Authors: Sønsterud H, Halvorsen MS, Feragen KB, Kirmess M, Ward D
Title: What works for whom? Multidimensional individualized stuttering therapy (MIST)
Source: Journal of Communication Disorders 2020 88: 106052
Year: 2020
Research Design: Case Series

Abstract. Purpose. This study reports outcomes from a stuttering therapy approach that combines value and awareness-based elements from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) with those of stuttering and speech modification interventions. The approach, entitled Multidimensional Individualized Stuttering Therapy (MIST), includes a combined clinician and client selection of factors across five areas: 1) general breathing patterns and body tension, 2) breathing patterns during speech production, 3) vocal features in speech production, 4) value and mindfulness-based strategies, and 5) general communication and/or presentation skills. The aims of this study were to evaluate whether the MIST a) reduces the impact of stuttering and stuttering severity, and b) has a positive impact on speaking ability, confidence in communication, avoidance-behavior, and quality of life. Method. Eighteen adults, age 21-61 years took part in an A-B-A multiple case study design. Participants underwent a pre-clinic assessment phase, followed by 10 h of therapy over four sessions administered by an experienced speech-language therapist. Outcome measures examined both psychosocial and behavioral aspects of therapy three-, six- and twelve-months post-therapy. Results. Most participants chose elements from at least four of the five areas of focus. There was a significant reduction in the impact of stuttering at both 6- and 12-months post-therapy, with moderate (d = .71) to very large (d = 1.06) effect sizes. A strong association was found between overall satisfaction with MIST and improved speaking abilities. Moderate to strong associations were also found between experienced speaking abilities, confidence in communication, reduction in avoidance behaviors and improved quality of life. Discussion. Findings indicate that MIST can be effective in managing adult stuttering. The findings highlight the importance of shared decision making and personal considerations using flexible therapy approaches that integrate stuttering and speech modification interventions with value and awareness-based skills. The nature of a multidimensional individualized approach, as shown in this study, highlights the importance of adjusting the relative weighting of different subcomponents according to each individual's needs and goals. Conclusion. MIST was shown to be efficacious in clinical settings and effective in real life settings. Findings were promising, despite a relatively small sample, and replication by other SLPs and with larger samples is warranted.

Access: Open Access