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Online Selective Mutism Association Presents Selective Mutism Training Institute for Caregivers of Children with Selective Mutism

June 12 @ 9:00 am - June 13 @ 3:00 pm

Date: June 12 and June 13, 2021
Location: Online Training

Time: 9:00-3:30 PM Eastern Standard Time on June 12 and June 13, 2021

Register Now


Participation early bird registration (Registration prior to May 15, 2021): $250

Registration after May 15, 2021: $299

*Please note that this training is offered in English and translation services are not provided. If you need special accommodations to attend this training, please email Dr. Lisa Kovac, SMA Executive Director at prior to registering.

Program Overview

The Selective Mutism Training Institute (SMTI) is an in-depth 2-day training course for caregivers of children/youth (ages 3-17) diagnosed with selective mutism (SM). The workshop is intensive and skills-based with the goal of increasing caregiver competence in utilizing empirically-supported treatment strategies for SM. We maintain a low instructor to participant ratio to ensure adequate time for modeling and video role-play of the skills. Registration will be capped at 30 participants.

This is a unique opportunity for caregivers of children with Selective Mutism to learn cutting-edge, innovative techniques to effectively address SM. Small group, video consultation with the course instructors following the 2-day training is included in the cost, allowing participants to further apply the skills in their own unique settings. Teachers/educators are also welcome to attend and may benefit from the information provided in this course; however, this course content will be focused at providing information for caregivers and their corresponding environment.

The workshop starts with providing a framework for understanding the development of SM, highlighting the role of nature, nurture, temperament, and developmental differences in the onset and maintenance of SM, social anxiety, and other common co-occurring disorders. Evidence-based behavioral and cognitive interventions will be covered in depth. This training will give you the skills needed to assess how and with whom your child is communicating in different contexts and help move those skills forward. In addition, caregivers will learn treatment strategies to improve family interactions and child participation in extracurricular activities, to negotiate playdates with other children, and to solicit help from others to support your child’s progress. This training will also cover critical school intervention and how to help your children succeed in this environment. Special attention will be given to pandemic related issues and virtual considerations such as how to navigate school in a remote environment and participate in virtual playdates/interactions with family and community.

In addition to traditional (e.g., weekly) treatment, other treatment formats will be discussed, including intensive treatments, group-based interventions, and school consultation. Parental self-care, practical applications of treatment (e.g., playdates), and accessing additional support will also be reviewed.

Program Objectives

• After this course, participants will be able to describe ways in which selective mutism develops and appropriate timing for medication consultation.

• After this course, participants will be able to state empirically-supported behavioral and cognitive treatment strategies, including PCIT-SM (Parent-Child Interaction Therapy for Selective Mutism) techniques for selective mutism in school, home, and public (social) settings.

• After this course, participants will be able to list three strategies to effectively engage school personnel and educational staff when implementing relevant treatment strategies specific to youth with selective mutism.

• After this course, participants will be able to list various forms of caregiver self-care when supporting children with selective mutism.


Participants who would benefit from this training include all caregivers of children with selective mutism. This training course is not intended for professionals.

Prior experience: The SMTI course is primarily intended for those with beginner and intermediate exposure to work with SM.

Presenter Information

Rachel Busman, Psy.D., ABPP

Rachel Busman, Psy.D., ABPP is the senior director of the Anxiety Disorders Center and director of the Selective Mutism Service at the Child Mind Institute. She leads a team of clinicians providing evaluation and innovative treatment to children with selective mutism. Dr. Busman is Past President of the Selective Mutism Association, the nation’s largest network of professionals, families, and individuals with selective mutism. Dr. Busman has extensive experience providing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to children, teenagers and young adults struggling with anxiety disorders, school difficulties and behavioral problems. She also has specific interest and expertise in the evaluation and treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and specific phobias. Dr. Busman has worked with children in both inpatient and outpatient settings at a major academic medical center, where she directed a multidisciplinary team. She has taught and supervised psychiatry residents and child psychiatry fellows, and lectured extensively on a variety of topics, including the evidence-based assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders in children and teens. Dr. Busman works intensively with children who have selective mutism, and is dedicated to establishing trust and instilling a sense of hope in her patients as she helps them on their path to recovery.

Emily Doll, M.A., M.S., CCC-SLP

Emily Doll is a Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist in the Easton Area School District in Pennsylvania. Her caseload includes students in grades K-5 with a variety of social, emotional, cognitive, and academic needs, including students with selective mutism. Emily is also a counselor and lead teacher at the Child Mind Institute’s Brave Buddies programs for children with selective mutism. Prior to working as a speech pathologist, Emily taught preschool for 10 years and worked one-on-one with a student with selective mutism in this setting. Emily received her M.A. in Applied Developmental Psychology with a focus on Language Acquisition from George Mason University and her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from East Stroudsburg University. She continues to conduct and collaborate in research within the speech pathology field through East Stroudsburg University, where she also serves as a guest lecturer for graduate and undergraduate classes. She has presented on selective mutism as an invited speaker at local, state, and national conferences. Her professional interests are in helping children with anxiety and communication needs find the tools to communicate effectively and efficiently with those around them. Emily currently serves as the Secretary for the Selective Mutism Association’s Board of Directors.

Rachel Merson, Psy.D.

Rachel Merson, Psy.D. is the Clinical Director of the Child and Adolescent Fear and Anxiety Treatment Program at the Boston University Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders (Child CARD). Dr. Merson has extensive experience providing evidence-based treatment to children and adolescents with a range of anxiety disorders and co-occurring emotional and behavioral concerns. As Director of Child CARD’s Selective Mutism Program, she oversees Brave Bunch, Child CARD’s intensive group treatment program for young children with SM. In addition, Dr. Merson is actively involved in providing supervision and training to Child CARD graduate students and trainees. She frequently conducts workshops with schools and community agencies on selective mutism and other topics related to child anxiety.

Dr. Merson completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia where she majored in Psychology and graduated with High Distinction. She went on to earn her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) at Rutgers University. Dr. Merson completed a one-year, APA-approved internship at Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston, Massachusetts.

SMTI Flyer


June 12 @ 9:00 am
June 13 @ 3:00 pm