A man who overcame his stammer thanks to an intensive four-day training course hopes to raise awareness of the condition that effects around one per cent of the population.

James Caplan, who works as a financial advisor in Stanmore, has been part of an ITV campaign which looks at the impact of stammering in society.

The 46-year-old plays a small role in the programme ‘The School for Stammerers’, where he highlights the work carried out on the McGuire Programme.

He explains how having a stammer can severely hamper someone’s life but notes that there are ways to do something about it.

“Stammers dictate how people live their lives,” he said. “Mine got to a stage where I was actively choosing to miss out on things like my kids’ sports days because I was scared that I’d have to speak to teachers and other parents.

“It’s a bit like an iceberg. The part you see above the water is the physical aspect but the larger bit underwater is the shame, self-hate and guilt associated with a stammer.

“Ultimately it holds you back, whether you have an overt or covert stammer. But it doesn’t have to be that way.”

James tried a number of techniques in a bid to control his condition, with varying degrees of success.

He fully believes that the McGuire Programme – for which he is now a coach – is the most effective way in overcoming a stammer and enabling you to live a ‘normal’ life.

“When you have a stammer, you think you’re the only one in the world who does,” he explained.

“But there are so many people out there who want to support you and help you let go, have fun and make contact with those around you.

“The McGuire Programme allows you to do this. It’s an intensive course which throws you into the real world but this is the best way to approach things.”

James, who spent his childhood in Harrow Weald and now lives in Bushey, notes that it is far from plain sailing.

People cannot just turn up, do the course and suddenly be in control of their stammer.

He added: “Like anything in life, there is a lot of hard work involved. I realised that and, three years later, I am a lot more confident and I don’t hold back.

“McGuire offers a fantastic support network with follow-up courses all around the world and you know you always have people on your side.”

The ITV programme wants to highlight how debilitating stammers can be, and how people try to get them under control.

James believes “any publicity is good publicity” and he hopes that people will gain a better understanding of these conditions and appreciate that there are ways to tackle them.

The School for Stammerers airs on ITV at 9pm on January 9.