Although selective mutism (SM) is often considered an early childhood disorder, there is a subset of the population whose SM persists into adolescence. In general, developmental factors in teenagers (e.g., the need for autonomy, denying/minimizing challenges) can hinder motivation and treatment success. Therefore, strategies (e.g., goal-setting, motivational interviewing, collaboration) have been recommended to help motivate and engage adolescents in treatment.
The nature of selective mutism poses challenges to implementing such strategies. Most techniques that target motivation involve a dialogue between the clinician and adolescent, which is typically unattainable at the onset of SM treatment. Therefore, it is necessary to utilize alternate strategies that will motivate adolescents with SM to engage in the intervention.
This webinar for professionals will elucidate the “whys” and “hows” of enhancing treatment motivation and engagement among adolescents with SM. The discussion will include specific and practical strategies that are grounded in theory and research, yet adapted for this population who are minimally if at all verbal in the beginning of treatment.
Presenter: Shelley Avny, PhD is a clinical psychologist specializing in the assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents, and sub-specializing in selective mutism (SM). Prior to founding the Child & Adolescent Anxiety Practice (CAAP) in Manhattan, NY, Dr. Avny served as a training director and SM program director. She also developed WeSpeak – the first behavioral group intensive for pre-teens and teens with SM. Dr. Avny provides trainings and consultations to disseminate SM information and effective intervention.
Moderator: Dr. Alison Miller is a Licensed Psychologist in Baltimore, MD. She owns a group practice specializing in anxiety disorders in children and adolescents, with particular emphasis on providing individual and group treatment to youth with selective mutism. Dr. Miller has served on the Board of Directors for the Selective Mutism Association and speaks to various audiences both locally and nationally regarding selective mutism and anxiety disorders in general.
This webinar was made possible by a generous grant from the Gordon and Marilyn Macklin Foundation, Inc.