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Frequently asked questions

Real answers to real questions

Is there a CURE for stuttering?

Generally no, although many of our graduates reach the point where they have recovered from stuttering; stuttering no longer is a consideration in their lives regardless of the situation. For others we offer a proven method of controlling stuttering so that they can embrace speaking situations they would have previously avoided.

What is the McGuire Approach?

To overcome a stutter is a long-term process requiring constant coaching and support as provided by our programme.

The McGuire Programme takes a holistic approach that treats stuttering not so much as a problem with speech but more an issue with our experience of communication and how we relate to people and the world around us: more an issue of fear and anxiety and old patterns and triggers from the past. Changes to those old patterns takes time hence the emphasis on ongoing coaching and support. The McGuire Programme has been a great solution for many people who stutter throughout the world. 

I made preliminary enquiries about the programme but was "put off" by the membership fee.

I outline details of the costs involved below. Please note there are no "course" fees but rather a membership fee to join the programme. We know by experience that even though you won't be stuttering at all by the end of the course, the behaviour will return unless you get ongoing coaching and support which is provided as part of your membership of the programme for as long as you need it. Other programmes lack this critical element.

The McGuire Programme offers only a life-time membership with access to ongoing coaching and support. The initial 4-day course is part of the life-time membership. This is in recognition of our knowledge that overcoming stuttering, no matter how severe or not the stutter, is a long-term process involving changes to the "system" that is you. That is, in an adult, stuttering has little to do with speech but rather how we perceive ourselves in relationship to people and the world around us. This recovery process begins with the 4-day intensive course. We're not interested in a short burst of fluency but rather long-term recovery from stuttering.

The one-off cost of life-time membership (which starts with the 4-day intensive course and includes our comprehensive follow-up support), payable on the Friday of the course (one and a half days into the course) if you decide to continue, is $2,530 inc GST.

Accommodation for the course is about $250-$300 twin share for four nights. Staying at the venue although highly desirable is not mandatory. Consider the 8am-9pm days and the travelling time required from your home. Recovery from stuttering needs to be given total commitment and concentration within a controlled environment during the early stages. Outside influences, such as contact with family members/friends/strangers, may impede the recovery process.

The lifetime membership fee includes:

  • Four Day Intensive Course (accommodation not included)
  • Personal Coach for 12 months
  • Six Week Follow Up Workbook
  • Lifetime Follow Up Support
  • Course manual "Beyond Stammering"
  • Access to Support Groups
  • Refresher 4-day courses @ $100 for the entire four days (for graduates of the programme)
  • Telephone Support
  • On-Line (Internet) Support
  • Training Opportunities
  • Life Long Membership

The course fee is not payable until the second day of your first course. Because we want you to feel comfortable about your decision to join the programme, we give you time and opportunity to assess the effectiveness of the programme for yourself. Only then will you decide, quite freely, whether to continue.

In many cases, employers in the public and private sectors are willing to contribute all or some of the programme fee for employees.

On our own initiative and at our own discretion, we continue to offer partial scholarships in cases of financial hardship.

The membership fee is an investment in your quality of life and future career choices. Many graduates have progressed to earning $20,000-50,000 per annum more than they were earning before joining the programme! Some have changed careers, started up their own businesses, going from being assembly line workers to becoming skilled engineers. Several are now trainers and motivational speakers. Refer to the following websites for examples:

How can we encourage our brother to join?

One of the keys to this programme's success is that the need for change has to come from the individual concerned. So it's up to your brother to make this decision to do something positive for himself. If he has a compelling reason to improve his speech, this programme can be life-changing for him. 

How can my brother overcome his apprehension about attending a course?

Once he attends the course, he'll see that he is among people who like him, stutter, and who have all experienced the associated problems. The course presents challenging situations but all activities are optional. We don't ask people to do anything we don't believe they can do. We also encourage family members to join the course (or parts of it) at no charge.

What is the best way for us to support our friend?

Just accept and love him or her unconditionally but also provide them with information about options available to him to improve their communication. Encouragement is important but I emphasise the ownership to do something has to be with him or her

How many people have joined the Programme?

Over 1,000 Australians and several thousand worldwide.

Why do some graduates return to stuttering after the Programme?

After graduates gain control over their own stutter many have a passion to help other people who stutter. They return to courses to assist in coaching roles and perhaps after appropriate training they become involved in instructing on courses.

Other graduates leave the 4-day course 100% fluent and feel they are "cured". However, because they don't practise the breathing and speaking technique or challenge their feared speaking situations, they continue to have problems. They can then return to a 4-day intensive refresher course for only $100, refresh their technique and get back on track.

Typically, how many people participate on a course at one time?

A typical course has about 10-15 new students with about 30-40 returning graduates attending at any one time. The graduates return on the courses to help the new students and also to strengthen their own recovery. Part of the recovery process is helping others to recover. Much of the course time is spent in one to one tuition.

Do you have regular breaks throughout the course?

Yes. We break for 10 minutes after every 50 minute session. This is to ensure that the information given is retained. It also gives an opportunity to 'freshen up'. There are also extended breaks for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I heard that the course days are very long. Why is that?

Recovering from stuttering is a difficult process. That's why we work on both the physical and psychological aspects of stuttering as well as practise the techniques in public. This is to give you the best possible initial start on your road to recovery. So sessions usually begin most mornings at 8am and end at about 9pm. Yes, it's a long day, but the end result is all worth it

I like what I hear about the McGuire Programme and I want to apply for my first course. How do I do that?

The application form should be completed by yourself or, in the case of a minor, by a parent, guardian or other responsible person.

If you choose to apply online, the first step is to go to the online application form. When you have filled in all the information we ask you to provide, click on the 'Submit' button and the security code directly below it. Your application will be sent to the Regional Director. You will receive a confirmation shortly afterwards.

If you (or someone speaking on your behalf) prefer to contact the Regional Director, just click on contact us and you can submit your message on-line. You can also contact the Regional Director directly by e-mail, telephone or letter; you will find contact details on the website. An application form will be sent to you on request. This should be completed and returned to the Regional Director. You will receive a confirmation shortly afterwards by whichever method you prefer (e-mail, telephone or letter).

The Regional Director will provide dates for forthcoming intensive courses which still have places available for new students.

You say that the goal for students of the McGuire Programme is eloquence. Why do you aim for eloquence and not for fluency? What is the difference?

Many people who stutter – perhaps most – enter stuttering therapy wishing to become fluent. After years of negative speaking experiences, this is understandable. However, it is a paradox that fluency, when pursued above all else, can be a self-defeating goal.

Much more productive is to start with self-acceptance. Learning to accept ourselves fully in the role of people who stutter can be challenging, but it is the crucial first step to go beyond stuttering. Interestingly, by taking the focus away from fluency as a primary objective, fluency is often achieved as a by-product of the process.

We aim for eloquence because we want you to take pride in your role as a speaker. Indeed, many of our members are involved in public speaking organisations such as Toastmasters, Association of Speakers Clubs, and Rostrum. McGuire Programme graduates regularly win public speaking awards.

I've read the information on this website about the McGuire Programme, but I'm still undecided whether to apply. May I speak to some graduates of the programme?

Yes. There are many scams on the Internet so we encourage all potential applicants to do this initial research. Contact the Regional Directors and he will provide you with phone numbers of graduates who are happy to share their experiences of stuttering and recovery. Also, you will be very welcome to attend our Open Days or Support Groups to ask questions, find out more about us and to speak to some graduates in person.

When considering any treatment the key question is what ongoing coaching and support is available and at what cost? This aspect is one of the strengths of the McGuire Programme and a major point of difference to other treatments.

What qualifications do you have?

We are not qualified speech and language therapists. Our coaching staff, all recovering/recovered stutterers, includes a number of medical practitioners, psychologists and counsellors and we often draw on their expertise. More importantly, however, we consider our personal experience with stuttering and our demonstrated commitment to assist others over the long term as a significant qualification in its own right. The programme is continuously reviewed and developed by trained programme staff who, by constantly observing and working with many kinds of stutterers, consulting with professionals and learning from other sources, seek to improve its effectiveness.

There are numerous courses/treatments available for stutterers. Is the McGuire Programme different to other programmes?

Yes, we are different from all other programmes in that:

  • Everybody involved in the McGuire Programme, its founder, coaches, instructors, administrators, etc., have gone through the experience of stuttering and the experience of attending the courses.
  • There is no other therapy programme that empowers its graduates to help other stutterers and ultimately become coaches, instructors, and regional directors.
  • We radically and positively alter people's lives to such an extent that in two days students can be transformed from out of control stutterers to being in total control of their stutter for the first time in their lives.
  • There is strength, honesty, and depth in our unlimited, lifetime support network. Indeed the McGuire Programme is arguably the largest self-help group for people who stutter in the world.
  • The techniques taught are sustainable as the programme has existed for over fifteen years and graduates have achieved awards and recognition from speaker's clubs such as Toastmasters. These graduates compete with 'fluent speakers'. Details are on our website: www.beyondstuttering.com.au

I'd like to encourage a friend to participate in the McGuire Programme. How can I convince him or her of its value, or am I better advised not to push the issue?

It has to be your friend's decision and he must approach it with ownership, commitment and a passion to do something about his speech. If that's not the case we'd rather not see him to be honest. We're not interested in a quick three-day fix that will see him fluent for 2-3 months; we're concerned about his long-term recovery!

I imagine my friend would find the concept of attending a course daunting/intimidating. How are such fears and apprehensions overcome?

When people attend their first course, they quickly realise they are among friends, fellow stutterers who have experienced all the difficulties, all the embarrassments and fears that they too have suffered. The programme is a supportive, self-help "community" that continues to extend worldwide. During courses, we are all presented with challenging situations, but we don't ask people to do anything we don't think they can do or that we have not done ourselves. All activities are optional. We also encourage family members or partners to come along to sit in on the course, or parts of the course. The more they know about the programme, the more they can do to help and support their loved one during recovery.

What is the success rate?

We have a +70% success rate meaning people are continually advancing with their speech and are doing things now they wouldn't have dreamed of doing before the course.

This statistic is based on detailed and comprehensive success evaluations which are carried out every six months and verified by a McGuire auditor from outside the region.

What is considered a success? Do graduates stop stuttering completely?

As there is no known cure for stuttering, we gauge a successful graduate as being free from stuttering in most situations with just the occasional reminder of their past affliction. Basically, it is being in control and having fun in most speaking situations; controlling the stutter rather than it controlling you. However, many graduates achieve complete freedom from stuttering.

What is the most common cause of failure (to give up stuttering) by attendees at the programme?

The biggest problem is that students leave the four-day course 100% fluent and feel they are "cured". Therefore a percentage of graduates fail to use the technique we teach them, don't practise the breathing, don't go out and face their fears and challenging situations, fail to stay connected with the programme and have problems. They then feel they have failed and the McGuire Programme hasn't worked for them and go off looking for the next 'magic pill' instead of getting back into it, making the effort required and following their coaches' directions, etc.

I heard that I will have to speak in a public place during the course?

Yes, there is the opportunity to give a speech in public during the course. However, we don't ask anyone to do anything we don't think they're ready for and always the final decision is theirs. Nobody is forced to do anything he or she is not comfortable with. However, during the course the confidence of participants is such that they feel well equipped to speak publicly with the support of their fellow-participants. The sense of achievement experienced as a result makes the exercise more than worthwhile and starts to change the person's self-image and belief system.

Why is there a minimum age of twelve to attend the courses?

Our courses are intense and some of our teaching methods are too advanced for a child younger than 12 years of age. Children older than 12 are generally well capable of understanding and implementing our teaching methods and are able to work well in a group environment. However, for an under 18 to be considered for the programme we do require the parent or guardian to complete a questionnaire so that we able to evaluate their suitability and chance of long-term success.

Do you have this same programme in Germany?

Yes, check out this website for details: http://www.mcguireprogramm.de/

If you have any other questions that are not answered here, please feel free call or email me at anytime. Also, please indicate on the application form, the course date you would prefer and we'll do our best to accommodate you.

“Winning can be defined as the science of being totally prepared”.
George Allen