I am sorry to hear about your grand daughter’s situation.
It sounds like she may have social anxiety
as she does not interact well with strangers and has difficulty maintaining relationships.
You stated your grand daughter was diagnosed as having selective mutism. Also, her father was
very shy as a child and is not very social. She also states her inability to trust comes from her repressed childhood.
Most experts believe that most children with selective mutism have some form of extreme social phobia
Some affected children have a family history of selective mutism, extreme shyness, or anxiety disorders.
This social anxiety can continue into adolescence and adulthood, though it may not be a severe form of social anxiety.
Your grand daughter may be genetically vulnerable to social anxiety as her father may have it.
Does she have any trauma in childhood? If so, that may have caused or contributed to her condition in childhood and adulthood.
Social anxiety disorder symptoms include:
1. Intense fear of interacting with strangers
2. Fear of situations in which you may be judged
3. Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
4. Fear that others will notice that you look anxious
5. Anxiety that disrupts your daily routine, work, school or other activities
6. Avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment
7. Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention
8. Difficulty making eye contact
9. Difficulty talking
Social anxiety disorder may be caused by genetic, brain chemistry or structure, or past negative social experiences in childhood. You stated that her father exhibits shyness. Shyness is not the same as social anxiety disorder. If her father has social anxiety, her anxiety may have to do with inherited traits as Anxiety disorders tend to run in families.
I understand she’s tried counseling. It sounds like counseling is not helping her much.
But, she may benefit from seeing a psychologist specializing in Cognitive-Behavior therapy (CBT). CBT is a most effective therapy for social anxiety. She can learn a variety of anxiety management techniques when she encounters anxiety provoking social situations.
There are several ways to find a psychologist who takes her insurance.
She can call her insurance company and get a list of providers in her area.
Or, she can search a licensed psychologist specializing in social anxiety and CBT on internet- such as the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website. Go to (http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/ppc/prof_search.php?iorb=4764) and enter her zip code and optional category of specialty such as social anxiety. Read psychotherapists’ profile to see if he or she specializes in Cognitive-behavior therapy. She may also want to create her mental image of psychotherapist that she wants to work with – Male or female? To note, many therapists offer initial consultation for free. So she can see it as an informational meeting. She can ask any question. You can also negotiate psychotherapy fee and number of sessions.
Please let me know if you have more questions or I have overlooked any. Warm regards,