Icebergs Melting in Australia!

In Melbourne, climate change scientists declare that the recent flurry of icebergs melting will have NO impact on climate change; Instead, this will lead to happier lives for people who stutter! Read more to find out how four stutterers began their journey to become eloquent speakers...

Beyond Stuttering Course Instructor and Course Organiser receive Stuttering Icebergs from McGuire Programme ANZ Regional Director

Matt O'Brien (Course Instructor) and Kristy Warden (Course Organiser) receive their first Beyond Stuttering icebergs, in recognition of their fantastic efforts and progress in working on their stutter and helping other stutterers.

 

Melbourne, AU - An hour after the course had ended, the conference room carpet was dry as a bone; it's patterned mosaic showing no trace of the tears of joy, relief and real emotion that had flowed during the Farewell Speeches of the Melbourne 2016 McGuire Programme Intensive Course. The silence of the empty conference room contrasted with excited chatter and flowing conversation as friends, old and new, said their farewells, goodbyes and adieus after four transformative, life-changing days.

The empty conference room was unremarkable, save for a gaudy diamante chandelier suspended high on the ballroom ceiling, yet for four brave people who stutter, this place is forever unforgettable. This was the room that they stepped into on a Wednesday night: timid, anxious, incommunicado. This is the place that they left on Sunday afternoon: bold, confident, effectively communicators.

Our brave New Students were all members of "the one percent"; the one percent of society that stutter. The one percent who repeat or block on words and sounds. The one percent who go to extreme lengths to swap words, distort sounds and develop physical tricks to help get words out. The one percent who avoid everyday speaking situations to escape the shame of stuttering.

Our brave New Students were all members of "the one percent"; the one percent of society that stutter. The one percent who repeat or block on words and sounds. The one percent who go to extreme lengths to swap words, distort sounds and develop physical tricks to help get words out. The one percent who avoid common speaking situations to escape the shame of stuttering.

Our brave New Students comprised a thirteen-year-old, a young mother, a migrant, a Government worker. There is no discrimination when it comes to stuttering behaviour; it cuts across the strata of our society. Stuttering cares not for race, religion or political beliefs. Stuttering cares not for your favourite sporting team, musical preferences or dietary requirements. Stuttering cares not for your height, hairstyle or eye colour.

Our brave New Students did not start their journey alone; more than forty-five Returning Graduates joined them. Ten were attending their second Intensive Course (aka Refresher Course); eleven were Certified Primary Coaches; six were reconnecting with The McGuire Programme after more than five years without contact. Eleven were females; five were still in high school; ten were born outside of the ANZ region.

Three had flown in from Western Australia; two left New Zealand and crossed the Tasman; one committed soul traversed the hemispheres to bring a slice of Norwegian charm to our Melburnian surroundings.

No matter their background; all want to keep improving as speakers and continue chipping away at their (stuttering) iceberg. 


Dr Joseph Sheehan developed the Stuttering Iceberg analogy to describe the relationship between what the stutterer feels and what the listener notices. Dr Sheehan recognised that overt stuttering behaviours were noticeable to the audience, yet it was the psychological and emotional reactions that had the bigger toll on the stutterer. He advocated a more holistic approach to speech therapy, specifically for people who stutter, to deal with the physical blocks and distortions as well as the psychological burden.

The Stuttering Iceberg

On The McGuire Programme, our aim is to reduce the iceberg as a whole, responding to the covert issues 'beneath the surface' as we eliminate the overt stuttering behaviours 'on the surface'. 


Over the four days in Melbourne, we had metaphorical chunks of ice flying across the conference room as our New Students learnt how to use their newfound Physical Weapons to reduce the blocks, repetitions, prolongations and secondary behaviours. Under the surface, they found that their iceberg was beginning to melt away as they discovered a new found assertiveness to speaking situations, a sports mentality towards speech and an international support network to replace the sense of isolation.

The McGuire techniques were taught inside the conference room then tested outside on 'fluent' speakers. Our brave New Students were working hard, their McGuire techniques worked and they were rewarded with a sense of control over their speech. They were beginning to say what they wanted to say, instead of what they could say and their real personalities began to flourish! Public speaking, social speaking, telephone speaking; they spoke confidently and calmly at whatever situation they were put into.

Our Course Instructor, Matt O'Brien, knew exactly how our brave New Students were feeling throughout the four days. He had been a New Student on the Brisbane 2012 Intensive Course. In just four years, he has transformed from New Student to Course Instructor and his instructing isn't limited to The McGuire Programme; Matt now teaches at a TAFE institute (college) and is involved as an organiser with his local footy club. Aspirations and pipe dreams for the Matt who arrived on that Brisbane 2012 course timid, anxious and incommunicado. Through hard work, commitment and determination, this is now his reality.

  Matt now teaches at a TAFE institute (college) and is involved as an organiser with his local footy club.

As a Certified Primary Coach on The McGuire Programme, Matt is now in a position to help other people who stutter become eloquent, effective communicators. Matt is now able to offer support and advice to Graduates of The McGuire Programme. Matt can now help other people who stutter turn their pipe dreams into their reality.

 

Our Course Organiser, Kristy Warden, barely three years after sitting in the room as a New Student was now helping the Course Instructor and Regional Director to run the four-day Intensive Course. She liaised with the hotel, breakfast venue and arranged our Saturday evening social speaking challenge (for 63 people!). Putting her speech to the test in pressure situations, Kristy did a fantastic job of facilitating the Melbourne 2017 Intensive Course and enabling the other Returning Graduates to focus on getting the most out of the four days.

As a Certified Primary Coach on The McGuire Programme, Kristy is now in a position to help other people who stutter break down their own stuttering iceberg. Kristy is now able to explain which of our Physical Weapons can be used to counteract the overt stuttering behaviours. Kristy can now help other people who stutter melt away the fear, frustration and loneliness that lies beneath the surface.

 

Matt and Kristy have done an incredible job in breaking down their Icebergs; they played an inspirational part in helping Returning Graduates to continue reducing their Icebergs; they made our four New Students understand what the Iceberg was all about and take those first few metaphorical swings of the ice-pick. With all of these icebergs melting, it seemed only appropriate that our Course Instructor and Course Organiser receive a permanent memento of their efforts during those four days in Melbourne.

 

To learn more about the Stuttering Iceberg and how you can become an eloquent speaker and effective communicator - click here.

Courses for 2017 are listed here.