Documented Clinical Success Since 1978
Lynn was told that her clingy, selectively mute (for 3 years) six-year-old daughter, would grow out of it”. After parenting therapy via telephone “it’s a whole new world”.
Dad said their 7 year old is “100%” cured. Mom said “99%”.
Processing with 7 year old. Helping the SM child identify thoughts and feelings.
Selective Mutism: Teaching Parents to be “Therapists”
Delia describes her son “broke the glass door” that trapped her son verbally.
“Mike”, a 35-year old with SM and social anxiety describes his “avoidance of talking” because he thought “he had nothing to say” and his process of his healing.
Note from a 9 yr. Old
View 2 hrs + of state of the art and science treatment for selective mutism.
- A Child’s Silent Scream
- Mental Health Issues for the SM Child Within School Setting
- Selective Mutism: Clinical Issues for School Personnel
- A 13 year-old with SM was beaten up in day camp
- Thoughts about Adult Selective Mutism
- The Selective Mutism – Public Speaking Anxiety Paradigm
- The Clinical Reality of Social Anxiety
- When Public Speaking is an Anxiety Disorder
Self Help and Treatment Options
- Free Introductory CD
- “Social Anxiety the Untold Story”: Comprehensive Self-Help for Sufferers and Families
- The book, “Beyond Shyness: How to Conquer Social Anxieties” (Simon & Schuster)
- Therapy worldwide via telephone or Skype
- Therapy in Great Neck, New York Office
- Selective Mutism Seminar on Audio CD
- “Parenting The Selectively Mute Child”: Self-therapy Audio CD Program
- Free social-ability questionnaire
- Subscribe to the Tip of the Month Club
- Free “Parent Addiction” quiz
- AskJonathan: Get your questions about social anxiety answered
- Selective mutism is a social anxiety disorder characterized by not speaking to specific people or in specific venues. It is a specific variation of obsessive compulsive disorder. “Obsessive” refers to the conscious and non-conscious worrying. “Compulsive” refers to the verbal shutdown. The problem varies in degrees of severity. In addition to children many adolescents and adults are affected.
- The condition is relatively easy to diagnose. If you know that the individual can speak normally but refuses to do so in specific situations, selective mutism is present. To rule out other disorders, however, it is important to assess if “processing” challenges are present.
- Selective mutism is not a speech disorder. Speech therapy and traditional individual therapy for the child are in fact typically non-productive.
- Selective mutism can be considered an “addiction” to the avoidance of speaking, or a phobia of speaking.
- Selective mutism in childhood is an example of social phobia as anxiety has resulted in verbal avoidance in performance scenarios.
- If not addressed and corrected, Selective mutism can cause avoidant and dependent personality disorders. Anxiety worsens with time as it integrates insidiously into the personality.
- Productive treatment is primarily based on a multi-dimensional methodology founded on “empowering” parenting. In most cases, for school interventions to be successful, re-parenting strategies must be in effect at home and working. If not, there is much potential for “fragmentation” of care-giving which worsens the problem.
- The biggest mistake made regarding selective mutism in children is the belief that “the child will grow out of the problem”.
- The second biggest mistake is the incorrect use of medication, which typically worsens the problem.
- There are very few therapists anywhere in the world who have demonstrated clinical productivity and expertise for treating this condition.
The Berent Method: High Performance Therapy for Selective Mutism
Jonathan Berent, L.C.S.W. has treated over 10,000 individuals of all ages with social anxiety. This includes countless numbers of SM sufferers of all ages. He has been featured extensively in the media including the first selective mutism segment on national television in 1988.
Treatment integrates both “technique” and “core” work. The therapeutic objective is to resolve the core issues as SM is both social phobia and a specific variation of OCD.
Treatment for SM children is parent-based. Parents learn an empowering strategy and are, in essence, taught, by Jonathan, to be the therapists. This process is based on the clinical reality that parents typically have much more influence with the child than a therapist.
Parents are presented with a dynamic and multi-dimensional perspective of the problem and are oriented to the domains of behavior, cognition, emotion, and physiology.
The next step is parent team building. Parents identify the pattern of “enabling” that is present and then learn a methodical, step by step methodology of “empowering”. This includes the learning of non-enabling behavioral strategies concurrent with a “processing” methodology; the goal of which is to help the child identify thoughts and feelings.
After certain levels of therapeutic success are attained, the empowering strategy is attempted to be integrated into the classroom setting. Pharmaceutical intervention is as needed.
Jonathan has pioneered psychotherapy for social anxiety, public speaking anxiety, selective mutism, and performance anxiety since 1978. He has worked with thousands of individuals of all ages in individual, family, and group therapy. He is the author of “Beyond Shyness: How to Conquer Social Anxieties” (Simon & Schuster) and “Work Makes Me Nervous: Overcome Anxiety and Build the Confidence to Succeed” (John Wiley &Sons, Inc.) Jonathan is an expert in media performance having been featured extensively on television, radio, and in print. This experience includes Oprah, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, FOX, The New York Times, Newsday, The Chicago Tribune, and The Boston Globe.
Listen to him on WFAN SPORTS RADIO. Jonathan has extensively researched and developed clinical programs for the avoidant and dependent personality. He is a “diplomate” in clinical social work and is certified in New York State. In addition, he is certified by The Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback.
To view Jonathan Berent‘s pioneering work with Social Phobia, view the 1988 Sally Jessy Rafael Show by clicking here. To view jonathan talking about Workplace Anxiety on Long Island News Jobline, click here.