I struggled with stuttering from a young child. Oral presentations at school were the worst, along with those awful memories of spending a minute struggling to get a word out, then realising that my listener had no idea what I just said. After my first course of the Mcguire Program in 2000, I had an amazing burst of confidence. I could speak, I was free! However, this freedom was based on confidence, not an understanding of how, and why, the Mcguire technique was effective.
Eventually, that confidence waned, my stuttering returned, and the burden of anxiety and guilt became two-fold – I hated stuttering again and felt ashamed that I couldn’t use this speaking technique. This burden became too much, so I dropped out. I lived life, had many, many good experiences with work, my wonderful wife and five children, extended family and friends, but I had an ever-present cloud of anxiety associated with my struggles with stuttering.
In 2016, the struggles and anxiety became worse, and I remembered those times when on the McGuire Program when I enjoyed speaking. That was what motivated me to return to an intensive course in early 2017.
Key changes in my approach since then have been to use the incredible support network of the McGuire Program, to enjoy forming friendships with so many people having a common bond, but then building those friendships beyond stuttering and into “life”.
I am still a work in progress, some days more so than others, but have enjoyed many speaking achievements in the last two years, many of which meant facing fears such as presentations at national scientific conferences, interviews on radio, becoming a certified McGuire coach and course instructor, and enjoying reading to my kids and family. It is a priceless opportunity to share my experiences, and mistakes, to help others who are walking the same journey.
For anyone who struggles with stuttering and the anxiety that comes with it, I cannot recommend the McGuire community enough.