How To Try To Find A Treating Professional Who Can Work With A Child With Selective Mutism

The following professionals have joined our SMA community. They represent various specialties that work with children with Selective Mutism. SMA commends these professionals for taking an interest in treating or working with children with SM. The listings on this page can provide a source of referral information for parents seeking a treating professional for their child. SMA cannot, however, specifically endorse treating providers and reminds parents to carefully qualify any professional before beginning treatment. Suggestions for qualifying a treating professional are found on our Find a Treating Professional page.


To see more information about the treating professionals listed (by State) below, click on one of the individual’s names.

Canada

Alberta

Andrea Bliss (PhD)Calgary, AB
Terryl Makuk (BEd, MSc)Calgary, AB

British Columbia

Erika Penner (PhD)West Vancouver, BC
Anna Simpson (PhD)North Vancouver, BC

Ontario

Marie-France Renaud (MA)Cornwall, ON
Jeff St. Pierre (PhD)London, ON

United States of America

California

Yolanda Agredano (MD)Los Gatos, CA
Audrey E. Boggs (PsyD)San Rafael, CA
Lisa Cameron (MS, CCC-SLP)Orinda, CA
Linda Do (DO)Redondo Beach, CA
Jenny Dunn (BCaBA)Roseville, CA
Catherine Eckel (PhD)Los Gatos, CA
Randi Fredricks (PhD)San Jose, CA
Lisa Gioia (MS, LMFT)Pleasanton, CA
Esther B. Hess (PhD)Los Angeles, CA
Laura L.C. Johnson (MBA, MA, LMFT)San Jose, CA and Roseville, CA
Lynn Lunceford (PsyD)San Diego, CA
Cindy McCullough (MA, BCBA)Roseville, CA
Lisa Phillips (PhD)Costa Mesa and Laguna Hills, CA
Shireen Sonefeldt (PsyD)Beverly Hills, CA
Christy Tadros (MA, EdM)Los Altos, CA
Ashley Taylor (PsyD)Pasadena, CA
Judy Welch (PsyD)Thousand Oaks, CA
Genevieve Yu (M.D.)Irvine, CA

Colorado

Sheila Lepkin (MA, NCSP)Denver, CO

Connecticut

Cara Powers (LPC)West Haven, CT

Florida

Joleen Fernald (CCC-SLP, BCS-CL)Trinity, FL (near Tampa)
Florida International University Center for Children and Families (PhD)Miami, FL
Vera Joffe (PhD, ABPP)Coral Springs, FL
Lisa Kovac (Ed.S., BCBA)Orlando, FL
Cynthia Last (PhD, PA)Boca Raton, FL

Georgia

Josh Spitalnick (PhD, ABPP)Dunwoody, GA

Illinois

Advanced Therapeutic Solutions
Andrea Brandon (PsyD)
Theresa Baker Gabby (LCSW)
Carmen M. Tumialán Lynas (PhD)
Ashley O’Meara (Ed>, ABSNP)
Dr. Bertolino (PhD)
Oak Brook, IL
Bryan Bugay (M.Ed., LCPC)Northfield, IL
Zehra Metovic-Barnes (MA, LCPC)Chicago, IL

Indiana

Hsiu-Ying Ransburg (MSW, LCSW, LCAC)Carmel, IN

Kentucky

Joseph Constantine (PhD, CCC-SLP)Richmond, KY

Maryland

Courtney Keeton (PhD)Baltimore, MD
Alison L. Miller & Associates (PsyD)
Alison L. Miller (PsyD)
Lisa Sheehan (PsyD)
Sarah Brager (PsyD)
Lutherville, MD
Veronica Raggi (PhD)Rockville, MD

Massachusetts

Stephanie Kriesberg (PsyD)Concord, MA
Karen Levine (PhD)Lexington, MA
Randi Loeb (MS CCC SLP)Lexington, MA
Jennifer D. Lish (PhD)Worcester, MA
Edward H. Plimpton (PhD)Amherst, MA
Jayne Steinberg (MA, CCC-SLP)Holliston, MA
Beverly Singer (PsyD)Hingham, MA

Michigan

Ruth M. Anan (PhD, BCBA)Novi, MI
Thriving Minds
Aimee Kotrba (PhD, PLLC)
Katelyn Reed (MS, TLLP)
Lisa Wheeler (MA)
Brighton, Chelsea, MI

Minnesota

Sarah Pavek (MA, L.P.)St. Paul, MN

New Hampshire

Annie DiVello (MS, CCC-SLP)Manchester, NH
Joleen Fernald (CCC-SLP, BCS-CL)Dover, NH

New Jersey

Karen Jacob (MSW)West Orange, NJ
Larissa Labay (PsyD)Waldwick, NJ
Carly Orenstein (PsyD)Parsippany, NJ

New York

Hayley Cooper (PsyD)New York, NY
Laura Kirmayer (PhD, MSW)New York, NY
Catharina Kleuskens (LCSW)Merrick, NY
Lauren Knickerbocker (PhD)New York, NY
Kurtz Psychology Consulting PC
Steven Kurtz (PhD)
Shelley Avny (PsyD)
Gina Robinson (LCWS, MSW)
Christy Tadros (MA, EdM)
New York, NY
Judith Musaro Lichter (PhD, LCSW)South Huntington, LI, NY
Marian Moldan (LCSW-R)Plainview and Miller Place, NY
Brittany Roslin (PhD)NY, NY
The Child & Family Institute
Adam Weissman (PhD)
Rebecca Sinclair (PhD)
John J. DiLallo (M.D.)
Elana Dumont (PsyD)
Yuri Lee (MS)
Kristy Castaldo (MA)
New York, NY and Scarsdale, NY
The Child Mind Institute
Rachel Busman (PsyD)
Janine Domingues (PhD)
Michelle Kaplan (LCSW)
Amanda Mintzer (PsyD)
Elianna Platt (MA, LMSW)
New York, NY

Pennsylvania

Katherine Dahlsgaard (PhD)Philadelphia, PA
Evelyn R. Klein (PhD)Philadephia, PA
Elisa Shipon-Blum (D.O.)Philadelphia, PA
Christopher Watts (PhD)Harrisburg, PA

Rhode Island

Rebecca Laptook (PhD)Providence, RI

Texas

Louise Tedford (PhD)Austin, TX

Utah

Heidi Applonie (LCSW)Layton, Ut

Virginia

Courtney Ferenz (PsyD)Fairfax, VA
Kristin Swanson (PsyD)Falls Church, VA

Washington

Brenda Ray (MS, CCC_SLP)Seattle, WA

There are few providers who may have specific expertise in SM. However, as SM is a form of childhood anxiety, it can also be helpful to look for providers who can treat childhood anxiety (i.e. using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and behavioral approaches) and who may have a familiarity with SM. Below are examples of how to do this (these recommendations are specific to the USA but can be generalized to agencies in other countries):

  1. Google your state’s Department of Mental Health or Department of Behavioral Health (it may be called something different in different areas). Locate where it may list either treatment options or a contact number that you can call to get a list of state/region mental health agencies. Once you have a list of agencies, call each agency and ask about whether they have providers who can treat SM/child anxiety.
  2. Look up the email/phone number for your state’s psychological association. It is usually called the (STATE NAME) Psychological Association. Ask if there is a way to find out if any of their members could treat a child with SM/child anxiety.
  3. Identify several hospitals in your state/region. Look up if they have a psychiatric outpatient department and call the intake number to see if they have any providers who can treat SM/child anxiety. Also, when contacting hospitals, ask about other professionals who could treat SM such as speech pathologists or social workers and how to contact those departments.
  4. Contact your local speech/language/hearing association. Similar to above, ask if there is a way to find out if they know of providers who can treat SM.
  5. Identify and contact universities who have any of the following: Clinical psychology graduate programs, social work graduate programs, or speech pathology programs. Often, universities may have a clinical center for one or more of the above programs and there may be graduate students who would be qualified to treat SM with supervision.
  6. Identify behavior analysts in your areas. Go to www.bacb.com, click ‘find a registrant’ and enter a zip code.
  7. Contact your insurance company and ask for a list of covered providers in your area who can treat SM/child anxiety

Here are a few tips for searching for a treating professional in your area:

  1. Ask around. You can start by asking your pediatrician, child’s school, family or friends who they have had direct experience with or who they have heard is a good child therapist. You will want to find a child psychologist, psychiatrist or clinical social worker who specializes in the treatment of childhood anxiety disorders.
  2. Make some phone calls. If you cannot find a professional who has come personally recommended from someone you trust, you can ask your insurance company for individuals in their network of providers who list childhood anxiety disorders as a specialty. You can call psychological practices in your community that come highly recommended and ask them if they know of any professionals who specifically treat childhood anxiety disorders. Often times, calling your local children’s hospital and asking them for a referral can be a beneficial resource as well.
  3. Check out online resources. There are many ways to search for a potential provider online. First, you may want to review the list of SMA Professional Members who treat children with Selective Mutism and have joined the organization as a way to learn more about SM and network with other specialty providers. Websites such as FindCounseling.com offers a list of treating professionals by geographic area, as well as a list of professional associations by state who can help identify specialists in your area. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry offers referral resources on their website, aacap.org, allowing you to search for a child psychiatrist. The Anxiety Disorder Association of America is another good online resource to locate a provider, adaa.org as well as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies at abct.org.
  4. Narrow down the options. Once you compile this list of potential doctors, you will want to call and find out more information to help you narrow your choices. Many professionals will offer a brief phone consultation, giving you a chance to speak with them by phone to learn more about their practice, what they do, and their experience with your presenting problem. You will want to know their experience in treating Selective Mutism, how many children they have treated, how many cases were successful, and what treatment methods were used. Questions that may be helpful to you are: What are your areas of expertise? How many cases of SM have you worked with and what were the outcomes? What are your views about why SM manifests in children? What is your treatment approach to SM? What will my role be in the treatment? Will you involve my child’s teacher and school? Make sure you are finding an experienced professional but also one who will be a good fit for your child. Does your child love to draw? Maybe one of the professionals on your list utilizes a lot of creative activities in his or her therapy. This may be something you’d want to factor into your decision.
  5. Make the final selection. You want a treating professional who has worked with a number of SM cases before, had success, and one who will involve you, your child’s teacher and school in the treatment process. Be especially cautious of professionals who view SM as ‘controlling’ or ‘manipulative’ behavior. Recommendations of the use of punishment for not speaking, or attempts to force a child to speak, are inappropriate treatment methods and will only heighten your child’s anxiety. It is OK to set up an initial parent visit (and not bring your child) to see if you like the treating professional, his or her approach and personal style, and determine if this individual may be a good fit for your child. It’s OK to go to an initial appointment and decide that this professional will not be a good fit and go back to your list of options. This is better than starting treatment and not having confidence in your provider, which will only prolong your child’s anxiety.