374 Section III • Treatment of Stuttering

or pathologizing, language. One of these aspects is thinking traps (my preferred terminology rather than “cognitive dis tortions” or “irrational thoughts” which is commonly used in the CBT literature). Thinking traps are styles of processing information in a negative way, and they can sometimes make someone feel “trapped” in a vicious cycle of negative think ing. Table 16.2 summarizes some common thinking traps that I have discussed with teens who stutter. These cognitive behaviors usually occur because of the teen’s past experiences that have shaped how they view the world. It’s not because something is wrong with them; it is their brain’s way of trying to protect them from incom ing threat. This is an important thing to help young people understand, especially when they feel guilty for thinking negatively or get into a vicious cycle where they start to feel bad about feeling bad. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, Google “thinking traps” or “cognitive distor tions” and you’ll find plenty of relevant websites. To introduce this topic to your teen, you can select a few thinking traps that seem relevant to them based on what they’ve shared with you. Discuss the names, descriptions, and examples for each one. Perhaps you come up with some additional examples and have the teen identify what type of thinking trap they are. The teen can also come up with other examples themselves. Artistic clients may enjoy drawing pic tures or cartoons of the thinking traps they experience. To help teens navigate through thinking traps, we can help them develop skills to play “devil’s advocate.” Often, this involves examining the facts about a situation and exploring alternative

or shared a post about stuttering on their social media. There are also creative ways to open up about stuttering. I once had a 17-year-old client who painted an amazing self-portrait about what stuttering felt like, and a 14-year-old who created and performed a dance solo about what stuttering meant to her. All of these examples are invitations to praise proactive movement toward their goal of being more open about stut tering. Understand that these are no small feats and likely take a lot of courage, as young people discover ways of being open about stuttering that they may have hidden for a very long time. By celebrating these small successes, we can help create a sort of ripple effect where adolescents believe they are capable of doing hard things and are inspired to keep the momentum going. Identifying “Thinking Traps” A common approach to changing how one thinks and feels is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). In CBT, people learn how their thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations motivate their behavior. While there is a lot of high-level research evidence supporting the efficacy of CBT, even applied specifically to people who stutter (Menzies et al., 2008) some practitioners believe that CBT can gaslight clients into thinking that their thoughts are dysfunctional or irrational. However, there are certain aspects of CBT that remain productive in helping ado lescents become more aware of how they think and feel so they can develop healthier ways of coping, if done in a respect ful way that uses empowering, rather than disempowering

TABLE 16.2 Thinking Traps




All or Nothing Thinking Seeing things as black or white

You ordered lunch and think that it went terribly because of how much you stuttered


Taking one outcome and thinking it accurately predicts a future similar experience Paying attention to one piece of information from a situation and ignoring additional information

You introduce yourself and stutter on your name, so the next time you introduce yourself you believe you’ll get stuck While giving a class presentation, you see one person in class giggling and you really focus on them, instead of noticing all the other people in the room who look engaged You want to ask someone to Homecoming, but you believe they won’t want to go with you because you stutter You’re talking to someone and when you start to stutter the listener gives you “the look,” so you assume they’re uncomfortable or judging you

Mental Filter

Fortune Telling Copyright © 2023 Wolters Kluwer, Inc. Unauthorized reproduction of the content is prohibited.

Predicting an outcome about something without real evidence that it’s true

Mind Reading

Assuming what someone else is thinking

Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online