Stuttering, stammering

Stuttering / stammering, or ‘verbal non-fluency’ or ‘disfluency’  in modern psychological parlance, can be highly frustrating and embarrassing to the person who experiences it – and may lead to a deep lack of self-confidence. After all, verbal communication between people is so very important, that any disruptive process is not easily bearable. Its severity may be anywhere between mild and extreme, and there may be various accompanying bodily tics.

Throughout history many famous people are reported to have had the problem, which some made successful efforts to overcome. To mention a few: the Roman Emperor Claudius, Archbishop Thomas Becket, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Lewis Carroll, King George VI, the young Churchill, humourist Patrick Campbell. What is clear from research is that the ‘knotted tongue’ condition is not associated with lower intelligence.

There seems to be a genetic element in its cause, but environmental factors may also be significant. Small children who develop a stutter for no apparent reason often ‘grow out of it’. Paradoxically, stutterers can often communicate words perfectly well through singing, or whispering.

In some cases, a psychological trauma can precipitate a stutter – and this is where hypnotherapy may be able to help. It might have been, say, a bereavement, a child’s parents splitting up, or some humiliating event. The psychological component may be noticeable in that the individual might stutter in the presence of certain people, yet not others. Sometimes, a frustrated aggression appears to be present.

Hypnotherapy may help. The procedure is to locate the original trauma, using a special form of communication with the unconscious mind – involving small finger movements made by the client in hypnosis. Essentially, the trauma has virtually caused a part of the mind to split away and stay fixed in time at that point – establishing a ‘subpersonality’. The client is guided to revisit the causative event, its trapped emotion is released, and then the subpersonality is processed and symbolically reintegrated. In addition, the habit part of the behaviour is treated so as to reduce in intensity and disappear.


We offer treatment for stuttering and stammering in Egham, Surrey, London, etc.