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Mom of 18 yr old with Selective Mutism and Avoidance Person

Asked By: Anonymous     Views: 1,080 times

I'm the mother of an 18 yr old who recently graduated HS. His life is at a stand still now, he doesn't want to get a job or go to college or even get his driver's license. I recently took him to a pyschologist for two sessions (by bribing him) but he didn't speak at all for either session and she didn't seem to know what to do with him. He doesn't want to see anyone else becuase "it won't work". I've bought him books and given him websites to look at but he refuses. He has two friends, but doesn't see them often. I've tried setting timelines for him, but it hasn't worked. Do I set ultimatums? How do I get him to want to get help or get motivated to work on this and to set small goals?  He recently expressed interest in piano lessons which I am looking in to. I'm hoping he won't back out of it.  Any advice?

My advice is that you (the parents) develop an understanding of the degree of your son's "primitive" functioning so that you can let go of any unrealistic expectations. Very sadly, the anxiety has taken over his life and has evolved into an avoidant personality. "Primitive" means "spending as little energy as possible to sustain baseline functioning". A characteristic of this is his lack of initiative and motivation to heal. Therefore; parents need to learn a therapeutic methodology of empowering as well as non-enabling. It takes hard work due to the degree of resistance present. Please be very careful about my reference to "methodology". Hit or miss approaches make the problem worse. Expecting that one to one therapy for him would be productive is an example of unrealistic expectations because he does not have the motivation to heal. In addition, he probably would not present reality to the therapist. This is why it's imperative for parents to integrated into treatment when the focus is the resistant adult.

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