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


Definition source


(n.d.). Retrieved from

(n.d.). Retrieved from

(n.d.). Retrieved from

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.


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)

Top Hypnosis Expert Reveals How to Remove the Fear of Clowns (and avoid Embarrassment!)

Posted Posted in Interesting, You Can Fix That

,Just in time for Halloween Stephen King’s film IT (#IT) is set to open on September 8th.  We can be sure that Throughout the U.S. there be a resurgence of  Scary Clowns invading communities and terrorizing people.  In the past, these reports included attempts by some to lure children into the woods.  The Scary clowns have people afraid, police and sheriff’s departments scrambling, and reports of physical attacks on innocent pedestrians.

Every year, about this time, I receive a few phone calls from people with a special fear.  The technical term is CoulrophobiaThe Fear of Clowns!  This fear seems to haunt more people in Gen-Y and Gen-X than prior groups and there appears to be some strong indicators as to why this is.

The boomer generation grew up with clowns such as Bozo and Clarabel during the 1950’s and 60’s.  These clowns were associated with fun, laughter and cartoons, the pacifier of the generation.   That, however changed dramatically in the early 70’s with the infamous – Killer Clown – John Wayne Gacy (Pogo the Clown).

Originally, clowns were more an adult entertainment going back to the “court-jesters” or “fools”.    Beginning in the late 18th and 19th centuries, the appearance of clowns began to shift and the first appearances of the painted white face and exaggerated expression (makeup) entered the scene.   These exaggerated expressions, which hide true, and recognizable facial features are in large part the reason for the fear.

Olivia Goldhill, former features writer for The Telegraph ( sums up the reaction of many in regards to clowns:

“The more you stare at a clown’s perpetually smiling face, the more it warps into something more sinister.

Clowns are supposedly figures of innocent fun – brightly colored jesters to entertain our children and slip on banana skins in exaggerated displays of slapstick comedy.

But the manic joy, the mask of make-up and the excessive familiarity are just a hair’s breadth away from terror.”

It is the grotesque, unnatural appearance of the human face and body, which triggers the fight/flight/freeze mechanism deep within our brains.  We get a sense of unease which is often amplified by the clown character acting in ways that would otherwise be socially unacceptable.  It is this very sense of discomfort and unease that authors such as Stephen King and director Stephen Spielberg tap into in the film IT  with the character PennyWise, or the character Twisty the clown in American Horror Freak Show, or the Joker in Batman.  In each of these, the clown embodies evil. The fear that often develops in young children who are sensitive to this odd, unfamiliar face (exaggerated features and hair) in a familiar body.  Historically, the actual people who have played clowns are themselves, sad, tragic, and often times sadistic people.

Children are taught, from the earliest ages, to avoid strangers.  It’s common for children to think that “bad strangers” look scary, like the villains in cartoons.  This is a natural growth that results from both the experience of seeing scary scenes, and creating them within their own minds.  This taught response, along with the stories reported in the news and social media have heightened the concerns and level of angst parents and communities are having.  Schools are reinforcing the warnings, especially among younger children.

While a small percentage of the U.S. population would actually be classified as coulrophoic (having the fear of clowns), they nonetheless do exist.  It is particularly difficult for these people during the Halloween season, when there is a greater number of people dressing up as clowns, and is further amplified by constant and increasing number of reports.

Fears or phobias are generally the result of unresolved processing of a traumatic experience.  Through hypnosis, the person suffering from the fear often plays a self-reinforcing, though unhealthy, mental loop that confirms the feeling.  I have helped a significant number of clients remove a host of fears and phobias that have previously paralyzed them.  Hypnosis is a powerful and useful tool in helping people overcome fears and phobias by helping them address and resolve the originating event that is the basis of their behavior.  Clients are then able to enjoy life.

Whether you fear clowns, heights, bridges, snakes or spiders, isn’t it time you made a positive change in your life with hypnosis?  STOP being controlled by your fear!  START living life free of anxiety.  I can help you with hypnosis.  SEE how!  Contact me at – or visit my websited – to request more information and to schedule your appointment – RIGHT NOW!


Marc Marshall, CH CHMI, is a certified consulting and stage hypnotist, author and motivational speaker with offices in Summit, NJ and Shaftsbury, VT.  He has helped people make dramatic improvements in their lives through his pain management, smoking cessation, weight loss, reducing stress and anxiety, and resolving fears and phobias programs.  Learn more today.