King’s Speech – When Stuttering is Psychological

It didn’t surprise me when Colin Firth won the 83rd Academy Award as the Best Actor for his character as King George VI in “King’s Speech”. He gave his best in the movie – the expression of being a failure could be read aloud and clear on his character.

According to DSM-IV-TR, Stuttering is one of many disorders that usually first diagnosed in childhood, aged 2 and 7 years – with peak onset at around age 5 years. For some cases, Stuttering can recover spontaneously before age 16 years. But no in this King’s case.

Whenever he has to speak up, the King would face his biggest fear – unable to speak clearly and without pauses within a word. He has been trying many ways to heal himself, but had no result, until he met a speech therapist named Lionel Logue – well played by Geoffrey Rush.

The method that was used by Lionel was different and un-orthodox, because he believed that Stuttering was caused by psychological factors. He was working with the based of psychoanalysis point of view. At the same time, he also used some physical trainings to strengthen the muscles that support speaking process.

Lionel’s approach was very personal and appreciate his client – not just the King – as a normal human being. He dig deep on the onset of the disease and consider every emotion or feeling as important. In many scenes, we could see that he used behavioral techniques – rewarding the King with a chance to paint on the plane model or ask a young boy to do behavioral experiment by becoming Lionel’s usher. Considering the set of the happenings, I agree that his method was unorthodox.

Even though the King couldn’t really overcome his condition, he made such a fabulous progress on his first war speech – with Lionel on his side making expressions. It can be said, when someone is at the edge of his nerve, the present of trustworthy others can help that person to achieve his best under circumstances. Lionel was that trustworthy other for the King.

I guess, if only the King met a psychoanalyst, he might get better. But that was just my assumption. The King’s personal well-being has been lifted high with the present of Lionel, who promote self-determination, optimistism, self-efficacy and ability to control the surroundings to the King.

Long live the King!

PS: thanks to Benny who gave the idea of watching this great movie!

Writing is my way to share it to you.