Understanding & Controlling Stuttering

Understanding & Controlling Stuttering

A Comprehensive New Approach Based on the Valsalva Hypothesis

The Revised and Expanded Third Edition

By William D. Parry, J.D
., M.A., CCC-SLP

A licensed Speech-Language Pathologist, founder and former leader of the Philadelphia Area Chapter of the National Stuttering Association, and former member of the National Stuttering Association Board of Directors

(Revised and Expanded 3rd Edition, 2013, trade paperback, 320 pages, 6 x9 inches, perfect bound, illustrated; ISBN 1-929773-24-2)

Puzzled about stuttering? Do you wonder why words often feel like “brick walls,” even before you try to say them? Or why your blocks get stronger the harder you try to force through them?  If so, here is a book, written in clear, every-day language, that fits together the pieces of the stuttering puzzle as never before. 

The key to its approach is the Valsalva Hypothesis – an exciting new theory that explains stuttering blocks as a neurological confusion between voice and the body’s Valsalva mechanism, in response to anxiety or the anticipation of difficulty in speaking. As a result, the larynx is prepared to exert effort instead of phonating a word’s vowel sound, causing speech to get stuck on the consonant or glottal stop preceding the vowel. The book demonstrates how neurological, physiological, and psychological factors interact to stimulate and perpetuate stuttering through a "Valsalva-Stuttering Cycle."

This book sheds new light on virtually every aspect of stuttering behavior – its causes, its variability, and its many forms of treatment. Finally, it outlines a comprehensive self-help program based on Valsalva Stuttering Therapy, aimed at relaxing the Valsalva mechanism, eliminating blocks, freeing your inherent fluency, and allowing you to speak in an easy, effortless, and natural way.

The Revised and Expanded Third Edition contains many new insights and exercises, developed through actual clinical experience, experimentation, and practice-based evidence, involving the participation of dozens of persons who stutter from all over the world. 

Contents of Understanding and Controlling Stuttering - Revised and Expanded Third Edition.
See The Valsalva Mechanism: A Key to Understanding and Controlling Stuttering, for an introductory article about the Valsalva Hypothesis and the possible relationship between stuttering and the Valsalva mechanism (based on author's presentation at the 1995 World Congress for People Who Stutter).
Comments about the book and the Valsalva Hypothesis
About the author
How to order

What others have said about the previous edition . . .

"Lucid, easy-to-read . . . . You learn to see your stuttering in an entirely new light. . . . Bill has identified and demystified one of the key elements of the [stuttering] system - the speech block - and he does it in a way that makes perfect sense. His book ... is essential reading for anyone trying to make sense of his or her own stuttering. It's also a must for the speech pathologist looking for a keener understanding of the hidden dynamics behind the stuttering block."

John C. Harrison - Review in Letting Go, National Stuttering Project

"A well-researched book which benefits from the author's personal experience of stammering."

Dr. Trudy Stewart - Review in Speaking Out, Association for Stammerers (England)

"[The Valsalva Hypothesis] is of potentially significant scientific value in explaining the nature of stuttering behavior. . . . "

J. David Williams, Ph.D., Northern Illinois University

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About the Author . . .

William D. Parry, Esq., M.A., CCC-SLP

Bill Parry is a licensed speech-language pathologist and former trial lawyer.  He received his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was an Editor of the Law Review. After struggling most of his life with a severe stuttering problem, Parry became frustrated with existing theories and therapies and began his own research and experimentation. This resulted in his "Valsalva Hypothesis" (published in the Journal of Fluency Disorders in December 1985) and a therapeutic approach called "Valsalva Control," which dramatically improved his fluency.  This enabled him to become a successful trial lawyer in Philadelphia.  He has been listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, Who's Who in America and Who's Who in American Law.

Parry founded the Philadelphia Area Chapter of the National Stuttering Association in 1985 and led its support group meetings for more than 15 years.  He also served for six years on the Board of Directors of the National Stuttering Association and as Chair of its Advocacy Committee.  He has appeared on TV and radio talk shows and, in 1987, received the "Spirit of Philadelphia Award" from WCAU-TV Channel 10 News. He has given workshops and presentations on the Valsalva Hypothesis locally, at NSP conventions, at the Third International Convention for People Who Stutter in 1992, and at the World Congress of People Who Stutter, in 1995 in Sweden, and elsewhere. A preliminary edition of his book, Understanding and Controlling Stuttering, first appeared in 1992. The Completed Edition was published in 1994, and the Second Edition was published in 2000 and went through five printings.  It has been the NSA's most popular book and one of the most popular books on stuttering on Amazon.com.  The Revised and Expanded Third Edition arrived in 2013.

Parry received a Master's Degree in Speech, Language and Hearing Science from Temple University.  He has received a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), is licensed in Pennsylvania and several other states, and is currently practicing stuttering therapy in the Philadelphia area and by video conferencing where permitted by law.

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How to order . . .

The Revised and Expanded Third Edition of Understanding & Controlling Stuttering may be obtained from the National Stuttering Association or from Amazon.com.


For information concerning stuttering self-help and support, please contact:

National Stuttering Association
119 West 40th Street, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10018
Telephone: (800) WE STUTTER or (212) 944-4050
Fax: (212) 944-8244
e-mail: info@westutter.org

Researchers and speech-language pathologists seeking further information about the Valsalva Hypothesis and Valsalva Control may contact: The Valsalva-Stuttering Network - on the web at www.valsalva.org or e-mail: valsalvastutter@aol.com.

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Updated: April 13, 2014

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