Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Deconstructing Bodenhamer

The NLP stuttering guru Bob Bodenhamer writes on his website:
The cause: There could be several causes for blocking including genetic predispositions and/or developmental problems. However, our concern is not primarily about the first cause of blocking. Our concern is with what has continued the behavior. We believe that it is the meanings placed around those early experiences of struggling to speak that have become well learned which continues the behavior. This explains how most children grow out of stuttering while some don't - it is about the meanings that the child placed around the behavior. The question then becomes: was it "OK" for the child to stutter some or was it pointed out as unacceptable behavior? Click on the link "How It Works" for many articles depicting our beliefs about blocking as well as those of others.
He has completely misunderstood the nature of stuttering, and he keeps on spreading his pseudo-scientific babble. Had he actually read through several text books, he would realize his arrogant confidence and naivety on causes. So let me explain to him what is actually going on.

There could be several causes for blocking including genetic predispositions and/or developmental problems. However, our concern is not primarily about the first cause of blocking. Our concern is with what has continued the behavior.
He seems to be of the opinion that genetics or developmental problems are causing the first blocking and then magically disappear. That is clearly not the case as brain imaging studies show. Moreover, mutations in genes are present in the body until death. There is a neurobiological basis that is present in all adults who stutter. What has continued the behaviour is the neurobiological basis due to genetics or unresolved developmental issues.

We believe that it is the meanings placed around those early experiences of struggling to speak that have become well learned which continues the behavior. This explains how most children grow out of stuttering while some don't - it is about the meanings that the child placed around the behavior.
That is complete non-sense. For example, more girls than boys recover. Is he therefore saying that more girls recover because they place LESS meaning on blocks? That is just ridiculous. If anything, I would expect girls to be more susceptible to social pressure.

He falls into the fallacy that a theory that makes sense is actually true.

Here is what he should write. Stuttering has a neurobiological basis due to genetics and/or neurological developmental issues. On top of this, every person who stutters has a psychosocial adaptation to this neurobiological propensity to block. I am offering advice on how to change psychosocial maladaptation, which can reduce psychosocial stress and by consequence also reduce the severity and frequency of stuttering.

21 comments:

sachin said...

Yes, TOM, you make sense. I think many "experts" dont read other disciplines and lack the "open-ness" to other explanations- They keep on working the same "vein" which they discovered years ago..

EnglishProf said...

mr weidig, can you please get a phd in english....you don't know the difference between expect and except.

DO NOT DELETE MY COMMENT.

Anonymous said...

EnglishProf:

Did you ever hear of typos? I guess you never made a typo yourslef.

Tom Weidig said...

Dear ET,

I have corrected my typo.

I hope you care as much about content than form!

Best wishes,
Tom

Anonymous said...

Tom - Can you give us a link to the original article??

Tom Weidig said...

done

Anonymous said...

Tom,

You seem to be bit of an expert on stammering can you give me some help on this question please?
I sometimes get confused as to why I stammer on a particular word and then at other times I say that word ok? any suggestions please?

Jim

Anonymous said...

Tom -

I have read many of Bob's books and have counseled with him as well. Explain to me why some people stutter on the same set of words in some situations and are fluent in others. I only see your description as requiring a doctorate to understand, but his understandable by a layman--but both are not actually too different from each other. As a person who has benefited firsthand from Bob's works you may call it what you want, and I'll continue to benefit from his theories...

Anonymous said...

What Tom has an issue with is that Bodenhamer's "theories" are testable and have evidence against them. He is spreading misinformation. Bodenhamer contends that there are not anatomical, genetic, or functional differences; brain imaging studies have found anatomic and functional differences, and certain genetic mutations have a strong correlation with stuttering.

Tom doesn't discourage using Bodenhamer's work and acknowledges it can lead to an improved psychosocial adaptation.

Tom M said...

In my experience from reading Bodenhamer's posts on his highly recommended email list http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/neurosemanticsofstuttering/ I have come to the conclusion that he communicates and thinks in a style that is optimized for creating growth and positive change for stutterers, rather than in a style that is optimized for academic discourse or even "truth", whatever that is. As someone with an engineering degree from an Ivy League school I know what academics consider "truth", but I reject the idea that it is the be all and end all for advancing the lives of stutterers.

When he says that genetics are not involved, he is concerned with the realm of future possibilities, rather than the realm of what has been set in the past. In that realm I believe that he is largely correct. Genetics plays little role in determining what an appropriate response to stuttering is for adults. Genetics doesn't help much right now with overcoming the life issues that stutterers face. So in that sense Bob is correct.

I happen to strongly disagree with Bob about genetics in an academic discourse sort of way, believing that my stutter (and those of many other PWS but perhaps not Bob or John H) is largely driven by my genetically determined neurological makeup, so I tend to agree with the content but not the tone of this post.

I feel that the word babble is unnecessarily demeaning for a man who generously freely gives his time and effort in genuine and effective support, helping people who stutter become self actualized.

John said...

Tom,

Somebody referred me to your blog, and I have a few comments and observations, especially regarding what you said about Bob Bodenhamer -- To wit: "He has completely misunderstood the nature of stuttering, and he keeps on spreading his pseudo-scientific babble. Had he actually read through several text books, he would realize his arrogant confidence and naivety on causes."

As someone who has been involved with stuttering for over 72 years – for 30 as a practitioner and for the next 43 years as someone who's been fully recovered – I think I've been extremely well positioned to observe and understand stuttering as well as the recovery process. I've also gone through many years of personal growth programs in the years I've been in San Francisco. And I've read a bit of the history of speech pathology.

What I've observed is that, when the first early researchers and speech specialists attempted to define what chronic stuttering was all about, they got it wrong. Not because they weren't all brilliant people, because they were. But they were limited by the knowledge of the day, and thus were not positioned to understand many key aspects of chronic stuttering/blocking. This is why key answers to the puzzle of stuttering have eluded us for almost a century.

However, over the last 50 years, breakthroughs in the behavioral sciences have shed light into dark corners that had never been explored before. In particular, the evolution of cognitive psychology and therapy have added an important body of knowledge that has helped to explain many "unexplainable" questions about stuttering.

Bob Bodenhamer has been a practitioner and teacher of NLP for several decades. And for the last 10 years he has been increasingly involved in providing cognitive therapy for people in the stuttering world. I have any number of testimonials from PWS that attest to how effective he has been.

I think it's worth giving him a listen.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago I undertook my own little research project to find out what was going on in the world of stuttering research, treatment, etc. I found, not to my surprise, that no one really knows for certain what causes stuttering, or what cures it. This being the case, I remain puzzled as to why most folks in the field hold the position that theirs is the one, and only, way to deal with stuttering. With few exceptions, there seems to be little acceptance of other people's ideas - even tho everyone is on the same path to solve the mystery of this great challenge that some of us experience.
I don't think there is one consistent cause for every person who stutters, or one path to recovery. Bob's ideas may not be for everyone, but I went from very severe stuttering to 99% fluency largely because of his teaching. And I am one of many.
To denigrate the work of someone who has such success because you don't agree with it, is both unkind and unprofessional, and only contributes to the tension in the stuttering community at large. To be closed to others' ideas does not help anyone on the path to recovery.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that Bodenhamer's supporters are attempting to defend him personally, but not one has made an attempt to defend his views. If his veiws are correct, please produce the evidence.

Tom Weidig said...

@Last Anonym,

I completely agree with you.

They don't actually address my criticism, and counter my arguments.

They say he is a nice guy, he has helped me and so on. But that is completely irrelevant. He makes statements about the causes of stuttering which are just WRONG!

Anonymous said...

Tom - About your last post, no one knows what causes stuttering. I have never met Bob so can't comment on his personality. I do know that I have recovered from stuttering because of his work. So have many others. There's your evidence. Hardly irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Tom -- (Refering to your comments about Bob Bodenhamer) "He makes statements about the causes of stuttering which are just WRONG!"

Since you apparently have the answer to what stuttering IS, would you mind sharing it with us?

Harry said...

Here we go again....Tom has run out of useful things to write on his blog, so he gets the old haggard topic of NLP out (one of his favourite 'hates') to see if he can stir up a debate.

Tom - if you don't like NLP, then don't use it. Simple as that. Let others out there improve their lives with it, whilst you wallow in your hate-filled 'scientific' world. Your dictatorial and self-promoting stance does no one any favours, whilst Bob has helped many, many stutterers.
And as someone has already pointed out, your suggestion that he should write "On top of this, every person who stutters has a psychosocial adaptation to this neurobiological propensity to block. I am offering advice on how to change psychosocial maladaptation, which can reduce psychosocial stress and by consequence also reduce the severity and frequency of stuttering. " is simply ridiculous.
How many people can actually understand this nonsense you've written?
And you like to call yourself a scientist - well, in a previous debate about 3-4 months ago, you were shown to have failed as scientist, hence your move to the financial world. From what I remember, your claim to fame was "many of my friends are top scientists" - that was the best you could do. Tom, you need to see an NLP councillor.

Anonymous said...

Harry -

Your view of Tom is so correct...

Anonymous said...

Harry, you are correct that Tom is trying to "stir up a debate." But the NLP people refuse to debate him. Instead they attack Tom personally. Bob Bodenhamer has discussed these posts on the neurosemantics group so he is aware of this discussion. Doesn't Bodenhamer owe it to his followers to come on to this group and defend his views?

Anonymous said...

I am so looking forward to Tom's debate with Rosalee Shenker at Oxford!

Maybe he can get the Oxford conference to sponsor a debate between he and Brodenhamer.

Bobby G. Bodenhamer said...

It has been some time since I read Tom's blog. I very much appreciate those post that agree with me as well as those that challenge my theory.

After studying, modeling, writing about and especially, working with PWS for 10 years or more, I am firmly committed to the belief that a high percentage of PWS learned to stutter. The difference between a person who stutters and one who doesn't stutter is that the PWS has developed two different strategies for speaking: 1) speaking fluently and 2) speaking non fluently call stuttering, stammering, etc.

Now, my firm belief is that the determinant as to which strategy the PWS will utilize at any given moment is determined by whether or not the PWS is in a context where he feels threaten because he "fears" that he might stutter. It is the "fear" and all the negative meanings that is behind that fear residing in the unconscious mind of the PWS that triggers the speaking strategy for stuttering.

When the PWS is not in a context where he is fearful that he might stutter, such as being by himself and/or with trusted friends or family members, then his fluency strategy for speaking is activated and he speaks fluently.

Fear of stuttering ==> stuttering

No fear of stuttering --> fluency

Now, most if not all of this is happening in your unconscious mind. This often requires a skilled clinician to assist you in uncovering all those negative meanings around speaking that leads to the fear of stuttering which, indeed, triggers the stuttering speaking strategy.

Your fear of stuttering has much negativity supporting it: "They want accept me if I stutter." "They will think I am stupid if I stutter." "They are right; I am stupid." At www.masteringstuttering.com you will find much, very much, free material about what I am saying.

Go to this article and arrow down to "Meaning Table for Creating Stuttering" and you will find different meanings that I have heard from the mouths of PWS. Go there and read. You will find yourself right at home. Print that table off. Put a check mark beside the ones that apply to you. And, then ask yourself, "What would happen to my stuttering if I just stopped believing this _______:

Here is the link to that article. Be sure you paste all of it into your browser.

http://www.masteringstuttering.com/articles/how-to-create-a-good-dose-of-stuttering/

Now, I am writing a lengthy post so I shall bring it to a close. I have intentionally made a whole lot of material available to the PWS free of charge. My book is owned by Crown House Publishing and I can't make it free for they own it. However, you will find on the website two free books. John Harrison is giving away his massive work (over 400 pages)as a free download. PWS praise his work. Also, Ruth Mead, tells in her book that is a free download about her many year journey out of stuttering. Ruth knew nothing about NLP, yet her book is full of it.

You honor me even if you read and experiment and you conclude that this NLP stuff is not for me. It is there; it is free; many are being helped; read and experiment.

Many thanks
Bob Bodenhamer
bobbybodenhamer@yahoo.com

PS Should you desire to have therapy with me, I am very sorry but I cannot take on new clients. However, I can refer you so send me an email and I will give you a name that you can speak with.