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Bullying Counseling and Treatment

Bullying Counseling and Treatment

Bullying can be in many forms ranging from physical bullying, verbal, cyber such as social media to social bullying. Cyberbullying has been on the rise in recent years. Online bullies are just as real as face-to-face ones. The victims of cyberbullying should also be encouraged to seek support. Though mostly we see young people being impacted by bullying. However, anyone can face bullying at any point in their life. Regardless of the type of bullying faced, there are things that we can do to address the situation such as seeking counseling and getting treatment.

Bullying can impact everyone differently. In young people, It has a higher chance of affecting the victim’s self-esteem negatively resulting in low self-esteem, productivity at work or school, and increased tendency to isolate to avoid bullying in the future. It can be frustrating to experience bullying and it can make the victim wonder why they are being targeted. Bullies can target many things such as gender, race, appearance, and even sexual identity. Though usually they are deterred if not given a reaction.

Bullying can impact people from different races, gender, and age groups. Victims may feel like they are alone but you are not alone! You can reach out for support using outlets like counseling, therapy, support from peers or supervisors. It is also helpful to seek a supportive environment to vent and make sense of the situation. You can also connect to a listener to talk about your experience. Moreover, bullying symptoms can be emotional and physical and range from changes in sleep patterns, appetite, appearance, and productivity level. A psychotherapist or a counselor can help you by working with you to come up with a support plan to address the bullying behavior and heal from the wounds.

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What are the Effects?

The effects of bullying are not just limited to the person who is bullied. It impacts the bully and those who are seeing the bullying. This article will focus on the effects of bullying for the person experiencing bullying. The effects can differ from person to person but generally, they include but are not limited to a lack of self-esteem, trouble focusing in school or at work, feeling like you are not good enough. It is important that the person experiencing bullying gets professional support in the form of psychotherapy or counseling to help restore mental wellbeing. If the symptoms are ignored, they may worsen and the bullied person can experience anxiety, depression, changes in sleep pattern, and feeling of loneliness among other issues.

Why am I Being Made Fun Of?

It can be frustrating when one is being made fun of or bullied in any way. Aggressive behavior can be a result of many factors. Bullies can pick on appearance, religion, race, social group, and even sexual identity. You can even encounter bullies on social media sites that pick on the same. This can make the bullied person feel self-conscious and wonder why they are the target. However, the reason holds little value when it comes to addressing bullying. It is important to understand that the bullies feed on the reaction they get. They want you to get frustrated and feel bad about the thing that is being made fun of. They will usually lose interest if they are not getting a reaction. It is important to acknowledge that you are not the problem, whatever part of you/your identity they are making fun of has nothing to do with you but everything to do with their own beliefs and insecurities.

You’re Not Alone

In the United States of America, 20.2% of students (1 out of every 5) reported being bullied (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019 ). Sometimes bullying may be labelled as something that happens to everyone especially in a school or work setting but you don’t have to tolerate it. It is not acceptable behavior. You also don’t have to tackle bullying alone. If you are being bullied, please do reach out for support. Most schools have counselors that can help address bullying, otherwise you can reach out to an adult such as a guardian or a teacher to discuss the situation and seek support in addressing it. In the work space, you can reach out and report bullying to a supervisor or HR. It is also recommended to seek professional support if needed. You can reach out to a psychotherapist to help you heal from the bullying and to learn how to react in such situations. Seeking treatment can be daunting but can help.

Healing From the Wounds

It is possible to heal from the wounds caused by bullying. The first step is to prevent bullying from happening again so you can get started on your healing journey. You can do so by reaching out for support as mentioned above. A counselor, teacher, guardian, colleague, manager etc can help provide valuable advice. Reaching out to an expert can be helpful such as a therapist focusing on bullying. It is important to be gentle with yourself and understand that the experience has been stressful for you and that it may take time to completely heal. You can start by finding an outlet to express your emotions and feelings such as a 7 Cups listener or a psychotherapist. It really makes a difference to be able to talk about your feelings in a safe and supportive environment. Then you can move on to creating a support plan with your chosen support person. This can include things like self-care activities and therapy sessions.

What are the Physical Symptoms

While most of the symptoms of bullying appear to be psychological, there still are a few physical symptoms to look out for. The physical symptoms are generally easier to detect when paid attention. Bullied people may experience a lack of sleep, changes in appetite, eating more than usual, or losing appetite. Prolonged periods of bullying can result in a decline in productivity in school or the workplace. The bullied person may also have a hard time keeping up with the social life and starts to lose interest in things that once were loved. Physical symptoms are not just limited to the person. You may also notice a loss in belongings such as broken technology or torn textbooks. Additionally, in physical cases of bullying, there may be bruises or torn clothes.

Dealing with Being Bullied Through Psychotherapy

Being a victim of bullying can create feelings of isolation, anxiety, and even depression. These emotions can be intense and overwhelming. It is important to address these emotions and find a way to better support the mental health of the victim. If left untreated, the mental health may decline and start to impact the day-to-day life of the bullied person. A study conducted on the effectiveness of counseling focusing on cognitive processing therapy found that counseling significantly improved the participants' self-concept, concluding that counseling helped in the matter (Tawalbeh et. al., 2015). The participants of the study were 13-year-old students. Therefore expert help matters especially if you have tried other venues. A psychotherapist or counselor can help you with the formation of a treatment or support plan to address issues that resulted from the bullying faced. Their advice can be really helpful in recovery and at times prevention of bullying.

Featured Contributors

Jamie Rautenberg, LCSW

Jamie is a licensed clinical social worker and holistic life coach with 10 years of experience blending her background in the arts with her education to best meet her clients needs.

Kathy Wenzel

Kathy is the editor of a leading regional publication in Michigan with personal experience with and a passion for mental health issues.