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Dorsey, J.R. (1935). The Psychology of the Person Who Stutters. Psychoanal. Rev., 22(1):25-35.

(1935). Psychoanalytic Review, 22(1):25-35

The Psychology of the Person Who Stutters

John R. Dorsey, M.D.


Deviation is the result of unwise over-emphasis or under-emphasis, the result of going to unwholesome extremes. The determination of the essential pathology of stuttering involves the investigation of such extremeness in the person who stutters. Since everyone stutters (hesitates in his speech, “stumbles” on a word) at some time or other, in a broad sense we are all “stutterers.” What is it about both the nature of speech itself and the nature of a person who stutters that helps to clarify the process of stuttering? This line of questioning furnishes us with our point of departure.

To understand the nature of the speech act and to understand the meaning of the person, are the two fundamental prerequisites to the understanding (and treatment) of the psychological rationale of the individual who stutters. A recent study based upon clinical experience and laboratory research attempted to further the comprehension of the speech act through the consideration of (1) the structural units subserving phonation and (2) the whole person. The present study assumes a general awareness of the fact that the adequate knowledge of such basic interests as anatomy, physiology and phonetics underlies the most helpful comprehension of speech. In this presentation an attempt is made to enlarge such comprehension through the further analysis (1) of the original nature of the speech act and (2) of the original nature of the person who stutters.


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