Treatment: School bullying

  • Bullying can cause physical, psychosocial, social and personality injuries for targets, victims, bullies, bystanders and families.
  • Recent brain research demonstrates that school bullying can injure the brain i.e. change a child's epigenetic structure.
  • The sooner you obtain treatment the better, don’t wait for months or years.
  • Even if you go to court later, some symptoms will never heal.
  • Some clients can get health fund rebates, managed health care plan (Medicare, Australia) or Workcover to subside their treatment. Some can deduct sessions as being work related.

School bullying

  • If the school is not able to protect your child, consult your family doctor, speak to your local professional association of psychologists and request someone who is professionally skilled at helping children and adolescents deal with bullying.
  • Treatment is quick and takes around six sessions on average.
  • Treatment should help them deal with their distress and powerlessness, teach them how to block bullies and rebuild their social survival skills in order that they are not bullied again and can join a nice social group.
  • Avoid anyone who tells your child "Walk away, do nothing, tell them to stop". There is no evidence this works (just ask your child). Besides, you would not tell them to walk away from a bear!
  • Remember that there is more bullying out of school once they leave, thus all children require these life survival skills.

Training for therapists

  • Treating targets of bullying is a new area.
  • There was no mention of bullying in the DSM IV, the "psychiatrists bible", or the DSM V, apart from "discord with peers"! One wonders who in the school bullying, child and adolescent psychiatry and paediatric communities worldwide did not realise that school bullying can have a very serious impact on a young person's psychological health. However, the DSM V does mention workplace bullying, exclusion, ostracism so we can assume the same applies to children.
  • Clearly the child psychology and child psychiatry experts, academics and practioners didn't think school bullying was a major issue, despite the numbers of children who are seriously injured and self-harm.
  • Bullying is caused by dysfunctional systems, at school. It is further affected by individual personalities. Thus treatment issues are complex.