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Barbara, D.A. Goldart, N. Oram, C. (1961). Group Psychoanalysis with Adult Stutterers. Am. J. Psychoanal., 21(1):40-57.

(1961). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 21(1):40-57

Group Psychoanalysis with Adult Stutterers

Dominick A. Barbara, M.D., Natalie Goldart, M.A. and Caroline Oram, M.S.W.

Prior to discussing the actual therapeutic process in stuttering, let us attempt to understand those factors which may lead to stuttering, and in what manner the stutterer expresses his conflicts to himself and to others.

The onset of about ninety per cent of stuttering occurs before the age of ten, and the majority of these cases starts in the first five years, when the first major social adjustments begin.

It is at about the age of three that the average child begins to speak with enough meaning for his parents to pay attention to what he is saying and how he is saying it.

In our particular culture, language is considered the chief medium of communication. Through it we express our opinions, feelings, attitudes, and actions. The earliest conflicts of a child are expressed in his communications, both socially and verbally, to his parents and to the world about him. Where other children can pass through the primary stages of communication and early development fairly comfortably, the stutterer, because of his emotionally crippled position, is much more prone to anxiety.

Free-flowing and spontaneous speech obtains mostly in an environment of parental warmth in which the child feels himself accepted. Hesitancies in speech will first appear in response to parental prohibitions and restitutions. Although nonfluent speech or hesitancy in younger children may be fairly normal, tense parents who are perfectionists will often find this hesitancy alarming and will tag it as a stutter. Once the child has been so labeled, his position becomes unique in that there is set in motion a chain reaction of worries, anxieties, and preoccupations which will be a source of grave concern to both child and parents. Since language is the chief medium of communication for a child at this time, it is also the area first affected when the protective structures of the organism are threatened and anxieties result.


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