Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Crackpot Award for Sally Reed

A crackpot award goes to Sally Reed who has no clue about stuttering whatsoever and makes promises of curing stuttering. Here is what she writes with the great confidence of a crackpot.


Stuttering, in our experience, can be helped with hypnotherapy. Stuttering often occurs as a result of an unhappy event in childhood in which a child cannot express themselves.

Hypnosis can help find and then re-live events that led to the stutter and re-process them in a way that allows you to speak normally and fluidly.

Through re-living these past events from a safe comfortable perspective we can add our adult understanding and resources to what was likely a frightening or frustrating experience for a youngster.

Experience the freedom of speaking fluidly and freely in your daily life. Feel free to call or email about your situation, We'd be happy to talk to you.

My questions to her are simple:

1) Where is the evidence that stuttering starts because of a traumatic (what she calls unhappy) event?

2) Why do millions of others with traumatic events did not start stuttering?

3) Have you followed patients for a year to look whether they relapsed or not?

4) How many have you actually treated? Can we contact them?

5) According to your theory, how can genetics influence stuttering? How about brain abnormalities?


(Thanks to a reader who I feel prefers to remain anonymous.)

24 comments:

Pam said...

Oh boy, I wish we had all known this years ago. Think of all the time and energy we would have saved, not to mention all of the negative feelings.

I agree with the haircut!

Anonymous said...

Tom

I wonder whether she provides a 12 month money-back guarantee - i.e. would she return your money if her therapy fails to eliminate your stutter? All stuttering therapies provide this guarantee. Oh, wait, what am I saying ... none of them do!

Her haircut reminds me of Steven Pinker. Maybe you can email her and recommend your barber to her ... you seem to have a damn good haircut.

Jim said...

I think that it's the other way round. There is no evidence to prove that stuttering is caused by some traumatic event. Rather stuttering causes almost everyone to go through mental agony and trauma.

Sally Reed said...

By your own criteria I am NOT a Crackpot.

The answer to all the questions below, that you posted on your blog, in regards to me and my work, is NO.

"1) Do you have a cure for stuttering?

2) Have you cured yourself from stuttering?

3) Did you have an inspirational moment, where suddenly you instinctively you knew what stuttering is really about?

4) Do you often refer to big names to agree or disagree with them like "I agree with Freud that..." or "I disagree with van Ripper that..."

5) Do you dismiss brain imaging and genetics studies as irrelevant without having read the research articles?

6) Do you think that people ignore your ideas to protect their own interests? Or that there is a secret conspiracy against you and your ideas?

7) Do you firmly believe that PDS is purely psychological?

8) Do you write a blog making comments about PDS research even though you only have a PhD in theoretical physics? (quote from a university professor)

9) Do you talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk about your experience instead of asking others about theirs?

10) Do you over-use words like holistic, in-touch-with-oneself, and so on?


If you have answered more than three questions with YES: Congratulations!, you are a crackpot! :-) Please note that a university degree or a professorship does not neutralise the results, as experience shows in physics."


You may be interested to learn that research shows that hypnosis, guided imagery and deep breathing are specifically recommended to resolve and heal problems with the part of the brain that controls smooth muscle movement, the ability to integrate feelings and movement, control feelings of being overwhelmed emotionally, conflict avoidance, suppress unwanted muscle movement, and set the body’s idle speed or anxiety level. Isn’t that interesting?!

Hypnosis is very successful in promoting positive changes. There are several ways hypnosis can have a direct and positive impact on the lives of people with a stuttering disability. Hypnosis allows you to enter a state of relaxation and heightened suggestibility. If nothing else, the relaxation techniques alone may have a significant positive impact on the life of a person who stutters. I am sure you realize that hypnosis is not a magical cure-all. As individuals vary, so do results. Results are ultimately achieved through the client's own personal efforts at applying these techniques over time.

Other research you may be interested in concerns abusive behavior patterns, such as making inappropriate demeaning comments in a public professional forum.

Thanks for the link to my website.

Tom Weidig said...

Yes, you are not the typical crackpot by my criteria, but I don't have an "unprofessional behaviour" award to give to you.

You clearly state a theory on stuttering that is simply wrong.

Moreover, you promise fluency. How many have you successfully treated?

Please answer my questions on my post!

What you are doing now is backtracking by saying "Hypnosis is very successful in promoting positive changes. There are several ways hypnosis can have a direct and positive impact on the lives of people with a stuttering disability. Hypnosis allows you to enter a state of relaxation and heightened suggestibility. If nothing else, the relaxation techniques alone may have a significant positive impact on the life of a person who stutters. I am sure you realize that hypnosis is not a magical cure-all. As individuals vary, so do results. Results are ultimately achieved through the client's own personal efforts at applying these techniques over time."

Why don't you write that on your webpage instead of unprofessionally stating wrong theories and making big promises.

>> such as making inappropriate demeaning comments in a public professional forum.

You are the one that behaves unprofessionally by making promises to people that are desperate for help, and you clearly have no understanding of stuttering per se.

Adrian said...

Thanks Tom, you are doing all of us a service by publically challenging these crackpots. Too often these people are allowed to make these absurd claims re stuttering without any consequences. I am glad to see that we are finally standing up to these nut jobs.

Anonymous said...

Tom,

I tried hypnosis many years ago and it didn't cure my stutter. But having said that, I think you've been a little unfair to Sally Read. I haven't looked at her website (and I won't because I have no time) so I only have your post to go by. Here's why I think you were unfair:
She never used the word "traumatic" (that was your interpretation) - she said "unhappy event" and she also used the adjective "frustrating". This could be anything - perhaps the infant noticed some adverse reaction to his/her speech and this activated some kind of inhibitory response, and this could've been the birth of the stutter. A lot of people (not necessarily me) believe that such a scenario may be the cause of stuttering in some cases, and there is no crushing evidence to refute this belief.

Let's face it, we still have no idea of the genesis of stuttering. A lot of people say that stutterers are born with an intrinsic neurological deficiency which causes stuttering ... they say that stuttering is in the genes. Yet no such congenital neurological deficiency has ever been found. And in fact, there may well be multiple causes and multiple types of stuttering. We simply don't know.

I can understand that a lot of stutterers want to believe in an intrinsic neurological cause, because they don't want others to see them as "neurotic" or "psychologically unbalanced". One guy on stutteringchat was so desperate that he went as far as saying that "Tourrette's syndrome and stuttering are the same disorder". Such things don't worry me, so I am able to keep an open mind. Maybe I was born with a neurological deficiency, or maybe my stutter was the result of some innocuous experience in my infancy - all I care about is that a solution is found during my lifetime.

There is no treatment that will definitely eliminate stuttering in all cases - not Maguire, not fluency-shaping, not Lidcombe, not hypnosis, not olanzapine, not pagaclone, not valsalva, not neuro-linguistic programming - nothing. That is a fact, and it is this fact that can encourage crackpots to come up with dodgy "cures". By the way, I'm not suggesting that Sally is a crackpot.

This is why it is important for stuttering research to make some real breakthroughs. So far, stuttering research has generally been of extremely poor quality (you've even said it yourself), and this has been a source of real frustration for me.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last anon...well said

Anonymous said...

How do we know that Hypnosis didn't help some people who stutter. We are talking about the treatment of stuttering.

Try reading the book Stuttering Cured...now that was a bs book.

John said...

Tom,

Did you already give a life time achievement crackpot award to Schwartz?

For his lifetime of crackpot.

Many pws have read the book and misled by his airflow bs....the book is: Stuttering solved
by Martin Schwartz.

Let's be 100% fair and objective. And no reason to attack her hair style, which has nothing to do with her and stuttering false advertising. We all know that women get ugly as they age....

Olivier said...

"Let's face it, we still have no idea of the genesis of stuttering."

Maybe, but we have some theories. Why people continue to believe that stuttering have to be a impenetrable disorder ?

Adrian said...

I'm not sure why people defend Sally and the other NLP people. Would these type of claims be acceptable if we were talking about other neurological conditions such as Parkinson's, Tourette's, etc.? I doubt they would be and might even be illegal. But for some reason stuttering is fair game for crackpots. I applaud Tom for all of his crackpot awards.

Mike said...

I applaud Tom for his efforts, but I also would like to see people accept themselves for who they are and not give the crackpot's a way to make a living. ;-)

Jo said...

Thanks Tom for publicly denouncing these people who unfairly get our hopes up about an end to stammering - and almost in the same breath, calling their so called work "a cure" kind of indicates that my stutter is a disease to be got rid of.

I sincerely hope that in future there'll be a day when the single biggest collection of stuttering websites online isn't by money-hungry predatory con artists.

Please look at my own stammering blog (http://stammerheadshark.wordpress.com) if you get a chance, and perhaps consider if you'd allow me a place on your stuttering blogroll?

Thanks for your work, it's really encouraging,

Jo

Anonymous said...

Adrian,

You wrote:
"But for some reason stuttering is fair game for crackpots."

Stuttering is not the only thing that attracts crackpots (again, I'm not suggesting Sally is a crackpot). Do you live in Britain? If so, you are probably aware of the controversy surrounding science writer Simon Singh. Singh has been very critical of homeopathic treatments. Crackpots claim that these treatments can cure serious diseases like cancer, but any rational person can see that their claims are ridiculous. Now Singh is being sued by these crackpots because he's spoken out against them. Now that's what I call crackpots. It would be tragic and a setback for humanity if Singh lost that case; that's why some very prominent scientists have rallied behind him in support.

Any disease or disorder that has no cure is open to crackpots. You only see the stuttering side, but there is a whole world out there.

Now, about hypnosis and NLP and psychoanalysis as treatments for stuttering. I do believe that stuttering has a heritable component; this is almost certainly true because stuttering has been seen to run in families. But so what? This does not instantly mean that stuttering can't respond to non-physiological treatments such as CBT, hypnosis and NLP. I personally know somebody whose stutter was cured (yes, completely eliminated) by meditation. I tried meditation and it didn't help me. The brain is a complex organ. Depression also has a heritable component, yet some depressed people have been successfully treated without medication.

Adrian, I know it worries you that people are running around saying that stuttering is "psychological". But this doesn't bother me, and this is why:
From a philosophical point of view, everything in the brain has a biological cause. EVERYTHING - even the stuff that you might call "psychological". As we live our lives and have various experiences, genetic switches in our neurons are switched on or off, giving each of us unique brain structures. If you look at it this way, then "psychological cause" and "physiological cause" are the SAME THING. However, if we still do not know which part of the brain "goes wrong" in stutterers, how can we know what treatments are appropriate? We don't even know whether there are multiple variants of stuttering (I believe there are). So far there is no universal treatment for stuttering.

Adrian said...

Anonymous, yes, you are correct, stuttering is not the only disorder in the sights of the crackpots. But, here in the US if anyone were claiming they had a homeopathic cancer cure, they would likely be prosecuted. I would imagine the same would be true if they were targeting Parkinson's or Tourette's. But stuttering is still fair game.

I understand and agree with your argument that the psychological and physiological are intertwined. But this seems like a bit of cop out. There are still clear differences between the two.

Here in the US stuttering treatment is not covered under most insurance plans. Parkinson's, Tourette's, even depression and anxiety are covered, but not stuttering. Our American's with Disabilities Act has not covered stuttering. Many or most still believe stuttering is a sign of psychological weakness (would you hire someone whom you believed to be psychologically weak?). Why has stuttering not gotten the respect it deserves? It is simply because most have the misconception that stuttering is a purely psychological issue.

I have encountered many young stutterers who believe that if they can get their heads screwed on straight by an expensive NLP practitioner they would magically become fluent. Other then a couple of questionable internet testimonials, I have never heard of this happening. I’m not saying there is not room for NLP or hypnosis in stuttering treatment, but I am saying it is being grossly misused.

Many such as Tom Weidig are trying to change the public perception of stuttering. But, if we are going to continue to change the status quo and get stuttering covered by medical insurance, the ADA, and change the public’s perception of this disorder, we need to publicly challenge the crackpots who are pulling us in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of these crackpots on the World Wide Web. I am looking forward to Tom’s next award.

Anonymous said...

Adrian,

You wrote:

"here in the US if anyone were claiming they had a homeopathic cancer cure, they would likely be prosecuted. I would imagine the same would be true if they were targeting Parkinson's or Tourette's. But stuttering is still fair game."

Tourette's and Parkinson's are fair game too. Without even trying, I found the following quack treatments for Tourette's Syndrome on the web:
http://www.tourettes-tic.co.uk/
http://www.endmytics.org/
http://www.facialtics.org/
http://www.lifesatwitch.com/

And I found many, many more for Parkinson's. Unfortunately, the world is full unscrupulous money-hungry people who prey on the vulnerabilities of others.

In my opinion, it's good that the Americans with Disabilities Act does not cover stuttering ... I wouldn't want to be labelled as disabled just because I stutter. However it is indeed unfair that stuttering treatment is not covered by U.S medical insurance plans - but do you really believe that it is because of a misconception that stutterers are mentally weak? Or is it because of some outdated law or bureaucracy? Or is it something else? Others may not agree with me, but I have the impression that the general public correctly sees stuttering for what it is - a physical speech/communication impediment and not a sign of mental weakness ... although the situation is not being helped by people like Vice-President Joe Biden who is said to have "conquered stuttering", and giving the impression that he had the mental strength to overcome his stutter. Now that I think of it, U.S stutterers have a good opportunity to affect change (particularly to get stuttering treatments covered by medical insurance plans), by writing letters to Joe Biden. Is anybody doing this?

You wrote:
"I’m not saying there is not room for NLP or hypnosis in stuttering treatment, but I am saying it is being grossly misused."

I agree that there is room for NLP and hypnosis, as long as it is made clear that these treatments are not guaranteed cures. But we can say the same for *all* stuttering treatments. Think of Martin Schwartz ... he uses an airflow technique to treat stutterers. This treatment is basically the same as any other fluency shaping technique anywhere in the world - including Maguire - but he misuses it by making outrageous claims of success rates. And Schwartz is not the only one - he's just the guy that has gotten the most bad publicity, and has become the poster-boy for all that's wrong with stuttering treatment.

I also agree with you that Tom's doing a good thing by exposing crackpots, although I don't agree with every one of his selections ...

Bobby said...

I am a severe stutterer and want to do something about my stuttering, what do you recommend? What is the best stuttering treatment out there?

Ora said...

Tom -

Interesting to note that Sally Reed has apparently removed the original claims on her website which you 1objected to.

Here's all she says about stuttering now: http://www.hypnosisseattle.com/stuttering.htm.

Maybe she wasn't quite as convinced of the effects of her treatments as she originally claimed!

Tom Weidig said...

Jo, you are on the list now.

Pietro said...

Hello Brain, I agree with you, unfortunately, around the stammer so much ignorance there and many people use the hope of people for profit $.

regards.

Peter

Anonymous said...

Bobby - different treatments work for different people. A good starting place would be a speech-language pathologist who specializes in stuttering (and make sure they're up to speed on stuttering - not all speechies are created equal in this respect!). They can get you started on what treatments are available.

Jo said...

Thanks so much Tom, sorry to hear you've been getting so much crap from challenging crackpots!

It's incredible that she's got the gaul to report you - I wonder how she'd react if her behaviour was reported to a higher governing body - not well I'd imagine!

Take care :)

Leys Geddes said...

There is another US hypnotist who has been making provocative posts on Facebook - and probably elsewhere. I've tackled him, particularly as he claims that stammering is caused by childhood trauma. But, of course, the trauma idea suits him and his technique. I've asked the Facebook page moderators to expel him as he is effectively using their pages to post misleading advertisements. Here he is: http://www.randallscotthypnotherapy.com/stop-stuttering-with-hypnosis.html