” I realised that this would not be the magic pill we who stutter dream about, but an ongoing lifelong process very much like any skilled sport or performing art. ”
Dave McGuire and the Programme.
In 1969, after trying several forms of therapy, I had a chance to defeat my severe stutter with the help of Dr Joe Sheehan. At the time he was a psychology professor at UCLA and considered to be one of the very best stuttering therapists in the world. His Programme was based on active non-avoidance and acceptance of oneself as a stutterer. Although my speech had improved and I was able to develop a career in adolescent psychology, my lack of discipline and downright laziness resulted in many severe relapses that devastated my personal and professional life. In critical moments when I really needed to speak well, the words would not come.
In November 1993, after 24 more wasted years, I was given another chance in a Diaphragm Training Programme developed by a famous opera singer in Amsterdam. Although this Diaphragm training resulted in a strong, immediate fluency where I thought for sure I was ‘cured’, I relapsed after a couple of weeks. Having attained the impossible then losing it was devastating and the fear returned with a vengeance. Thankfully, I was able to use Joe Sheehan’s concepts to bring the fear down to where I could use (what I now know to be) Costal Diaphragmatic Breathing to get back my strong, rather articulate and eloquent way of speaking. From this I realized that this would not be the magic pill we who stutter dream about, but an ongoing lifelong process very much like any skilled sport or performing art.
Costal Diaphragm training, non-avoidance and role-conflict resolution, and various methods from Sports Psychology
Not cured because I still have to work at it, but being able to speak well and being proud of the way I speak in very challenging situations is very much worth the time and effort. Shortly after I “got it”, and having had already created a very successful Adolescent Treatment Programme in the USA, I figured I could start a Programme for those who stutter using a combination of Costal Diaphragm training, non-avoidance/role-conflict resolution, and various methods from Sports Psychology.
In February 1994, the McGuire Programme became a reality as a few brave stutterers took a chance and worked with me at my house in Holland. Soon, the successful ones (the ones who worked hard, were courageous and persevered) were spreading the word in their own countries, arranging courses for me to instruct, and inviting the ‘veterans’ to come help coach the new ones.
By 1995 the Programme evolved from “my” to “our” as more members became Coaches, Course Instructors, Staff Trainers and Regional Directors organizing courses and providing critical follow-up support throughout the world.
From 2020 our regions are established in the United Kingdom, Ireland, USA/Canada, Greece, Turkey, Australia/New Zealand, Holland/Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden and Norway), South Africa, Latin America, Malaysia, India, and the Middle East (including North Africa).