Loss of speech

By Holly Counts, Psy.D.

Q: My friend’s 13yr daughter was raped by 5 males. She spoke to the police after but stopped speaking after that. What is the clinical name for this? I was told it started with a P.. lol, but a lot of things do.

A: I think the term you are looking for is selective mutism, but the child usually still talks to their family. What this teen went through sounds horribly traumatic and I hope first and foremost that they have found her a therapist who specializes in trauma. She may end up with symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, which is technically an anxiety disorder. Please encourage your friend to make sure they pursue therapy for their daughter and they could also benefit from it so they will know how best to support her. They may also look into some local support groups concerning rape and sexual abuse. Good luck.



Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Dec 2006

APA Reference
Counts, H. (2006). Loss of speech. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 30, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/12/30/loss-of-speech/

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