Personal Constructs of Adolescents with Selective Mutism
Due to the nature of the condition, research into selective mutism has tended towards quantitative analyses or individual case studies. This study aimed to explore the personal experiences of adolescents with selective mutism whilst considering the threats to validity that exist in previous qualitative studies. In a series of case studies (n=6), methods of eliciting data derived from Personal Construct Psychology were employed. Experience Cycle Methodology was used to explore the process of construing, whilst the Repertory Grid Technique enabled an exploration of the structure of construing. It was hoped that these methods might identify obstacles to change and inform appropriate interventions. Results suggested that mutism may be ‘chosen’ because it may enable greater anticipation of their interpersonal relationships than does speaking. Furthermore, there were suggestions that selective mutism may be a way of avoiding possible invalidation. Further research into sociality and systemic discourse was proposed in order to understand this condition further.