Trusting the experiential common sense of stuttering
I had an exchange with my stuttering buddy Pam, who has recently experienced a relatively sudden evolution in overt stuttering behaviors. New secondary stuttering behaviors include throat and laryngeal tension. She told an SLP, who suggested she try (whole-body) relaxation techniques and laryngeal massage (i.e., massaging your neck).
Are any stutterers out there buying this? I highly doubt it. We know better. And yes, the SLP was a fluent. [A well-intended fluent that’s giving useless (if not harmful) treatment advice.]
In a sense, the sports analogy works here. (It usually fails as it relates to stuttering, but it works here…) If one develops some new ‘bad habits’ in their golf swing, will it help the golfer at all to massage their arm or trying whole body relaxation techniques? No. The problem isn’t tension in the arm, it’s the act of swinging itself. Similarly, newly acquired secondary stuttering behaviors aren’t problems of “muscle tension” itself, but rather new and novel additions to the speech code. Massaging the larynx won’t do anything–as any stutterer will intuitively know. The act of speaking is what needs to be targeted–which is why negative practice and volitional stuttering are such great tools.