Clinician Webinar – Assessment and Treatment of Selective Mutism

Friday 14th June 2024, 9am to 5pm (Sydney time).



Selective Mutism is a severe and complex anxiety disorder that affects 1 in every 140 children in the first three years of school and even greater numbers in preschool. These children typically talk freely at home with their families but their anxiety prevents them from communicating in some or all social settings, particularly at school. Whilst the condition closely resembles social anxiety disorder, standard cognitive-behavioural treatments in the clinic similar to those used for social anxiety disorder generally have limited efficacy. Treatment for Selective Mutism at any age needs an intensive, multidimensional approach with a school program being an essential component of treatment. 

The program implemented by the Selective Mutism Clinic utilises a multidimensional cognitive-behavioural approach to treatment that involves the following:

  1. An intensive school program that involves providing regular skills training for the classroom teacher and other relevant school personnel. Training the classroom teacher to be an effective coach for the child and to implement strategies that build the child’s communication in all school settings. 
  2. Sessions with the child and parent in the clinic that build the child’s communication with the clinician, generalise the communication to other adults, build the child’s understanding of their speech anxiety, and provide anxiety management and emotion regulation strategies.
  3. Target the complex family factors that play a role in the mutism, train the parent to respond appropriately to their child’s emotional needs, and strategies for parents to build the child’s communication in social settings in the community.

Strategies unique to Selective Mutism treatment that differ from standard CBT for anxiety disorders (e.g., the ‘Sliding In’ technique) will be highlighted. The complexities of Selective Mutism and comorbidities that impact treatment will be discussed as well as family factors that need to be addressed. 

Working with schools to provide treatment for Selective Mutism is a large component of treatment. Strategies will be discussed to teach the classroom teacher that involve:

  1. Generalising the child’s talking from a parent to the teachers
  2. Building talking 1 on 1 with a teacher individually and in the classroom until the child is able to converse fluidly
  3. Building the child’s communication with each peer in the class
  4. Building the child’s communication with peers at their desk, in small groups, and whole class situations
  5. Generalising the child’s talking to all staff in the school (e.g., specialist teachers) and all school situations (e.g., canteen).
  6. How to prepare the school and select a classroom teacher who will maximise the child’s chance of success.


Learning outcomes:

This webinar will aim to build participants’ understanding about Selective Mutism in preschool and primary-school aged children and how to modify typical cognitive-behavioural treatments for anxiety disorders to suit this population. A 5-stage ‘communication hierarchy’ that underlies the treatment program will be discussed with various practical goals to use at each stage of communication within the school environment and other social situations as well as other evidence-based strategies for Selective Mutism such as ‘Sliding In’ and graded exposure.


Topics that will be covered in the webinar:

  • What is Selective Mutism
  • Epidemiology and aetiology of Selective Mutism
  • A 5-stage model of communication in Selective Mutism to guide graded exposure
  • Assessment at school and in the clinic
  • Types of treatments and research
  • Key treatment strategies including ‘Sliding In’, graded exposure, and generalising talking to all peers and teachers at school
  • An intensive school treatment program
  • Clinic program – parent and child components
  • Motivating families to seek treatment
  • Comorbidities and special cases of Selective Mutism
  • Common issues and questions


About the presenter:

Dr Elizabeth Woodcock is a Clinical Psychologist and Director of the Selective Mutism Clinic and also MindBox Psychology in Sydney. She has a Masters of Clinical Psychology and PhD from the University of NSW with over 20 years’ experience in treating child and adult mental health issues across both private practice and the public sector in research and clinical settings.

Elizabeth has a special interest in treatment of Selective Mutism and has seen or supervised close to 1000 cases of Selective Mutism in clients ranging from late 2’s to adulthood. She is first author of the chapter ‘Treatment Programmes for Children with Selective Mutism’ in the book ‘Innovations and Advances in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ edited by D. Einstein (2007). Elizabeth runs a series of training webinars about Selective Mutism each year to suit a range of audiences, including teachers, parents, speech pathologists, and psychologists.



The webinar is recommended for:

  • Psychologists, Social Workers, and other Mental Health Care workers.
  • School Counsellors who provide support to children with Selective Mutism
  • This webinar is not recommended for teachers or parents. Teachers are recommended to watch the 3-hour webinar here, and parents are recommended to watch the 3-hour webinar here
  • Speech Pathologists are welcome to attend but we also have a 3 hr 40 min webinar available for Speech Pathologists here.


Webinar logon details:

The webinar will be run on the Zoom platform. The Zoom link and handouts will be emailed to participants in the days prior to the event with instructions of how to logon.



The webinar price is $400. Early bird price for payments received by 3rd May 2024 is $350. Cancelled bookings can be transferred but not refunded.


To book, click here to email the clinic and provide your name and phone number. Alternatively, you can call the clinic on 02 9438 2511 or click on the link below to book a place now. Registration closes on 13th June 2024.

Can’t make the live webinar?

To purchase a 4-week access to a webinar recording (6.5 hours), click here.
To purchase a 4-week access to a shorter 3-hr version of a webinar recording, click here.
To purchase a USB package of the webinar (6.5 hours), click here.
To purchase a USB package of the shorter, 3-hr webinar, click here.


Webinar – Assessment and Treatment of Selective Mutism for Clinicians (8hrs)

1 day webinar for psychologists and mental health professionals. 

Price of the webinar is $400. Earlybird price is $350.