Stuttering Group Therapy
One of the great challenges of stuttering is the feeling of "Nobody else I know has this problem." Well, as they say at the NSA, you are not alone. Working through your communication struggles alongside others is an incredibly powerful change-maker. We believe very strongly in the power and effectiveness of group therapy, and are excited to help you connect with others as you move along your speech journey.
Groups are made up of 3-6 participants with 1-2 clinical staff. Groups and staff are consistent, so you will see the same people from week to week. Meetings are 60-90 minutes long (depending on the group). While therapy takes place in a group setting, each participant will develop individual goals and assignments that are unique to his or her needs.
Because the supportive group dynamic and accountability are foundational to successful group therapy, regular attendance is required. Group therapy means we're depending on everyone to show up! While we build in some flexibility for illness, travel, and emergencies, it is expected that group members will attend at least 75% of all meetings. Group spaces are limited, and so attendance is used to ensure your "spot" in the group remains active.
What happens in group therapy?
Our groups heavily follow the Avoidance Reduction model developed by Vivian Sisskin, blended with principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a framework commonly used at speech IRL. These approaches incorporate work in all three areas of stuttering: physical, mental, and emotional. Individuals develop their own treatment plans, with guidance from clinicians, as to how they would like to approach their stuttering. Examples of goal areas from each domain include:
Physical work: reducing secondary behaviors, reducing struggle and tension, eliminating use of filler words, improving eye contact, making speech "easier", making speech more "forward-moving"
Mental work: learning about speech and stuttering, understanding mental states related to stuttering, learning psychology techniques, changing thoughts and attitudes towards speaking and stuttering
Emotional work: reducing negative reactions to stuttering (fear, anxiety, panic, etc.), increasing speaking confidence, dealing with difficult speaking situations
What if I'm already in individual therapy?
You can do both, either, or "take turns"! Individual therapy is a very different process and experience than group therapy, and each model has its strengths and weaknesses. If you're currently in individual therapy, we do not require that you stop individual therapy to sign up for group. Similarly, if you are only interested in group therapy, you do not need to sign up for individual therapy.
While group therapy requires consistent attendance, individual therapy can be flexible. Many clients choose to flexibly incorporate individual sessions to complement the work they do in group, but this is not required.
We believe very strongly in the effectiveness of group therapy at speech IRL. If you're currently working with one of our staff individually, and would like to take a break to explore group therapy, your clinician will not be offended! We encourage discussing this with your SLP and figuring out what makes sense for you.
Will insurance pay for group therapy?
One goal of group therapy is that it is low-cost enough to be affordable regardless of insurance. The per-session rate equates to $40 per hour of therapy, which is the same (or less than) most co-pays for speech therapy.
If you would like to submit receipts to your insurance, we will provide you with the documentation to do so upon request. You are responsible for submitting claims to insurance on your own.
What kind of results can I expect from group therapy?
Studies of similar stuttering therapy models have shown that participants make gains both in physical speech change and social-emotional well-being, with good maintenance of gains in three-month follow-up measures.
There is no "cure" for stuttering, and this type of therapy is no exception. The goal is to equip you with tangible skills and knowledge to effectively manage your physical stuttering, mental-emotional reactions, and the way it affects your life. And make a few friends along the way!