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    I’m an adult with SM. Can I get treatment?

    Yes, the clinic provides treatment for adults with selective mutism. Whilst Selective Mutism is more common in children, there are many adults who also suffer from Selective Mutism.

    Selective mutism in adults is treated using similar principles as other anxiety disorders such as phobias and Social Anxiety Disorder. A large part of treatment involves learning to understand feelings and sit with feelings, with strategies such as ‘mindfulness’. Another major component of treatment is called ‘Graded exposure’. This may involve entering social situations rather than avoiding them, then practising nonverbal communication such as nodding or writing notes, and finally working your way up to making voice recordings or using someone you trust and talk to as a “talking buddy”, and finally talking directly to a person. 

    We understand that as an adult with selective mutism it can be very scary to reach out to get treatment, and we will work out ways initially that you can communicate with us. This could be via writing, or talking to a friend or parent when we are not in the room, or responding nonverbally to our questions. We will find a way for you to communicate that is not too difficult, and we never ask or expect you to communicate in a way that is too uncomfortable for you. We will show you a way that you can communicate to us how difficult certain forms of communication are, and will use that tool to help guide how we progress i treatment. 

    Treatment for adults generally takes longer than it does for young children (more than 2 years, compared to 6-24 months for children), but it is possible to get to a stage where you can eventually talk to people in social situations and feel less distress around this!