Clients’ Experiences with, and Perceptions of, Psychological Counseling to Augment Stuttering Therapy

  • Author / Creator
    Lindsay, Alanna M
  • Introduction: Stuttering impacts almost every aspect of life, stimulating fear and speaking avoidances, anxiety, frustration, anger, guilt, and/or shame in those affected. Because stuttering triggers anxiety and other psychological and emotional reactions and limits participation in society, it follows that psychological counseling could enhance stuttering treatment outcomes. The Comprehensive Stuttering Program (CSP; Boberg & Kully, 1985; Kully, Langevin, & Lomheim, 2007) offered at the Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR) uses speech restructuring and stuttering modification methods to reduce stuttering, and cognitive behavioral techniques to address the psychoemotional and social consequences of stuttering. However, in addition to the CSP, clients are provided the option to participate in psychological counseling offered by a resident Registered Psychologist. Despite the potential for counseling to enhance stuttering treatment outcomes in the CSP and other stuttering treatment programs, no research has been published to date on clients’ experiences with, or views toward, adjunct psychological counseling services. Research Question: The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of clients’ experiences with, and perceptions of, psychological counseling as an adjunct to the speech therapy for stuttering. Method: Participants were adults or young adults between the ages of 13 to 38 years of age who stuttered. Six of the participants took part in psychological counseling at ISTAR, whereas three chose not to do so. Semi-structured interviews were used to gather data. Following data collection, interviews were transcribed and data was analyzed using grounded theory as a guiding framework. iii Results: Three central themes emerged from the data. The first was ‘Participation decisions as determined within the context of clients’ life stories, personal experiences, perceptions of counseling, and the way that the counseling service was promoted at ISTAR.’ Decisions to participate (or not) involved factors that have been associated with help-seeking in related fields (e.g., perception of benefits, presence of negative life events) as well as novel factors (e.g., ‘why not’ mentality, seeing the service as a ‘limited resource’). The second theme was ‘Counseling as a necessary optional component in stuttering treatment,’ as illustrated by the experiences and opinions of those who participated in counseling, and the surmised benefits of the service according to those who did not participate. The final theme was ‘Counseling as a great service that begs wider promotion and enhancement.’ Participants made suggestions for enhancing the counseling service at ISTAR, but grappled with, and discussed, barriers to modifying the service that are relevant to ISTAR and to other centers providing stuttering treatment. Inherent in the three core themes was the belief that clients at ISTAR would, or could, benefit from psychological counseling with a mental health professional who is specifically trained to deal with emotional and psychological issues; however, participants indicated that counseling needs to remain an optional component despite being an integral part of a treatment program.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Specialization
    • Speech-Language Pathology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Langevin, Marilyn (Communication Sciences and Disorders)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Truscott, Derek (Educational Psychology)
    • Hopper, Tammy (Communication Sciences and Disorders)
    • McConnell, David (Occupational Therapy)