Brave Buddies Program

Brave Buddies℠ is an intensive group behavioral treatment program designed to help children 3-12 years old with selective mutism (SM) speak in school and other public places. We create a classroom-like setting that offers children a safe environment to practice verbal participation, or what we call “brave talking.” In the classroom, we provide ample speaking opportunities and we tailor speaking goals to the individual needs of the child, to target things like presenting, spontaneous speech, larger group interactions and community exposures. Our counselors are highly trained in adapted PCIT, which is the treatment we use to help with brave talking. Parent training is an integral part of Brave Buddies. Brave Buddies is offered as a multi-day intensive program twice a year, and as one-day sessions several times throughout the year. We have a special curriculum for the older children (8 and older) who participate in the program, which incorporate CBT strategies, such as education about anxiety, mindfulness and goal setting.

During the COVID pandemic, we have adapted our program to the virtual format. We have made modification to this program, so we can appropriately meet your child’s needs.

“Brave Buddies exceeded our expectations. By the end of the week our daughter had the confidence to order her own food, initiate conversations with her new friends, and even present in front of an audience!”

All Stories

Upcoming Dates


Wednesday, July 14 – Friday, July 16, 2021

Registration is currently open for this 3-day, fully virtual program for children aged 3-12. Each child will participate in two 75-minute groups with a short break in between. The program is structured like a virtual classroom environment with activities that include morning meeting, peer-to-peer interactions, and presentation/show and share. Parent training is part of the multi-day program and a 15-minute feedback call is included.

Cost: $1200

Full payment is required to reserve a space in the July program.


Monday, August 2 Friday, August 6

Location: Trevor Day School 1 West 88th Street New York, NY

Registration is currently open for this 5-day program for children aged 3-12. For the in-person program, children participate from 9AM-2PM daily. Parent training will also be daily but will be virtual.

Please note, we will be accepting fewer children into the program this year, in order to comply with New York State and New York City guidelines on cohorts. Each class will be smaller and children will be in a ratio of two children to one counselor. We will be adhering to New York State social distancing guidelines during the program. Groups will be separated into distinct pods in order to reduce the chances of COVID-19 infection. If a staff member or child has a positive COVID-19 test result, their pod will be required to quarantine for the amount of time specified by the state at the time the program is running. If this occurs, the program will be offered virtually during the period of quarantine for that pod.

Lead-in sessions will be virtual this year and are billed separately. These sessions can include peer-to-peer or small group sessions. A 15-minute feedback session is included in the cost of the program.

Cost: $3,000

A 50% deposit is required to reserve a space in the program for August 2021. The balance is due by June 1, 2021.

At this point in time, our team is hopeful and optimistic that we will be able to run an in-person program. We will be following state guidelines and recommendations closely and will make a final decision by June 1st. In the case that we are unable to run an in-person program, we will offer a virtual option.


  • Five-day in person session: $3,000
  • Three-day virtual program: $1,200

Parent training sessions are included in the program fee.


Children diagnosed with selective mutism (SM) between the ages of three and twelve are invited to join Brave Buddies. Multi-day programs are open to current, former and new patients who have been determined to be eligible by the clinical team at the Child Mind Institute. All children should be toilet-trained and able to make it through the 5-hour program without nap time. We offer a number of treatment options for children not eligible for Brave Buddies. Read more about our Selective Mutism Service.

To apply, please contact our intake team at (212) 308-3118 or email

Important Information

  • Lead-in sessions improve the likelihood of your child’s success in the program, and they are also considered a crucial part of Brave Buddies. Lead-in sessions are conducted prior to the first day of the five-day program. Depending on the specific needs of your child, the lead-in may be a single session or it may be multiple sessions completed over consecutive days just prior to the beginning of training. These will be virtual this year.

Cancellation Policy

  • Multi-day programs: If a participant cannot attend a multi-day program and a Brave Buddies coordinator is notified within 30 days prior to the start date of the program, a refund will be issued, excluding a $300 non-refundable deposit for administrative fees. If less than 30 days’ notification is given, no refund will be provided.
  • No refunds will be issued if the August program moves to a virtual format once the program has started.

COVID Safety

To learn more, please read our COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Our Team

Rachel Busman, PsyD
Rachel Busman, PsyD, ABPP

Senior Director, Anxiety Disorders Center; Director, Selective Mutism Service

Child Mind Institute

Janine Domingues, PhD
Janine Domingues, PhD

Manager of Curriculum Development and Professional Training, School and Community Programs, Clinical Psychologist, Anxiety Disorders Center

Child Mind Institute

Greenspan Amanda CMI
Amanda Greenspan, LCSW

Clinical Social Worker, Anxiety Disorders Center

Child Mind Institute

Gudz Alisa CMI
Alisa Gudz, MSW

Behavioral Technician, Anxiety Disorders Center

Child Mind Institute

Michelle S. Kaplan, LCSW
Michelle S. Kaplan, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker, School and Community Programs, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, ADHD and Behavior Disorders Center

Child Mind Institute

Amanda G. Mintzer, PsyD
Amanda G. Mintzer, PsyD

Clinical Psychologist, Anxiety Disorders Center

Child Mind Institute

Mitrani Paul CMI
Paul Mitrani, MD, PhD

Clinical Director; Senior Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Child Mind Institute

Schwartz Stephanie CMI
Stephanie Schwartz, PsyD

Clinical Psychologist, Anxiety Disorders Center

Child Mind Institute

Natalie Weder, MD
Natalie Weder, MD

Senior Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Child Mind Institute

Zoloth Emma
Emma Zoloth, PsyD

Clinical Psychologist, Anxiety Disorders Center, Mood Disorders Center

Child Mind Institute