Can Your Stuttering Be Helped with Hypnosis?

Posted Posted in Interesting, You Can Fix That

Can Your Stuttering Be Helped with Hypnosis?

For the person who stutters, the thought of having to speak in a meeting, in a classroom, or in a social situation can be paralyzing and produce incredible anxiety.  People who stutter and stammer tend to have greater difficulty as they get older and continue to negatively reinforce the negative loop of stutter, stammer, anxiety, embarrassment, and frustration that ultimately leads to a lowered self-esteem and in some cases, social isolation.

Stuttering is a speech disorder in which the normal flow of speech is disrupted by frequent repetitions or prolongations of speech sounds, syllables or words or by an individual’s inability to start a word. The speech disruptions may be accompanied by rapid eye blinks, tremors of the lips and/or jaw or other struggle behaviors of the face or upper body that a person who stutters may use in an attempt to speak.(htt5)

In a 2009 Australian study by Iverach, et al., concluded “stuttering appears to be associated with a dramatically heightened risk of a range of anxiety disorders.” (Lisa Iverach, 2009).  This finding is significant for a number of reasons including understanding of the looping of behaviors that compound one another.  I believe it is of particular interest to hypnotherapists because of the number of clinicians that use hypnotic interventions as a modality of reducing stress disorders of clients.  When applied to the stutter, it is reasonable to conclude that there will be an improvement in the quality of life in this client population.

The number of credible studies that seek to answer the question “Can Your Stuttering Be Helped with Hypnosis?”  has been very small when one considers the acceptance of hypnosis by the professional medical and psychological communities.  One particular study (Kaya & Alladin, 2012) did show results in improving outcomes employed hypnosis as part of the treatment protocol.  The unfortunate part is that this study was flawed in design.  The researchers used a number of methods in concert with one another to achieve their results.  Bodson and Roberts, (Roberts, 2014) in their article presented at the 2014 ISAD Conference fault this research and tend to agree with Kaya & Alladin, that “it is impossible to know which aspect of the treatment contributed most to the progress observed (Kaya & Alladin, 2012).”  Bodson & Roberts go onto cite claims made by the Banyan Hypnosis Center, either explicit or implied, as being curative for resolving stuttering.  In particular, the specifically fault the script entitled “Eliminating Stuttering.” (Banyan, n.d.)

In order to understand and establish realistic expectations for results, it is important for the hypnotist to fully understand the causes of the stuttering and when hypnosis is likely to be effective.  It is critical for the clinical hypnotist to not unreasonably raise expectations nor dash hopes and increase frustrations and reinforce the failure cycle that is typical in many other forms of management or remediation.

Generally, there are two distinct causes that result in stuttering/stammering.  The first are those conditions which can be characterized as neuro/physiologically based.  These are those resulting from conditions such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or anomalies of the structural sound producing mechanism within the face, neck and throat.  The second basis are psycho/social causes that are often the result of [i] bullying, physical and/or psychological abuse by a parent, or another authority figure.  The emotional relationship is similar to other post-traumatic stress triggering events.

The focus of this article is on the latter as the memories and memory loops reside in the sub-conscious mind and hypnosis has been shown to be a successful intervention strategy in resolving emotional traumas.  Further, hypnosis can be characterized as a having similar benefits as solution focused brief therapy (SFBT)[1] in that it results in rapid change without the need to focus on the problem.  SFBT is based on a theoretical foundation that the client tends to be restricted in their view of the problem.  Their focus of the negative impact reinforces the negative loop responses that are consistent.  The language of problems tends to be different from the language of solutions. (Nichols, 2013)  And finally, “Problem talk” can be negative and set in the past; solutions is more hopeful and about the future.  (htt3)

Alison Nicholas, MSc., in a presentation to the 10th Oxford Dysfluency Conference (ODC), writes about the principles of SFBT as a treatment philosophy to resolve stuttering in children.  She notes the importance of establishing goals through a series of questions which focus on future outcomes as opposed to the current problems.   Her insight is one that is familiar to hypnotists. “Clients tend to frame their goals negatively” (Nicholas, 2015).  As hypnotists, we confront this situation and work to reframe reference and establish positively framed outcomes.  Further, we encounter clients who either through prior therapeutic interventions, or their own thinking, magnify the problem by repeatedly anchoring the negative emotions and behaviors.

The goal of the hypnotic intervention is to engage the client’s own resource states to create, reinforce and anchor the positive changes.  Stuttering that is based on psycho/social dynamics requires a restructuring of thought and experience that can be traced to the original sensitizing event(s).  Nicholas goes on to write a conclusion that could easily have come from a hypnotherapist:  “As solutions to a client’s presenting problem are constructed using the client’s own resources, the SFBT approach builds a client’s confidence and provides then with evidence that they have knowledge, resources, strengths, skills and abilities to make the necessary changes in their life. With this perspective, the child and parent are encouraged to take responsibility for change and develop their internal locus of control which has been found to be an important factor in maintaining progress following stuttering therapy for adults who stutter (Craig, Franklin, & Andrews, 1984; De Nil & Kroll 1995).” (emphasis added)

The 2014 ODC also offered another important paper that directly addresses the topic of using hypnosis as a modality for dealing with stuttering.  Although presented in abstract form, Zloof and Ezrati-Vinacour’s article Hypnosis as a Technique for the Treatment of Stuttering (Zloof, 2015) examined the impact of hypnosis through a combination implicit and explicit measures to determine whether a hypnotic intervention reduced symptom of stuttering.

The researchers employed an eight-session intervention that focused on ego strengthening, addressing past traumas, and empowering the client by improving their sense of control.  Clients’ stuttering was measured at the beginning and end of each session.

The results of this study showed that the severity of the stutter/stammer, when compared to the beginning of the session were reduced.  Additionally, the study also showed that some of the improvements were short-lived, while others lasted until the next hypnosis session.  The study also indicated that there was an improvement in the client’s feelings about their condition.  A broader discussion of these findings can be found in the International Society of Hypnosis’ Newsletter. (htt4)

The challenge for clinical hypnotists in addressing this, as well as other conditions, is in managing client expectations and ensuring that we not promise or imply results that are not supported by research and experience.  A review of current research faults the methodology used to support claims of either reduction in symptoms or complete cures.

There are other challenges to the research that needs to be addressed.  First, most studies on the subject tend to utilize small sample populations and fail to describe in detail the process employed.  The number of adult stutters as a percentage of the population is estimated during the hypnosis session(s).  Absent of replication in larger trials, claims of success are likely to be dismissed by the general speech therapy community.

This is not to say there is no benefit from hypnotic intervention.   Since research has shown there to be a strong relationship between anxiety disorders, as defined by DSM IV, and stuttering, it would be wise to focus our attention on resolving the anxiety issues through hypnotic intervention.   Changing the focus away from the dysfluency stops reinforcing the “problem” and begins to empower the taking back of control.

As with all forms of hypnotic intervention, the clinician should ensure they are functioning within the scope of their professional training.  It is helpful for hypnotists working with dysfluency to have an understanding of the mechanics of speech production and know the appropriate questions to ask.  Determining if the if the basis is generally neuro/physiological or psycho/social will directly impact the potential for success.  Hypnotist should consider working on dysfluency issues collaboratively with Speech Therapists for the greatest benefit of the client.

Hypnosis is a powerful tool to resolve a host of client centered issues that tend to be resistant to other therapies.  The greater acceptance of hypnosis as a mechanism to address the challenges of the stutter will require well designed studies with controls and the cessation of unsubstantiated, grandiose claims by hypnotherapists.  As hypnotists, we owe it to those who engage our services to be forthcoming, open and honest about what we can and cannot accomplish.  This raises the level of the science and practice and helps us to gain greater acceptance by the medical community, along who’s side we work for the benefit of the client.

Contact Marc today to schedule a no obligation phone consultation.

About the Author:

Marc is an award winning, certified stage and clinical hypnotist, author and motivational speaker with experience entertaining both large and small gatherings.

Marc uses his skills and talents in a variety of areas that include self-improvement or clinical hypnosis, motivational speaking, and comedy stage hypnosis.  He has worked with individuals and corporations throughout the United States to improve outcomes in personal lives and organizations.

As a clinical hypnotist, he has helped people resolve sleep issues, lose weight, stop smoking, deal with long held fears, deal with stress and anxiety, manage pain, improve sports performance, eliminate addictions, and improve sexual function.

His performance resume includes appearances on live shows for Refinery29 Live and Elite Daily’s TrashED.  He has performed at comedy clubs, the Monroe County Fair (MI), the Osceola County Fair (Kissimmee, FL), the Red River Valley Fair (Fargo, ND), and for schools, proms, graduations, conferences, conventions and corporations.  He was a featured performer for New Jersey’s premier First Night Celebration – First Night Morris for New Year’s Eve 2018.

Marc’s book, “Staying in the Moment – Helping Students Achieve More Through Mindfulness Meditation” helps educators, parents and students get better results in the classroom through the adoption of mindfulness exercises as part of the curriculum.

For more information about, or to book an appointment with Marc visit his website: or email

Tags: hypnosis for stuttering, stuttering hypnosis, hypnosis stuttering, hypnotherapy for stuttering, stuttering hypnotherapy, hypnotherapy for stammering, stuttering, stammering, marc marshall, hypnomarc, hypnotherapy, nasw, national stuttering awareness week


[1] SFBT was developed by Insoo Kim Berg, Steve de Shazer



Myra S. Lockhart & Alan W. Robertson (2009) Hypnosis and Speech Therapy as a Combined Therapeutic Approach to the Problem of Stammering a Study of Thirty Patients, British Journal of Disorders of Communication, 12:2, 97-108, DOI: 10.3109/13682827709011314


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Banyan, C. (n.d.). Hypnosis School and Trainigng Center. Retrieved from Hypnosis Center: (n.d.).

Lisa Iverach, S. O. (2009). Prevalence of anxiety disorders among adults seeking speech therapy for stuttering. Journal of Anxiety Disorders.

Nicholas, A. (2015, July 17-20). Solution focused brief therapy with children who stutter. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences- 193, 209-216.

Nichols, M. (2013). Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods. In M. Nichols, Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Roberts, B. &. (2014). ISAD. Retrieved from

Zloof, A. &.-V. (2015). Hypnosis as a Technique for the Treatment of Stuttering. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 193, 357.


What Sleep Experts Aren’t Telling You About How to Get a Great Night’s Sleep…

Posted Posted in You Can Fix That

Tossing and turning night after night, then waking up exhausted and feeling miserable is an all too common complaint that I hear from clients.    The sad reality is that sleep disturbance is one of the major problems facing people today.  According to government studies, “Sleep loss and sleep disorders are among the most common yet frequently overlooked and readily treatable health problems. It is estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from a disorder of sleep and wakefulness, hindering daily functioning and adversely affecting health and longevity (NHLBI, 2003)”.   It impacts every aspect of our lives (health, relationships, and work) and creates a negative behavior loop that results in more anxiety, stress, sleeplessness and weight gain.  So, if you are one of those who suffers, YOU are not alone! And while misery loves company, you want answers and more importantly, you want to sleep now.

To better understand the contributing causes, it is helpful to understand  how our bodies function and how this impacts sleep.  The human body and our subconscious minds are wired to protect us.  One of the primary ways this happens is through the release of cortisol.  Cortisol is a powerful hormone that is triggered during the fight/flight/freeze reaction.  When faced with imminent danger the adrenaline rush that we experience is triggered by cortisol.  Our bodies are in a heightened state of readiness to respond. This state of excitement interferes with sleep.  Once we become aware of some of the causes, we can learn how to deal with those factors most likely to disturb your sleep.

There are many studies that show a clear link between foods high in sugars and carbohydrates and sleep disturbances.  The conclusions in these studies show that consumption of these foods negatively affect our sleep.  These studies go on to link sleep apnea and other sleep disorders to a rise in diabetes and obesity.  Here, we have a negative loop of sleep deprivation attributed to sleep apnea and sleep apnea being exacerbated by weight gain  The weight gain is attributable to increases in cortisol resulting from stress.  (Miller, et al., 2014) (Knutson, 2007) (New Study Links Blood Sugar Levels With Sleep Apnea, n.d.)

The most obvious food sourced chemical that impacts the quality of our sleep is caffeine.  This is not a newsflash. This psychoactive chemical is present in more foods and beverages than many people are aware of.  We are aware of the obvious sources like coffees, teas and chocolates.  Caffeine however, is also present in non-cola soft drinks like Mountain Dew® and Sunkist® Orange Soda.  Lesser known hidden sources of caffeine include protein and energy bars, ice creams and frozen yogurt, certain vitamin waters and over-the counter pain meds such as Excedrin® Migraine. (Lodato, et al., 2013). 

Another contributing factor to sleeplessness or sleep disturbance is our connection to our smart devices (phones, tablets, and computers).  They keep us connected and stimulated, and this is not necessarily a good thing.  The tendency among many of those who come to see me for sleep issues, is their constant contact to jobs and clients.  In a society where people demand immediate responses, we have no ability to decompress and step away from the stressors of work.  It is common to see couples out to dinner constantly checking their smart phones to insure they haven’t missed a text or email message.  Further, people attempt to multi-task, even while engaged in social events, in an effort to be “more efficient.”  Since the brain is not wired to multi-task, we create additional problems for ourselves including making more mistakes which increase anxiety levels, as well as interpersonal relationship problems by becoming more socially disengaged.

Our devices create issues that are even more problematic.  Smart devices keep us highly stimulated.   The brain cannot differentiate between threats and stimulating gaming.  Engaging in long periods of video gaming or viewing sports programming everywhere we go, also increases cortisol levels and keeps us in heightened states of physical and mental excitement.  Clients have reported that they are on their phones right up until they go to sleep.  This type of behavior is often a prime source of their sleeplessness.

Sleeplessness can also be caused by or compounded by medical treatments or conditions.  Among the most frequent of these are diabetes, heart disease, chemo and immuno-therapies, reflux disease and Parkinson’s.

Ignorance of the causes is costing us billions of dollars in medical costs and lost productivity.  But the impact is also much more serious.   Sleeplessness is responsible for more than 40,000 motor vehicle accidents and more than 1500 motor vehicle deaths annually.  One of the proximal causes of these accidents are the residual effects of sleep medications that people receive from their physicians.  Commonly prescribed drugs such as benzodiazepines and antidepressants or antipsychotics often come with serious side effects, including dependency and abuse.  The sad fact is that these should be the last resort of medical professionals and not the first.  Longer term results come with empowering people to learn healthy, drug-free ways of relieving stress and breaking the sleeplessness cycle.

One of the most effective, and the safest method of breaking the negative loop of sleeplessness and the anxiety of not being able to sleep is hypnosis and mindfulness meditation.  Hypnosis, unlike prescription medications, does not have any of the dangerous side-effects of addiction or abuse.   Even more important, is the ability of hypnosis and mindfulness to improve feelings of general well-being, peace and calm.    As with many other presenting complaints, clients seeking to deal with sleep deprivation or insomnia, find that hypnosis empowers them to take back control of their lives.  It is this empowerment, along with the immediately recognizable phenomena of relaxation and calm, that creates a new, positive resource state that the client can use in all aspects of their lives.

The use of hypnosis as a means of resolving a host of issues, including sleep disturbances, dates back more than 4000 years to the Egyptians.  There are many documented instances of the presence of sleep chambers or sleep temples that utilized trance states to heal and improve various conditions.

The process of guiding people into a hypnotic trance state is fast.  The hypnotist can generally accomplish this in a matter of a few minutes.  During the session, the hypnotist works with the client at the subconscious level to resolve behaviors that are causing stress or other behaviors that are interfering with the sleep process.  Additionally, the hypnotist can install tools or anchors that help the client to relax quickly and once again experience satisfying sleep.  Additionally, the hypnotist will teach the client how to achieve the same relaxful state through the process of self-hypnosis.  Success builds on success and once again the client can return to a more productive life being more restful and present.

As more people feel the impact of increased levels of stress resulting from demands at work, little or no intimacy in relationships, or a general sense of unease because of world political situations, it is reasonable to expect a further uptick in those seeking help getting to sleep.   Hypnosis and mindfulness meditation give people the tools to untether from their computers, tablets and smart-phones, leaving them with the ability to shutoff from the constant bombardment of information and stimulation.   They report improved intimacy with others and lower levels of stress and most importantly greater satisfaction in all aspects of their lives.  The process of hypnosis and mindfulness meditation teach the individual how to take back control of their lives and begin to enjoy life by being present, perhaps for the first time.

One of the most effective tools that I have developed to assist those with difficulty sleeping is a special audio program.  The program is specially designed to be highly effective in reducing the stressors and other distractions that cause sleeplessness and induce a refreshing sleep.  The audio program, “Sleep and Dream for a Happier You”  is available for immediate download at: .

About the Author:

Marc is an award winning, certified stage and clinical hypnotist, author and motivational speaker with experience entertaining both large and small gatherings.

Marc uses his skills and talents in a variety of areas that include self-improvement or clinical hypnosis, motivational speaking, and comedy stage hypnosis.  He has worked with individuals and corporations throughout the United States to improve outcomes in personal lives and organizations.

As a clinical hypnotist, he has helped people resolve sleep issues, lose weight, stop smoking, deal with long held fears, deal with stress and anxiety, manage pain, improve sports performance, eliminate addictions, and improve sexual function.

His performance resume includes appearances on live shows for Refinery29 Live and Elite Daily’s TrashED.  He has performed at comedy clubs, the Monroe County Fair (MI), the Osceola County Fair (Kissimmee, FL), the Red River Valley Fair (Fargo, ND), and for schools, proms, graduations, conferences, conventions and corporations.  He was a featured performer for New Jersey’s premier First Night Celebration – First Night Morris for New Year’s Eve 2018.

Marc’s book, “Staying in the Moment – Helping Students Achieve More Through Mindfulness Meditation” helps educators, parents and students get better results in the classroom through the adoption of mindfulness exercises as part of the curriculum.

For more information about, or to book an appointment with Marc visit his website: or email


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Colten, H. R., & Altevogt, B. M. (2006). Extent and Health Consequences of Chronic Sleep Loss and Sleep Disorders. Retrieved 4 10, 2018, from

Durrant, K. L. (2002). Known and hidden sources of caffeine in drug, food, and natural products. Journal of The American Pharmaceutical Association, 42(4), 625-637. Retrieved 4 11, 2018, from

Knutson, K. L. (2007). Impact of sleep and sleep loss on glucose homeostasis and appetite regulation. Sleep Medicine Clinics, 2(2), 187-197. Retrieved 4 10, 2018, from

Lodato, F., Araújo, J., Barros, H., Lopes, C., Agodi, A., Barchitta, M., & Ramos, E. (2013). Caffeine intake reduces sleep duration in adolescents. Nutrition Research, 33(9), 726-732. Retrieved 4 11, 2018, from

Miller, B., O’Connor, H., Orr, R., Ruell, P., Cheng, H. L., & Chow, C. M. (2014). Combined caffeine and carbohydrate ingestion: effects on nocturnal sleep and exercise performance in athletes. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 114(12), 2529-2537. Retrieved 4 10, 2018, from

New Study Links Blood Sugar Levels With Sleep Apnea. (n.d.). Retrieved 4 10, 2018, from

(Colten & Altevogt, 2006)


Photo Credit – Photo credit: Schmirn on Best Running / CC BY


Women… Suffering from Hot Flashes?

Posted Posted in Interesting

Hypnosis Can Help with Hot Flashes!


Over the years a significant part of my private hypnosis practice has been helping people deal with physical aliments that make live difficult.  Typically, when people think of this, they immediately think of pain management.  And while that is a large part of my practice, I also help people with other physical challenges that include improved sexual function, improved focus and concentration, managing migraines, removing crippling fears, and pre- and post-surgical healing.

One area that I have had good success in is that of helping women deal with hot-flashes brought on by illness, cancer treatment, or menopause.  I know that I do not need to tell women how uncomfortable and even disruptive these sudden onset.  They often disrupt sleep, which results in more stress and decreased functioning in the woman’s day-to-day life.   This starts a vicious cycle of anxiety in anticipation of the next hot-flash episode, which in turn leads to hyper-focus and magnification of the symptoms.

Think about it this way.  When you go to the dentist and he or she is about to give you a shot of Novocaine, what is the thing they usually say?…. “You are going to feel a pinch.”   The problem with this is that they have now implanted a suggestion that has you focused on the “pinch” which creates anxiety, triggers flight/fight/freeze response to pain, and makes the dental procedure a negative experience.  Honestly,  I am grateful for the inarticulate way that dentists do this to their patients.  It begins the dental fear/phobia cycle that begins with the painful negative experience and continues to grow as people anticipate the discomfort in front of their next dental visit.

Similarly, we magnify pain and discomfort as a result of unpleasant experiences, such as hot-flashes.  The fear of that experience creates a cortisol stress reaction that wreaks havoc on the body.  However, the really great news is that the impact of hot-flashes can be control by your powerful subconscious mind when the right post-hypnotic suggestions are implanted.

To this end,  I would like to share a story about a friend that I recently had a chance to help control her severe hot-flashes.  My friend, S.A. is a breast cancer survivor who is presently undergoing treatment to keep her cancer at bay.  During her intense chemo-therapy and recovery, she discovered the power of hypnosis and having a positive attitude.  She spent her time watching the comedy hypnosis of a good friend and colleague of mine, the Incredible Hypnotist, Richard Barker. This lifted her spirits and helped get through the ordeal.

One of the drugs that she is currently taking has severe hot-flashes as a side-effect.  I had previously worked with S.A., who lives about five hours from my office.  Over this past weekend, she was in agony and didn’t know what to do.  In desperation, she contacted me and asked if I could help her.  I am extremely pleased to be able to help her again.  I am happy to be able to share her experience in her own words:

“Thank you Marc Marshall for being my saving grace this weekend. He hypnotized me via FaceTime to assist with my hot flashes. Yesterday, I had 37 intense ones and today not one. With his implanted suggestions, I was able to ward off 13 hot flashes! I love hypnosis, I love Richard Barker for introducing me to Marc and the world of hypnosis and I love Marc for helping me deal with my intense hot flashes, which are a direct side effect of the drug Lupron I take so I can keep the cancer at bay. I am so blessed to have such friendship and love surround me. “

S.A.  you are very welcome!  I am so glad that you are a friend and more importantly, that I could help.  I wish you continued strength as you demonstrate how important positive thinking and focus is in battling cancer.   I am excited that you have made the decision to become a hypnotist yourself.  You will be amazing because you know that the subconscious mind is amazingly powerful.  That which we focus on becomes our reality and our destiny.  You have demonstrated that power to yourself and so many of those you come in contact with.

For those of you who want to learn more about how hypnosis can help you improve your life… email me at – or better yet, just click on the red bar on the side of this page.

Hypnotically yours,


(photo credit – skin of the night by Emily – Flickr 2009)