Client perceptions of effective and ineffective therapeutic alliances during treatment for stuttering

J Fluency Disord. 2010 Dec;35(4):333-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jfludis.2010.07.001. Epub 2010 Jul 16.


The treatment components that contribute to and account for successful therapeutic outcomes for people who stutter are not well understood and are debated by many. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe in detail the underlying factors that contribute to a successful or unsuccessful therapeutic interaction between clients and their clinicians. Twenty-eight participants, 19 men and 9 women, who had received from 6 months to more than 12 years of therapy for stuttering were studied. The participants were asked to consider their experience with one or more speech-language pathologists with whom they had received fluency therapy and to describe the characteristics that made that individual effective or ineffective in promoting successful change in their ability to communicate. Analysis of these data resulted in 15 primary categories. Finally, the essential structure of an effective and ineffective therapeutic interaction was described. Results highlighted the importance for effective therapy of understanding the stuttering experience, forming a positive client-clinician, alliance, and being knowledgeable about stuttering and its treatment.

Educational objectives: The reader will be able to: (1) describe, from the perspective of a select group of adults who stutter, the themes associated with an effective therapeutic interaction, (2) describe, from the perspective of a select group of adults who stutter, the themes associated with an ineffective therapeutic interaction, and (3) describe the ways in which an effective or ineffective therapeutic interaction could impact a person who stutters.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Speech-Language Pathology / standards
  • Stuttering / psychology
  • Stuttering / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult