A Lawyer Can’t Stutter

Case #1019. From the training manual, On Becoming a Professional Hypnotist.

A Lawyer Can’t Stutter

Date: 2001. Place: Portland, OR.
His problem wasn’t evident, during my interview with Francois. It was hard to discern that almost imperceptible hesitation at the beginning of his sentences but it was there. Unnoticed by most, he could have made it through life without any need to take away his stutter. His concern became evident when Francois stated that he was in law school. He needed to be able to speak clearly and confidently before any court.

One’s inability to instantly respond in that setting could be deadly. A jury might sense that he was unsure of himself and, therefore, unsure of a positive outcome for his client.

In the interview leading up to the first of our three sessions, I learned that his mother and his older brother also stuttered. I asked Francois if he had a feeling that he might be disloyal to his mother for abandoning the way she’d taught him to speak. He stated that he didn’t know. He did say, however, that even if he did not speak as his mother had taught him, she would be proud of his law degree. I asked if he felt it imperative to eliminate his stutter in order to be a successful lawyer. He said it was.

Among other suggestions presented to the subconscious, there is one that most frequently works with those who stutter. In his case, I did not tell Francois that he would stop stuttering, nor did I need to do age regression. He already knew why he stuttered. There had been no traumatic event to precipitate it, as is often the case.

Note: Other than imitation, it is my belief that stuttering is brought about by a traumatic event in a child’s formative years. Reflecting on those who stutter, we find that it is more evident in boys and men. Its counterpart is fibromyalgia which is, primarily, a female problem.

Here is the reason for my theory: Stuttering is brought about by overly strict discipline of a young child by a parent or significant other. The child may have been severely spanked, then sent to his room. While there, the child continues crying. This disturbs his abuser, who then shouts at the child, “shut up or I’ll give you more.” The child, in turn, stifles his tears, holding back his suffering.

Listen closely to the one who stutters. Does it not sound like a sobbing child? It may have been many years since the trauma(s), yet the repressed feelings are still welled up inside.

Likewise, I believe that fibromyalgia is caused when a woman has suffered abuse and is unable to express herself adequately. She may not find a sympathetic ear. Though she may tell authorities, her mother or best friend, her complaint is often dismissed as not important or, worse, that she may have precipitated the abuse.

It was in the 1970’s that the medical community came up with this term. Since they had no idea what to call this elusive disease, they called it a disease of the muscles, or fibromyalgia. Ironically, this condition responds favorably to hypnotic relaxation techniques and especially to regressive states where the woman can finally talk about past trauma.

While there are some who will disagree with my view as to the origin of these two problems, the fact remains that I have used deep hypnosis to eliminate both complaints.

One of the ways I’ve helped clients who stutter is by suggesting—in the hypnotic state—that he stutter at the end of a word, instead of the beginning. Or, that he silently snap his fingers whenever he has any tendency to stutter. Any motor response will do; pressing thumb and index fingers together, pressing the toes down hard in one’s shoe or the crossing of one’s fingers.

In a severe case of stuttering, I will normally take the client down into deep hypnosis to the very day when he first noticed difficulty in speaking. Next, I take him to that one moment, just before he noticed this problem. I ask where he is and who’s there.

We walk through the entire scene or set of events. He may cry, as he was not allowed to do so at the time of the abuse. Before bringing him back to full conscious awareness, I say:

Therapist: …and from this moment on…if you ever have any trouble speaking clearly…you will immediately reflect back to that event and say to yourself, “I’m not going to let that bother me ever again. It was not my fault, and I did survive.”

It may take up to five sessions to effect a lasting change. Remember, the mind loves change but not instantaneous. When helping a woman with fibromyalgia, I introduce her to relaxation.

At that point, I work on getting her to regress back to the traumatic foundation of the problem. Similar to how I resolve stuttering, I have the woman review the event(s) until the tears flow, which act as the catharsis to wash away the repressed emotions.

Returning to Francois: I stated that it was okay for him to stutter if he really wanted to (as an act of remaining a loyal son), but that he would now find that the only way he could stutter would be at the end of a difficult word, instead of the beginning. In trance, I asked him to discuss his classes at school, during which he did not stutter at all. He actually found my suggestion amusing.

I met with Francois after he graduated from law school. He stated that he had all but forgotten his previous speech problem and that it had not existed since our last visit.

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