Hiding in the background was an all to common behaviour as was saying ‘yes’ when I really wanted to say ‘no’ and foolishly believing that very few people knew that I was a person who stutters or stammers. Now the roles are reversed, I no longer hide my stutter and I’m now helping people who stutter to overcome their struggles with stuttering and improve their quality of life.
I first heard about the McGuire Programme on The Late Late Show in December 1997 and for the first time in my life, I could relate to people who had the same problem I had. I knew that I was no longer alone and I was really impressed by how well each participant spoke and behaved.
The people who appeared on the show spoke so confidently and without any sign of struggle or avoidance and I could tell that they were so proud of themselves as it showed in how they expressed themselves.
Eventually, I plucked up enough courage to hold onto the telephone long enough to book my place on the October 1999 course in Dublin, Ireland and over the first year of my journey I off-loaded most of the emotional and psychological baggage (the baggage of stuttering and holding back fear, guilt, shame, sense of isolation etc,) that I carried for a long time.
My journey on the McGuire Programme was not as easy as I had imagined but I gave it my best shot, used the backup support network that the programme offers to all its members and being open and honest in my journey I continued to make further progress.
I honestly believe I could not have progressed without the support I received from my coach and all the other coaches of the programme.
The McGuire Programme weekly support group meetings helped to keep me on track. I attended refresher courses that provided me with more knowledge, stronger techniques and with that powerful feeling of empowerment in being able to help others.
After a time I decided to give up my day job and began my role in July 2001 as Regional Director for the programme in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Being a Regional Director gives unbelievable job satisfaction and helping people who stutter is a job I don’t take for granted.
In my role as Regional Director, I heard from courageous new applicants (people looking for help with their out of control stuttering) struggling with every word on the phone during a call with them, to hearing existing members call me on a regular basis using good, disciplined techniques. There was definitely a clear contrast between the two.
As Regional Director I had to say “yes” to every opportunity such as radio interviews, newspaper articles, television interviews, group presentations and church readings. And at that time I needed to hear “yes” from myself and the challenges put in front of me and I still do take on every challenge and it’s now fun to do.
For those of you out there who stutter or stammer and suffer every day who are thinking about joining this life-changing programme, don’t waste any more of your precious time (your life) thinking about whether to join or not, or whether it works or not … take the action required and do it now! You have nothing to lose and possibly everything to gain.
Watch a video (live webinar) with Joe O Donnell talking about The McGuire Programme and the courses on offer to people who stutter in Ireland and Northen Ireland:
Beyond Stuttering Webinar with the McGuire Programme November 2021 (Ireland Region)
Joe is your first point of contact for people who stutter in Ireland and in Northern Ireland.
Around the world, our Regional Directors run the Programme in their respective regions. They organise Courses, Support Groups and Open Nights – among many other events and happenings related to helping people who stutter.
Joe is very happy to answer any questions you may have so please don’t hesitate to contact him.