Treating selective mutism using modular CBT for child anxiety: a case study

Erin T. Reuther, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.
Thompson E. Davis
Brittany N. Moree
Johnny L. Matson


Selective mutism is a rare, debilitating condition usually seen in children. Unfortunately, there is little research examining effective treatments for this disorder, and designing an evidence-based treatment plan can be difficult. This case study presents the evidence-based treatment of an 8-year-old Caucasian boy with selective mutism using an established treatment for anxiety--Modular Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Childhood Anxiety Disorders (Chorpita, 2007). The treatment consisted of 21 sessions and included modules on psychoeducation, exposure, cognitive restructuring, social skills, and maintenance and relapse prevention. The client's symptoms were greatly improved by the end of treatment based on fear hierarchy ratings, self-report and parent-report questionnaires, and child and parent clinical interviews. In addition, at discharge the client no longer met criteria for selective mutism. Improvements were maintained when the client was reassessed at 1-month and 6-month follow-up appointments.