Mindfulness Training in Stuttering Therapy: A Tutorial for Speech-Language Pathologists
The use of mindfulness training for increasing psychological well-being in a variety of clinical and nonclinical populations has exploded over the last decade. In the area of stuttering, it has been widely recognized that effective long term management often necessitates treatment of cognitive and affective dimensions of the disorder in addition to behavioral components. Yet, mindfulness based strategies and their possible usefulness in stuttering management have not been described in detail in the literature. This article seeks to engage professionals who treat stuttering in a conversation about the possible usefulness of incorporating mindfulness training into stuttering management. A review of the literature reveals that there is a substantial overlap between what is required for effective stuttering management and the benefits provided by mindfulness practices. Mindfulness practice results in decreased avoidance, increased emotional regulation, and acceptance in addition to improved sensory-perceptual processing and attentional regulation skills. These skills are important for successful long term stuttering management on both psychosocial and sensory-motor levels. It is concluded that the integration of mindfulness training and stuttering treatment appears practical and worthy of exploration. Mindfulness strategies adapted for people who stutter may help in the management of cognitive, affective, and behavioral challenges associated with stuttering.