Shyness Logophobia Mutism: Diagnosis and Therapy


Zbigniew Tarkowski
Head of Department of Pathology and Rehabilitation of Speech, Medical University of Lublin, Poland

Ewa Humeniuk
Department of Pathology and Rehabilitation of Speech, Medical University of Lublin, Poland

Series: Speech and Language Disorders
BISAC: MED105000
DOI: 10.52305/FXOX7452

Terms such as shyness, logophobia and mutism overlap, and boundaries between them are unfixed and blurred. Until now they have, for the most part, been described separately; in our book, we point out the relationship among them. There are many individuals who are shy, and some of them experience communication anxiety, which is present with individuals diagnosed with mutism. It is easier to understand mutism when shyness and logophobia have been explained first. Such an approach has influenced the structure of our monograph.

We begin this treatise with the definition of shyness and an attempt to distinguish it from similar phenomena, which is not an easy task. The task resembles forcing one’s way through a densely tangled underbrush of terminology. We focus on the development of shyness, especially in children, and on the social and communicative functioning of shy individuals. We also wonder if, and to what extent, shyness can constitute a criterion for diagnosis of mental disorders.

In our monograph, we recall the old definition of logophobia because of its relevance and high usability. We describe it in the context of similar emotions, such as social anxiety, communication anxiety and stage fright and make an attempt to systematize these definitions. We also present our own concept of logophobia being an important element of voice and speech disorders (aphasia, psychogenic aphonia, stuttering).

The fundamental part of our monograph concerns mutism. We start from an analysis of the nature and role of its basic symptom, which is muteness. We draw on the opinions of representatives of different fields, who have still not decided which is gold and which is silver: silence or speech. Both phenomena occur in different combinations in selective mutism, about which is decidedly more written than about total mutism. It is to be kept in mind that the latter type of disorder does also occur. We are nonetheless focusing on selective mutism, which comes in distinctive types (situational, anxiety-based, traumatic, oppositional). We provide an overview of various treatment strategies (behavioral approach, behavioral-cognitive approach, family approach, pharmacological approach, mixed approach) and we present our own therapeutic method. It is adjusted to the type of selective mutism and implemented in different conditions (office, therapeutic facility, a child’s family home, kindergarten, school). We also present a model for evaluating therapy effectiveness of mutism and summarize the results of research conducted in this field up to the present time. The monograph closes with a presentation of case studies of selective mutism prepared by Polish therapists.
(Imprint: Nova Medicine and Health)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Section 1: Shyness

Chapter 1. Definition of Shyness

Chapter 2. What Shyness is Not

Chapter 3. Epidemiology and Development of Shyness

Chapter 4. Components of Shyness

Chapter 5. Social Functioning of Shy People

Chapter 6. The Meaning of Shyness

Section 2: Logophobia

Chapter 1. Logophobia and Similar Emotions

Chapter 2. Logophobia

Chapter 3. An Attempt to Systematize Anxious Behavior

Chapter 4. Anxiety vs. Speech and Voice Disorders

Section 3: Mutism

Chapter 1. Semantics of Silence

Chapter 2. Mutism and its Types

Chapter 3. Selective Mutism

Chapter 4. Diagnosis of Mutism

Chapter 5. Strategies for the Treatment of Selective Mutism

Chapter 6. Treatment of Selective Mutism by the Tarkowski Method

Chapter 7. Case Studies



“The work by Zbigniew Tarkowski and Ewa Humeniuk is devoted to mutism, a disorder that is heterogeneous in terms of its clinical manifestations and of even more complex etiology. The authors made an effort to examine the phenomena related to mutism that are complementary to it and partly explain its complexity. A great deal of the study is concerned with the notion of shyness and logophobia, the phenomena that outstandingly explain the genesis of mutism”…READ MOREProfessor Waldemar Tłokiński

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