear of various kinds and causes. What is the difference then between positive and negative fear? It depends on how we “hold” that fear. Do we interact with fear from a position of pain, helplessness, paralysis or from a position of power, energy and excitement? Please note that power in this context has nothing to do with power over other people but power and control over our own thoughts, feelings and emotions.

To move from a position of PAIN TO POWER, we must move from a state of the victim who gives away their power and blames everyone else for their woes to a person who takes responsibility for how they interpret the events around them and how to react to them.

To move from a state of PAIN to a state of POWER in regards to our speech requires that ACTION be taken!













That action might consist of undertaking a further programme of treatment, joining a public speaking club, assertiveness classes, drama classes, support group, whatever. If you find yourself “stuck” as far as your recovery is concerned and you’re not happy to stay there, DO SOMETHING!!!

The consequence of our thoughts, feelings and emotions is always behaviour. This can manifest itself in the language we use which can also move us from a position of PAIN to a position of POWER!





“I can’t…..”


“I won’t…..”

“I should…..”


“I could…..”

“It’s not my fault…..”


“I’m totally responsible…..”

“It’s a problem…..”


“It’s an opportunity…..”

“If only…..”


“Next time…..”

“I hope…..”


“I know…..”

“Life’s a struggle…..”


“Life’s an adventure…..”

“What will I do…..?”


“I know I can handle…..”

“It’s terrible…..”


“It’s a learning experience…..”

“I’ll try…..”


“I’ll do…..”

To eliminate the PAIN caused by constant self-criticism and negative self-talk and move to a position of positiveness and POWER:

  • Listen and be aware of everything you think, feel and say.
  • Make the decision to stand guard over your mind and your mouth.
  • Never say anything negative about yourself. Never put yourself down.
  • Choose to have positive thoughts, feelings and emotions about yourself.
  • Approach fearful situations with the attitude, “no matter what happens, I’ll handle it”!
  • STOP being overly sensitive about what people might think of you if you have a stutter. No one is perfect. Why do we think we have to be?

In conclusion, believe in yourself, believe in the person you want to become and believe in your success. As soon as that negative thought enters your mind, STOP, and change it to a bigger and more positive thought.

You are unique and important. Let your thoughts work FOR you not AGAINST you.

Three McGuire graduates are now Dr Susan Jeffers trainers in Australia running “Feel the Fear” workshops for the general public.

Refer to the following websites for details of upcoming courses in your region of Australia:

Scott Monson – refer

Cindy Melksham – refer

Ray Welchman – refer

Acknowledgements: “Feel the Fear and do it Anyway” by Dr Susan Jeffers.

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