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Heart Logo stutteRevolution_edited_edite


Heart Logo stutteRevolution_edited_edite

When I was eight years old I was fascinated with the ventriloquist Shari Lewis her adorable puppet, Lambchop. That same year, I received a gift of another popular ventriloquist doll, Danny O’Day. I was also given a record that introduced me to the voice and speech production systems. Little did I know that I was studying undergraduate and graduate concepts of speech sound disorders. This photo shows me with Danny O’Day after we gave my “Icebreaker Speech” together at a Toastmasters meeting. I had been avoiding public speaking for years, and in retirement from my full-time job, I decided to take up the public speaking challenge that some of my clients express they want to improve as well.


I became interested in stuttering as an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Barbara. As part of my observation hours, I had the opportunity to watch a graduate student who was trained by one of the leaders in the field at the time; I was pumped! But when the time came to see how the therapy was conducted, the ground beneath me fell away. Not from an earthquake, but from the disheartening and dehumanizing design of the treatment approach. A 70 year old gentleman wanted to improve his speech as

he had stuttered virtually his entire life. I was instructed to mark a “tic” for every stutter on a chart as I stood outside

the treatment room listening to the session. The grad student had been told to hold up her hand, as if she were a traffic cop, signaling the client to stop talking whenever he blocked on a sound. She then looked at her watch to “time him out” and when the magic time was up, she put her hands down and he resumed talking. I was dumbstruck, bewildered and appalled that we would use a form of punishment for the treatment of stuttering. This couldn’t be right. I vowed at that moment to unlock the mysteries of stuttering and how to treat it. 

Israeli bus for StutteRevolution_edited.

After graduating from UCSB, I lived in Israel for just shy of two years. I wanted to experience the process of learning a new language and having my own

"communication barrier/impairment”. I was certain that this would make me a more highly attuned, compassionate and empathetic speech therapist. After the initial learning curve, I easily conversed and worked in Hebrew as a speech therapist. Then I began stuttering, mostly in Hebrew. In hindsight it's easy to see that the Universe must have heard my vow at UCSB, and so it ensured that I became a highly-attuned therapist, with special regard to stuttering. I unquestionably learned what it felt like to anticipate, live through and

beat myself up about blocks and repetitions. After being mimicked by others (who were roughly my age) when I was asking a bus driver where to disembark, I felt shame, fear and totally demoralized. From then on I chose not to speak unless I was certain that I could speak fluently. This, and other experiences, led me to lose my confidence in speaking. Years of study, therapeutic counseling  and commitment to my own personal development have helped me heal the traumas of my past, including how to stop my stuttering system from being activated.  

When I retired, I once again decided to give myself the experience of what it feels like to learn something new, foreign and challenging. Having no musical background other than learning a few chords on the guitar in college, I chose learning to play classical mandolin and have the great fortune of studying with a teacher who believes in learning music Intuitively - the same philosophy that I use to guide my clients to speaking naturally. 

My Most Important Teachers for Understanding the Stuttering System and How to Heal It

Here are three people whose evidence-based principles and practices, each from a different field of study, have most influenced my ever-evolving Self and my approach to working with PWS and life coaching clients. Each of them provides solid evidence that changing your perceptions and beliefs liberates you from repeating the same conscious and subconscious habits of the mind. Understanding and cultivating an honest relationship between your Stuttering System's Parts and your True Self (the one who doesn't stutter when speaking alone) allows your stuttering to fade away and your Essence to shine.

John Harrison’s “Stuttering Hexagon” was my first clear roadmap for working with people who stutter (PWS). In the mid ‘80s, when I met John, a person who had “recovered from stuttering”, I knew I was on solid ground with a path forward for helping people understand and transform their Stuttering System. I Intuitively recognized that stuttering is a system of interacting parts, but I hadn’t fully flushed out what the parts were. John had looked under the hood, as he likes to say, and figured out how his Stuttering System worked. 

Then he recreated his System based on how people who don’t stutter, speak naturally. Essentially, he redesigned the function of each part of his Speech System. (hotlink: See John’s Hexagon as I use it today combined with IFS thanks to Dick Schwartz.)

In 2001 after almost 20 years of practice as an SLP, I began studying alternative, holistic healing methods and I added Intuition to the center of Harrison's Stuttering Hexagon. I realized from my work, studies and personal development that we all have a spiritual nature that uses Intuition to speak to us. In 2002, I started studying with Dr. Serge Kahili King, a psychologist and shaman who teaches Hawaiian Shamanism: The Way of the Adventurer. I’ve furthered my holistic healing studies with tai chi, yoga, Reiki, meditation, healthy eating, exercise, mind-body-spirit studies, neuroplasticity, neuroscience, epigenetics, and trauma treatment modalities such as CBT (Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy), ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and IFS (Internal Family Systems), plus other areas of study to aid in my understanding and work with PWS.

It is through the lens of IFS, a trauma treatment model, that I gained the clarity that had eluded me. My clients invariably express experiencing trauma as a result of stuttering: being bullied, feeling shame, fear, doubt, judgment, anger, depression, hopelessness, helplessness, self-consciousness, worry about their future, etc. The IFS/Parts modeI made it easier for me to work with all aspects of the Stuttering System through the “Parts" perspective. Dick Schwartz, who founded IFS over 40 years ago, has his Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy, which is based in systems theory. With the IFS model, there is "Self" or "Self Energy" at one's core. This is similar to how I incorporated Intuition into the center of John Harrison's Stuttering Hexagon System. It can be quite difficult growing up stuttering. IFS recognizes that all Parts of us are created to protect us from early emotional wounds, pains and suffering. There are a lot of interconnected Parts inside PWS that do their best to help manage speaking. The problem is that natural (non-stuttered) speech is designed to express our thoughts using implicit memory - no management required. But stuttering related Parts believe that they need to manage how, when and what to think and do about oneself and speaking. While I still have a holistic approach and infuse an array of modalities into the healing process, IFS/Parts work is central to my work with clients.



Northwestern University, Stuttering Therapy: Workshop for Specialists,  Full scholarship, The Stuttering Foundation of America, 1990;


Harvard University, C.A.S., Administration, Planning and Social Policy, 1990;


Case Western Reserve University, M.A., Speech-Language Pathology, 1983;


University of California, Santa Barbara, B.A., Speech and Hearing, 1978.

Certification and Licensure

Internal Family Systems, IFS-Informed Therapist, September, 2023;

American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders Life-time Member, Board Certified Specialist - Stuttering, Cluttering and Fluency (BCS-SCF, Initial cadre of Fluency Specialists, 2000):;

ASHA Certified Life Member since 2021 (Certified since 1984);

Licensed CT, 2009 - Present

Licensed RI, 1991 - Present

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