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approach-avoidance conflict

This term describes the conflict which the stutterer experiences as he approaches a feared word or situation. His desire for avoidance of verbal difficulty struggles for mastery against his desire for speaking, and the conflict may be expressed overtly in stuttering behaviors that interfere with speaking. The stutterer is caught in a conflict where he wants to talk and communicate but wants to avoid stuttering: at the same time, he wants to not stutter, but not abandon communication.

Definition reprinted with permission from Hood, Stephen B. (editor) available from Stuttering Foundation of America: Stuttering Words (Publication No 2: Speech Foundation of America)

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