Selective mutism is a complex and rare anxiety disorder that affects a person’s ability to speak in specific social situations. Usually developed during childhood, selective mutism can continue into adulthood. As a public service organization in Florida with a focus on selective mutism, we understand how debilitating it can be for adults. Likewise, this month’s blog will discuss the treatment options available for adults with selective mutism:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a highly effective treatment option as it applies an action-based plan. A specialist utilizes a range of techniques to manage anxiety when speaking in specific situations. Through CBT, adults can determine what causes their anxiety and how negative thoughts can contribute to their symptoms.
- Systematic desensitization
Systematic desensitization involves the use of relaxation techniques that gradually expose an individual to successively higher anxiety-provoking situations. This process reduces their fear of speaking to others apart from their close friends and family.
Systematic desensitization begins through non-vocal communication options like instant messaging or sending emails and gradually increases exposure to more direct options, such as phone calls and speaking in person.
- Stimulus fading
Adults with selective mutism can undergo stimulus fading as another method of treatment. This intervention involves gradual exposure to a fear-evoking stimulus, including talking in the presence of an unfamiliar person in the same room, interacting with others in a campaign group, and speaking in front of a small group.