The McGuire Programme intensive courses are back in Sweden to help our members and new students to overcome stuttering. The Scandinavian region has been able to do face-to-face courses in Denmark and Norway during the past two years, but the pandemic made it difficult to cross borders and restrictions limited the maximum number of seats available.
This time we were able to open our doors to everyone inside and outside of Scandinavia and do a large course in the English language with over 65 returning members and 5 new students, all choosing to become members of our programme.
Assertiveness and self-acceptance are two of the traits needed to overcome stuttering using the McGuire Method. Not many people who stutter who have joined the McGuire Programme have assertiveness and self-acceptance when first entering the programme. That might be especially true for us Scandinavians since we have a set of cultural norms that discourage standing out from the crowd (often referred to as the ‘Law of Jante’, based on a satirical novel).
In reality, Scandinavians are very tolerant and tend to love people who dare to be unique, but strong cultural habits are difficult to break, and few want to see themselves at the centre of attention.
This was evident at the beginning of the course when even experienced members with very strong speech were reluctant to stand up in front of the group and express themselves. This tendency to hold back when communicating can increase our risk of losing our strong speech when we most need it and sets a bad example for new members. We therefore openly acknowledged this issue during the course and agreed to work on it together.
Many of our members in Scandinavia took advantage of the McGuire Programme online support network during the pandemic in order to maintain and even improve their speech. While many others saw their comfort zones shrink and some of their old bad habits return during the lockdowns.
We all have the tools/techniques to regain our strong speech on our own, but it’s much easier to do it with strong support. This course reminded us of the tremendous benefits of spending 3½ days in a room with people who are all working towards the same goals. For our own benefit and for the benefit of the whole group. We used this dynamic to encourage each other to work harder, speak up more assertively and fully express ourselves.
By the end of the course, the new students went out into the streets of Malmö and engaged with over 100 members of the public. Later we all took to the soapbox in the city centre to deliver assertive (loud) and passionate public speeches.
Many of our veteran members spoke to over 200 people in a couple of hours. These are feats that seemed impossible to most of us before we joined this programme, but by working together, step by step, we eventually get to where we can achieve the impossible – and have fun while doing it!
The McGuire Programme method gives us the choice between staying limited by the fear of stuttering or becoming more assertive, expressive and confident than ever, ultimately becoming “better than normal”.
We know that the McGuire Method is amazingly effective to overcome stuttering. For many of us, it’s more effective than anything we dared to dream of during all our years of out-of-control stuttering. But it is not a cure that lets us become normal fluent speakers. It is a method that gives us the choice between staying limited by the fear of stuttering or becoming more assertive, expressive and confident than most, becoming “better than normal”.
Choosing the second path mentioned above involves a lot of hard work but gives us so many benefits that go way beyond overcoming stuttering and enrich most if not all areas of our lives. This gives us the courage and confidence to be the people that we want to be.
The article was written by Dino Skodo, course instructor intern Malmo June 2022 – now course instructor.
Would you like to overcome stuttering with us? Get in touch with one of our local representatives and find out how we can help you.
Our regional directors are your first point of contact for people who stutter. Get in touch with your local representative today.
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.
We are very happy to answer any questions you may have so please don’t hesitate to contact us.