Clinician Workshop (Sydney) – Assessment and Treatment of Selective Mutism

Friday 15th of May, 2020.  9am – 5pm



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 phobia, standard cognitive-behavioural treatments in the clinic similar to those used for social phobia generally have limited efficacy. Treatment 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 uses a three tiered approach to treatment that provides skills training to the classroom teacher, parent(s), and child.

This seminar will outline a multidimensional cognitive-behavioural approach to treatment in children with selective mutism that involves an intensive school program with skills training for the classroom teacher, all school personnel, the parent(s), and the child. Strategies specific to Selective Mutism treatment that differ from standard CBT for anxiety disorders will be highlighted. The complexities and comorbid conditions of selective mutism that impact treatment will be discussed as well as family factors that need to be addressed.


Learning outcomes:

This workshop 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’.

In line with the Selective Mutism Clinic’s three-tiered approach, strategies will be discussed that:
1. Train the classroom teacher to be an effective coach for the child and to implement an intensive school program that target’s the communication anxiety. How to prepare the school and select a classroom teacher who will maximise the child’s chance of success.
2. Build the child’s own knowledge about their anxiety, speech anxiety, and other emotions, and specific skills to address these
3. Target the complex family factors that play a role in the mutism, and train the parent to respond appropriately to their child’s emotional needs and build the child’s communication in social settings.


Topics that will be covered in the workshop:

  • What is Selective Mutism
  • Epidemiology and aetiology of selective mutism
  • Assessment at school and in the clinic
  • Types of treatments and research
  • Key treatment strategies
  • School treatment program
  • Clinic program – parent and child components
  • Motivating families to seek treatment
  • Common issues and questions


About the presenter:

Dr Elizabeth Woodcock is a Clinical Psychologist working in private practice in St Leonards, Sydney with children and adults. She has worked as a clinician, supervisor, and trainer for over 15 years in the area of selective mutism. She is co-author of the book chapter ‘Treatment Programmes for Children with Selective Mutism’ in the book ‘Innovations and Advances in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ edited by D. Einstein (2007). Elizabeth completed her undergraduate and postgraduate training at the University of New South Wales and later worked with children with selective mutism and other severe psychiatric conditions at Redbank House (Westmead Hospital) – a tertiary service for children and families. She is founder and director of the Selective Mutism Clinic in Sydney, which provides regular training seminars for parents and schools, supervision for professionals, and treatment for children with selective mutism in Sydney as well as for children throughout Australia through their ‘Outreach program’.


The seminar is recommended for:

  • Psychologists, Speech Therapists, Social Workers, and Mental Health Care workers.
  • School Counsellors or Learning Support staff who provide support to children with Selective Mutism
  • This seminar is not recommended for parents. Parents are recommended to attend the next 3-hour evening seminar about ‘Treatment for selective mutism in schools and preschools’.


Location – Sydney seminar:

The workshop will be held in the Crows Nest Centre, at 2 Ernest Place Crows Nest. The centre is a 15-minute walk from St Leonards’ train station, and close to buses. Click here to go to the Crows Nest Centre website. Morning tea and lunch will be provided.

If you would alternatively like details about the Melbourne workshop, please click here.

How to get there:


Parking in the adjacent Hume Street Car Park is a flat $56 per day. Earlybird parking on Level 4 of the Alexander Street Car Park (a 5-minute walk away) is $25 (for entry between 7am and 9.30am and exit between 2.30pm and 6.30pm).

Public transport

The closest train station is St Leonards train station. The centre is approximately a 10-15 minute walk from the station. There are also numerous bus services that stop on surrounding streets of the centre.



The seminar price is $350. Earlybird price for payments received by 22/3/20 is $299. 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.

Clinician Workshop (Sydney) – Assessment and Treatment for SM

1 day workshop for psychologists, speech therapists, and school learning support teams. 

Price of the seminar is $350. Early bird pricing of $299 is available for payments by the 22/02/20