McGuire Program comes to Canada

UPDATE (AUG 2013) Unfortunately since this article was published commitments have changed for those involved and there is currently no plan to bring the McGuire program to Canada. We will feature an update for our readers if this changes.


The McGuire Program, a treatment for stuttering that has been widely available in Europe, is soon coming to Canada. Sessions will be available in Toronto early next year. Tim Pierce, who recently moved to Canada from Chester, England, is helping to instigate the program in this country. Tim answers some questions for the CSA website about the treatment.

How long has the McGuire program been used in Europe to help control stuttering/stammering?

The McGuire Programme was founded in Holland in the early 1990s, but has been widely established in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, USA, Denmark, Sweden, South Africa and more recently Mexico, for over 10 years.

Is this the first time the McGuire Program has been available in Canada?

Yes, this is the first time it has been available in Canada!

When did you take the McGuire program?

I took my first McGuire Course in 1998 (you join with life membership so you can attend as many courses as you like for a single fee) and have attended about twenty courses since then, including five when I instructed the course myself.

What effect did it have on your speech?

I'd tried other intensive therapy courses before with limited success. I thought this might be the same, but the strong support network and the course ethos meant that the fluency I gained during the first four days held up and eventually got stronger. The most dramatic effect it had on me was making me come out of my shell and fully accepting, in an assertive, positive way, that I stuttered. I can honestly say it changed my life and opened my eyes in so many ways. Although I still stutter occasionally, I have tools at my disposal to help me, and I really cannot remember the last time I had a severe speech block as I used to experience every day in my twenties.

What effect did it have on your life in general?

I feel much more confident and self assured than I did pre-first course. The main thing that has changed is that I no longer hide from the world and I feel as though I am being myself in every situation, not what I think other people expect me to be.

Basically, what is the philosophy and practice behind the therapy?

The program is based around a breathing technique called Costal Breathing combined with various tools to deal with speech blocks and to reduce the fear and anxiety behind stuttering. The courses are long and challenging, but very positive and uplifting. We apply a sports mentality to working on our speech, with a philosophy of "what you put in is what you get out". Our main aim is not necessarily fluency, but strong eloquent speech.

What type of maintenace is involved to preserve the positive effects of the therapy?

It's vital to keep practicing the techniques. There is a large support network of international coaches and course instructors available for telephone practice. In the initial stages of a stutterers involvement in the course it's important to attend a support group if there is one nearby, and to meet with your Primary Coach (every new student is assigned a personal coach who will help then through their recovery). There are regular courses and refresher weekends held all year round, and people are encourage to attend a refresher course soon after their first course to reinforce the techniques and strengthen their speech.

When will sessions be available?

Probably April of next year.

How do you like living in Canada?

I moved to this wonderful country three and a half years ago and I love it! I'm an analyst/programmer for an engineering firm in Toronto.

Thanks Tim!


McGuire Program Website

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