I have had a speech impediment for as long as I can remember and had a couple speech therapists as a child then as a teenager. Throughout my twenties I forcefully pushed through life with my stammer struggling with it daily. When I was introduced to Nicky I was burnt out from work and personal stresses. Nicky was fantastic at firstly reducing my symptoms from burn out, then addressing my speech impediment. She used a wide range of holistic methods to help me improve my speech.
Together we delved into the psychological implications my speech was having on me; a lot of this I hadn’t been aware of before. Previous speech therapists had only focused on the psychical methods such as shape of mouth, breathing and repetition. I am immensely thankful that Nicky shone a light on the psychological effects as it has allowed me to understand my thoughts, reactions to other people plus reduce my self doubt and anxiety held about my speech.
Nicky was always calm in her approach and a pleasure to have therapy with. Each exercise we did to improve my speech was done in manageable chunks we would do together then I could practice in my own time. Since having therapy with Nicky I do not harbour any of the worries or anxiety I previously held and my speech has significantly improved.
My stammer is fairly mild and not usually much of a problem. However, I had agreed to take on a role – as captain of a sports club – which was going to require a lot of social public speaking. This was causing me anxiety, especially because a speech I had had to make as a stand-in in this context hadn’t gone well. From experience I know that anxiety aggravates my stammer.
Nicky helped me to think about the issues better. She helped me to see that attempts to conceal my stammer and avoid certain words made me defensive and anxious. She encouraged me to say what I wanted and to accept some stammering as just being part of me. She helped me to focus on the positive purposes of the speeches I would have to make, such as sharing information, enjoying humour, expressing appreciation, promoting a charity.
Nicky also provided me with some useful techniques, both for relaxation and for easing access to certain sounds to reduce the risk of blocking. Finally, she served as an audience for speech rehearsal, enabling me to make mistakes and learn from them. In particular she helped me to raise and vary my tempo and to be more upbeat.