J. Scott Yaruss, PhD

Stuttering Specialist, Educator, and Researcher

J. Scott Yaruss, PhD


Practical Counseling Strategies for Speech-Language Pathologists

Note: A web-based version of this course is available from MedBridge Education.


Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are trained to help people who are experiencing speech or language disorders improve their communication abilities and increase their ability to function in their lives. Many times, however, people with communication disorders also experience negative affective and cognitive reactions to their speaking difficulties. These reactions can not only have a significant impact on a speaker’s emotional well-being; they can also impede a client’s progress in therapy. Therefore, if SLPs wish to help their clients achieve their greatest possible success in therapy, they may need to help their clients address these negative reactions.

Unfortunately, many SLPs do not feel that they are adequately prepared to address emotional or cognitive aspects of communication disorders, even though treatment of such reactions are within the SLP’s scope of practice—if they have received necessary training. The purpose of this workshop is to provide practicing SLPs and student clinicians with basic information about counseling people with communication disorders. The presentation will begin with a detailed discussion of what counseling is, and how counseling procedures are related to the overall process of therapy for people with communication disorders. Topics to be addressed include: when to use counseling skills, the nature of the emotional reactions clients may experience, how to further develop counseling skills, and, in particularly, which aspects of the counseling process are within the SLP’s scope of practice and which aspects should be referred to other professionals with specific training in counseling strategies.

The workshop is based on a model of the helping process drawn from counseling psychology which is designed to help clients:

  • understand and describe their current situation
  • identify and select possible options for a successful outcome of treatment
  • evaluate strategies for achieving treatment goals
  • develop and execute an action plan for achieving goals in treatment and in life.

Along the way, participants learn several specific counseling strategies that can help them accurately understand the client’s point of view and convey their understanding of the client’s perspective, provide helpful responses to clients’ statements of emotion, and support clients in taking responsibility for change in treatment.

Sample Outline / Timed Agenda

(Full-day program shown. All seminars can be adapted to a variety of schedules.)

  • 9:00 - 10:30 What is counseling? When do we use counseling strategies?
  • 10:30 - 10:45 break
  • 10:15 - 12:00 A model for helping clients achieve their goals in treatment.
  • 12:00 - 1:30 Lunch
  • 1:30 - 2:45 Specific Counseling Strategies
  • 2:45 - 3:00 Break
  • 3:00 - 3:30 Bringing it all together for change / Questions & Answers

Learning Objectives

Following this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the importance of developing counseling strategies for helping people with communication disorders
  • Describe the process of coping that many people with communication disorders may go through as they learn to live with their speaking difficulties
  • Apply a model of the counseling process focused on helping clients identify their current situation, evaluate their preferred situation, select appropriate options for change, and develop an action plan to help their achieve their goals in therapy
  • Utilize 3 key counseling strategies designed to help people with communication disorders come to terms with their speaking difficulties and improve the outcome of treatment

For More Information

To schedule this seminar or to find out how this program can be adapted for your organization, contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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