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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2336
Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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My grand daughter was diagnosed with selective mutism as a

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My grand daughter was diagnosed with selective mutism as a child. Now 21 she has trouble in social situations. How does this manifest itself in adulthood?
Thank you for writing in JustAnswer.
I'm sorry to hear about your granddaughter's situation.
Let me ask you a few questions first.
Does she have any trauma in childhood?
Does she have any medical condition?
How do you describe her current difficulty in social situations?

Please let me know by clicking on “Reply” and I will then craft my response.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Warm Regards,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Does not interact well with strangers. Has had retail jobs but leaves them. She is very attractive and has had many boyfriends, but as soon as they say or do something she doesn't like she terminates the relationship. Her father was very shy as a child and is not very social.Does not seem to try to work her way through problems--just walks away.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Where are you? I have not received a response.
Hi there
I was offline due to other duties today.
I'll be back with my answer soon.
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/anxiety.
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 ( 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,
Dr. Olsen and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you