Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism is a severe anxiety-based disorder where sufferers are unable to speak in select social situations. The disorder usually begins in early childhood and without treatment, can be present throughout life. For those who struggle with Selective Mutism, the expectation to talk can trigger a ‘frozen’ response with feelings of panic, and talking becomes impossible. At Bridges Therapy Centre, we offer child-centred Selective Mutism therapy to help children to move from silence to speech.

Although people with Selective Mutism can sometimes speak freely in more familiar situations, the ‘freeze’ response can be activated by any specific social situations. As the disorder usually starts between the ages of 2 and 4, it is often first noticed when children begin nursery or school, and are interacting with people outside of close family members for the first time.

Selective Mutism is diagnosed if a child meets the following conditions:

  • They do not speak in particular situations
  • At home or when they’re comfortable with a setting, they can speak normally
  • Their inability to speak is not explained by another communication disorder (e.g. stuttering)
  • The difficulties have lasted at least a month longer than their first month as school
  • It is interfering with their social and cognitive development
  • Their failure to speak is not because of a lack of language knowledge.

Affecting around 1 in 140 young children, Selective Mutism is more common in girls, as well as children who have migrated from their birth country and are learning a second language. After a certain amount of time with the disorder, some children learn to anticipate their triggering situations and will actively begin to avoid them.

young child having therapy session with parents and therapist

Selective Mutism Treatment

With our Selective Mutism specialists here at Bridges Therapy Centre, we offer individualised treatment plans for children who are struggling with the disorder. As part of the child-centred treatment approach we use, our therapists – including Selective Mutism specialist Michelle Gershoni – aim to empower children with selective mutism to speak. Our therapy for Selective Mutism in London involves cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which focuses on reducing anxiety associated with speech, allowing sufferers to gradually progress to speaking freely.


How We Can Help

As each child and individual case of selective mutism is unique, so too is our therapy. Our specialists will take the time to get to know your child and their difficulties, creating a tailor-made therapy plan specifically for them.


Contact Us

For more information about the treatment and therapy that we provide for Selective Mutism, please contact our expert team today for a free 15 minute initial consultation.


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Bridges Therapy Centre - Hendon, London, NW4 - English & Hebrew Counselling & Therapy Services

The contents on this site is for information only, and is not meant to substitute the advice of your own physician or other medical professional