Group photo from our Public Speaking Event in Düsseldorf, Germany

Fear Is Fine – Embrace It, Don’t Dodge It.

As Susan Jeffers says ‘Feel the fear, and do it anyway’. Don’t wait for the fear to dissipate, it won’t. The longer you wait for the fear to go away, the more intense the feeling grows. Susan Jeffers states that becoming aware of your fears and your limitations can change your life as long as you learn how to deal with them. All through life we will come across situations that make us fearful but we need to learn how to approach these fears and move on with our life. People miss so many opportunities in life simply due to fear and anxiety; we need to approach these fears with simple steps each day that will allow us to take those chances and open doors that were previously closed. Fear can make your world smaller so don’t allow the fear to overtake you.

“Fear is fine – embrace it, don’t dodge it. Then, walk through the fire anyway.”

On the McGuire Programme we have the same approach to facing our fears and how to deal with them. We have techniques and strategies in place to deal with situations that make you feel less fearful. We learn more about ourselves when we take action, we don’t learn by sitting back and feeding the fear. By taking action and facing our fears we become less anxious and less fearful. On the program we take every opportunity that comes our way to talk and speak using technique. We take every opportunity to ‘expose’ ourselves for who we truly are. We are not our stutter. We are people who are working hard on controlling our stutters. We no longer hide our true selves. And it feels amazing. Once you break down that barrier, your outlook on life and your behaviour changes for the better. We can finally live without holding ourselves back from doing the things we’ve always wanted to do. This even includes the simple things in life, like ordering the food you desire, to giving your name when asked for it. These are major steps for a person who stutters.

I experienced a new student facing their fears head-on during our last course in Düsseldorf, Germany. I brought her out for the contact session on the Saturday of the 3-Day Intensive course. Once the new student started using the techniques and ‘exposed’ herself as a person who stutters, it removed the feeling of shame and guilt, it allowed her to free her mind from the stresses that a stutter can hold over us. It was also very inspirational for me to see the changes happening in front of me, and to keep doing what we do on the McGuire Programme. Helping people, like ourselves, to break free from the freezing, struggle and distortion, and from the many tricks and avoidances we all created to be seen as a ‘normal’, ‘fluent’ speaker.

No more ‘hiding’ for the 5 new students who joined us in Düsseldorf, who learned concrete techniques to turn passivity into assertiveness. And learned how to stop negative thinking patterns and reeducate their minds to think more positively. And how to turn every decision into a “No-Lose” situation.

“The more we do things that we’re afraid of, we are proving to ourselves that we CAN handle danger, uncertainty etc., the more we can feel confident that we will be able to handle similar experiences in the future. In other words, facing our fears is something we can practice and get better at, even if we can never completely obliterate fear from our lives.”

Did you find this article useful? Do you know someone who stutters, who would benefit from trying out the McGuire Programme and giving themselves the best possible start to controlling their stutter? Do you, yourself stutter? If so, get in touch with one of our representatives today. No need to be afraid to contact us, we all people who stutter, who have found a new lease on life via the McGuire Programme and it’s extensive backup support.

“An important truth: YOU can’t wait for the fear to go away before you do something!”

Our next 3-Day Intensive Course in Germany will be held in Frankfurt am Main in October 2017
Date: 18.-21.10.2017 – Don’t be the one who holds you back. Reserve your place today!

Attendees at a Refresher Day in Newry, Northern Ireland on 29th July 2017

Refresher Day In Newry, County Down, Northern Ireland

The day incorporated lots of drilling and presentations.  With courage we headed out on Street Contacts, to face the many fears associated with #stuttering, and this proved to be very beneficial with the support of coaches and grads.

It was a good disciplined day, working on our #stutter and putting time and effort into refocusing on technique.

Mary Moorehead, Coach on The McGuire Programme

Eddie Spiers & Sam Anderson receiving the Coaching Certificates from Rory West on the June 2017 course in Galway

Overcoming Stuttering In Galway, Ireland

The course was led by Rory West, whose disciplined, motivated and great sense of humour – captivated everyone in the room – from new students to returning refreshers / graduates / coaches.

One of the graduates who attended the June course said “This course has really helped me because I had a big presentation to do at work on the Tuesday after the course and from all practicing of the techniques on the course, my speech was very strong throughout my presentation.”

The 8 new students showed great courage, determination, perservance and gave a lot of trust to the coaches to teach this new technique.  The transformation from Wednesday evening to Saturday evening was phenomenal.

During this course Eddie Spiers and Sam Anderson were presented with their Coaching Certificates. Both Eddie and Sam have proven themselves to be dedicated coaches and committed to giving the best possible coaching, not only to the 8 new students, but also to members of the McGuire Programme in Ireland and abroad. They are a great asset to our support network which is the foundation of the Programme.

And….. the next course is in the City of Belfast from 25th-28th October 2017.  If stuttering is controlling your life – APPLY for that course!!

Contact Joe O’Donnell, McGP Regional Director, Ireland

Members of the McGuire Programme at the Refresher Day in Newry, Co. Down on 25th March 2017

Spring Has Sprung And We Had Fun!

After only one month on the McGuire Programme the new members showed character and determination in working on their own stutters. The focus of the day was to recap on the techniques that they had practiced on the February course and in doing so dedicating a whole day working on their stutters and supporting each other.

Members of the McGuire Programme at the Refresher Day in Newry, Co. Down on 25th March 2017

Members of the McGuire Programme at the Refresher Day in Newry, Co. Down on 25th March 2017

There were a number of presentations on the day from members, focusing on both the physical and psychological aspects of stuttering. We also took the time to have some social interaction activities and a fun session. Smiles radiated throughout the room and the sound of laughter penetrated the walls.

Everyone who attended put in a great effort on the day and left feeling they had achieved something worthwhile. A lot of people travelled from all over Ireland to attend and their effort and determination paid off. They left feeling empowered and ready to tackle new opportunities ahead.

Thanks to all who made the effort to attend and prepared presentations for the day.

Together we are stronger and wiser. For events and courses in 2017 please check the website.

– Kara McMahon, Course Instructor Intern

A strictly fairy tale ending . . . in Galway

As Fairy Tales have a happy ending, there was also a happy ending on our recent course in Galway (22nd-25th February 2017). A happy ending for 11 students who put their faith is us to help them overcome their life restricting stammer / stutter.

All 11 students took on board our instruction and pushed themselves over 3 days to begin to get control over their stammer / stutter.

They embraced our war mentality and on Saturday afternoon they went to the battlefield having learned, repeatedly drilled and practiced their weapons to face their fear – their fear of approaching strangers on the street and in shops.

And to crown it off, they each did a public speech on Shop Street in Galway in front of many onlookers.

Here are some happy endings from the students on and immediately after finishing the course.

“The course has changed my life and I can’t wait to go back to my family and tell them all about it.”

“I never thought I would be able to speak to over 100 people today, never mind doing a public speech in Galway.”

“My stammer has held me back so much and now I can finally get to grips with it.”

“I can’t believe that so many people have a stammer and they had much the same experiences as I had. I truly thought I was the only one who felt like that.”

“Now I’m going to live my life free from the fear of stammering.”

Over the coming months, through hard work courage and perseverance, they will kill the fear (of stammering) and gain control over their stammer.

They will then adopt a ‘sports mentality’ – looking at their stammer as a worthy sports opponent and hopefully reach the stage where speaking becomes fun!

A truly happy ending!

Dealing with a stutter in the GAA

In December 2015, Tiernan McVey was named on the Gaelic Life Team of the week for his performance between the posts for Moortown at the St Paul’s Ulster Club Minor Tournament.

It is a moment that he cherishes, as it represented a major achievement for someone who had managed to battle with and conquer a stammer.

How he managed to get that nomination was interesting in itself. The 16-year-old McVey hadn’t been named on the starting side who were up against Crossmaglen, but he was called into action when first choice keeper was black carded.

In this difficult situation one might have expected a lesser player to wilt, but McVey played admirably, pulling off a string of saves that kept Moortown in the game.

While they were not able to overcome the Armagh champions, however McVey had made his mark and he was duly selected as the number one stopper of that week.

He had enjoyed the success of winning a Tyrone minor championship as a team, but this was an individual achievement, and proof that sticking with playing football, despite the challenges of communicating with a stammer had been worth it.

When he was a lot younger Tiernan had ignored his the condition, and tried to deal with it in his own way. But he gradually realised thanks to input from family that he needed to take action, but he wasn’t sure what.

“I went to a speech therapist for a while, but they didn’t help,” he  said.

But he knew that he needed a solution. A keen footballer, he loved playing for his club Moortown, but having a stammer made it a challenge to take part and compete. He couldn’t communicate as easily with his team mates, and he also suffered some unwanted attention from opponents who would pick on him.

“Sometimes when you are out on the pitch it is hard to communicate.”

The Moortown minor team which Tiernan McVey is part of.

He moved schools, from St Mary’s Magherafelt to the Holy Trinity in Cookstown. More of his Moortown friends were there, and he felt more comfortable, but because of his stammer it was a challenge to make the switch.

“At the beginning it was tough, it was tough going into the football team.

“Because I was new people would ask a lot of questions and that could be tough.”

His solution was to join the McGuire programme.

The organisation was founded by David McGuire, who developed a system of managing the condition using a mixture of breathing techniques and psychology.

The technique very quickly became a great success. After five years, the programme had spread from Holland, David’s base, to the UK, Ireland, Norway, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.

Tiernan is a massive proponent of the programme, which he has been involved in for the past two years.

He was inspired by people like Gareth Gates who had used the McGuire programme successfully to deal with his stammer, and he went on to take part in X factor.

“The McGuire programme had intensive lessons in a new way to talk. It took a lot of work but it is amazing what I have achieved in such a short space of time.

“Before I joined the course I ignored my stammer, I just tried to deal with it myself.”

But after taking part in the programme, he began to understand that he had to face the issue head on.

Armed with the new techniques he managed to control his stammer.

“It’s about controlling it, rather than it controlling you,” he said.

McVey also revealed that he has had to deal with unwanted attention on the field in the past. Opposing players have made fun of his stammer.

He said that it has happened a lot less than if he were an outfield player, but that it has happened.

“When I was younger it annoyed me. But if it happens now I don’t care. If you have accepted it then you can deal with people calling you names. Name calling is not going to change my attitude.”

However, he does accept that it is important that he can control his stammer for the good of the team. And as a footballer on a minor team, and a goalkeeper at that, being able to communicate to his team is important.

“I now don’t have any problem chatting with team mates. I know that before hand it might have been a problem.”

He says that he has no issue with playing.

“I give out instructions all the time now. The odd time I want to give an instructions but it doesn’t come out.”

At the moment he is out of action. He broke his thumb and has been sidelined from schools and clubs action. But he has aspirations of playing MacLarnon cup football for Holy Trinity, and in the next few years challenging for a place on the Moortown reserves and seniors.

All this serves to highlight his passion for the game.

McVey said that he thinks that Coaches need more help with coaching players. He said that there are misconceptions about those with the stammer. He said he knows coaches who single the players out and try to encourage them to speak, while others ignore them completely. He says that the latter is best.

“It would be good if there was help for coaches. It would help if they just treated us the same as everyone else.”

So why did Tiernan McVey choose to tell Gaelic Life to get his message about stammering and the McGuire programme?

“I wanted to help others, but particularly those in the GAA, I think there are people in the GAA who may be unsure about playing.”

If you want more information about the McGuire programme, see the website:

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