The Selective Mutism Clinic uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) because research and our experience has shown this is the most effective treatment for selective mutism. CBT addresses children’s avoidance of talking by helping them to gradually confront and practise increasingly more difficult forms of non-verbal and verbal communication. This is done at a pace that the child can cope with. Children with selective mutism also have particular anxious beliefs about how other people might respond or think about them if they heard them speak (e.g., ‘they might tell everyone that I talked’, ‘they might think my voice sounds funny’). CBT helps them to start to think in a more helpful and rational way about talking.
The program requires parents and teachers to be committed to implementing strategies both within and outside of school, both of which are extremely important. Parents will be given skills to help their child gradually increase their communication with extended family, friends, in public places and in other settings. The Clinic implements an intensive school or preschool program and provides the classroom teacher and other relevant school personnel with regular phone consultations to support them to implement this program (i.e., a phone consultation every 4 weeks). Your family will be seen by one of our Clinical Psychologists who are all registered psychologists and have Masters or Doctorate level training in Clinical Psychology as well as specialised training and experience in treating selective mutism.