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Therapy for Selective Mutism

What ages does the Center for CBT treat for Selective Mutism?

Ages 2-10

What is Selective Mutism?

Selective Mutism is an anxiety-based disorder characterized by fears of social communication. Selective Mutism usually begins to appear during young childhood (often between ages 3-5) and presents itself as a child who is seemingly unable to speak in certain situations. It is important to note that Selective Mutism is not a language disorder; children with Selective Mutism do have the ability to speak but feel as though they are unable to use their words in certain settings or around specific people (i.e., around new people). 

How do I know if my child needs treatment?

Selective Mutism is an anxiety disorder that presents itself in a variety of ways. Your child may benefit from treatment with us if they are experiencing any of the following symptoms for a month or more: 

  • Talking at home but being nonverbal in other settings, such as school, extra-curricular activities, and/or public settings

  • Difficulty verbalizing with peers, strangers, or unfamiliar adults on one’s own or in the presence of others they know well

  • Shutting down or seeming paralyzed in social situations 

  • Becoming overly reliant on nonverbal communication in uncomfortable social situations (e.g., nodding instead of saying yes, pointing, whispering to a comfortable person to tell the answer to) 

What does treatment for Selective Mutism look like?

The most effective treatment for Selective Mutism is called Behavior Therapy. Behavior Therapy for Selective Mutism is highly effective and is typically completed between 10-16 sessions. At the Center for CBT, we implement this treatment in a fun, light-hearted way to ensure child comfort and familial support. Our clinician will work with you and your child to encourage brave speaking and improve independent self-help skills by doing slow and gradual exposures, using positive feedback and rewards to encourage progress along the way.  Your therapist will consult with other individuals in your child’s life, such as school teachers or school aids, to create a strong, positive, and knowledgeable alliance to best support your child. After reaching out and scheduling an appointment, our Selective Mutism specialist will begin by conducting a thorough intake with you and your family to create a personalized treatment plan for your child.

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