The Logical Levels, a concept formulated by Gregory Bateson, describes that our environment is where we behave, have capabilities, and form beliefs and an identity. Each level flows to another. What does this have to do with stuttering?


The environment consists of where, when, and with whom. It is the places you talk in and the people you speak with, as well as the reactions to your stuttering. People can sometimes develop consistent stuttering with certain people or in specific situations. Listener reactions can cause a person who stutters to start developing limiting beliefs about stuttering. They may even have phobia-like situations due to past negative experiences with stuttering.


Stuttering behaviors are the physical manifestations of stuttering. Some behaviors of younger children may include facial grimaces, clenching their fist, whispering to avoid stuttering, or blinking their eyes. Older children often purposely avert their eyes as they anticipate stuttering. Behaviors can also include repetitions, speech blocks, interjections, sound prolongations, and other fluent speech disruptors. All of these things listed are attempts at preventing stuttering.


Capabilities include the speaking situations in which a person who stutters feels competent or has trouble with. People who stutter may feel as if they simply can’t do certain things, and it may be pertinent to past negative experiences. Sometimes all it takes is one negative experience to cause a feeling of incompetence.


Beliefs include the levels of what you believe is true and what is important to you. If a young child is constantly corrected or teased for his stutter, he may begin to believe that stuttering is not tolerated. People who stutter may also avoid eye contact due to the belief that the listener is already reacting negatively to their stutter.


Your identity is your sense of yourself, your core beliefs, and values. Continued attention to the behavior of stuttering can lead to the identity of a person who stutters. It all depends on how they internally represent their stuttering.


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