In this paper, following a literature review a family containing a child who had been electively mute for four years is described. A concurrent programme of individual and family therapy and the systemic hypothesis which guided these interventions is then presented in detail. Behavioural and psychometric data are presented to illustrate the dramatic improvement which the identified patient showed over the course of treatment. Finally, the probable mechanisms underpinning the child's improvement, and how these differed from our initial expectations, are discussed
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