- Many workplaces don’t manage workplace bullying effectively as they deny its impact on employees and productivity.
- Whether the bullying has just begun, or you are still at work but coping poorly, or you have been seriously injured by the bullying, you need to seek help from your family doctor, a psychologist who has specific experience in dealing with bullying at work, and sometimes a psychiatrist with similar expertise.
You can speak to your local professional association of psychologists and request someone who is professionally skilled at helping you manage workplace bullying.
- Although the fees for an expert psychologist may appear high, it is far better to consult a skilled psychologist in person or online, as they may help you deal with the bullying far more effectively and in less time and with greater legal rights than someone who is out of touch with the current evidence.
- You will need to learn how to block the bullying behaviours and work out your best options as regards work, legal rights etc. (Refer ‘Bully Blocking At Work ‘) Treatment should take 4-10 sessions on average.
- You may need to consult your therapist for many months or years to recover from the impact of the bullying and subsequent medico-legal hazards.
- Be aware that although there may be specific day or residential clinics for assessing and treating victims of workplace bullying in Germany, Norway, Italy, there are none in USA, Australia, New Zealand, England.
- Consider looking for local bullying associations to provide names of skilled mental health professionals.
Training for therapists working with targets io workplace bullying
- Treating targets of school and workplace bullying are new areas.
- There is no mention of school bullying in the DSM V, the “psychiatrists bible”, but workplace bullying is mentioned at the back of the DSMV. (Pages 723/724)
- Bullying may cause a specific trauma, known as Workplace Bullying Trauma (WBT) which has a different constellation of symptoms to other chronic traumas.
- Bullying is caused by dysfunctional management systems, at school or at work. It is further affected by individual personalities. Thus, treatment issues are complex.
- Bullying causes many individual injuries, including depression, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, physical symptoms, social difficulties and can change personality.
- Thus, the treating practitioner needs to be knowledgeable and skilled in many different areas, understand bullying, provide evidence-based psychoeducation, and be able to provide short and long-term therapy and use a range of treatment options, depending on their clients’ needs.
- Evelyn Field has worked as a therapist for many years and provides full day training for therapists in treating targets of school bullying or workplace bullying, they have been approved by the Australian Psychological Society, and can be used for professional development.
- You can contact Evelyn for advice on how to find a suitable therapist or develop suitable training to work in this area.
- Refer books on workplace bullying by Evelyn M Field OAM, FAPS
Workplace Bullying Checklist
Evelyn’s workplace bullying checklist is based upon the DSMV, the Breslau Scale
( https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1176/ajp.156.6.908) and common WBT symptoms. It has been used effectively for many years in writing legal reports, it provides validation, and has been presented internationally. If you would like to use Evelyn’s symptom checklist then email her,
“Diagnosis and treatment, repairing injuries caused by workplace bullying.”
Evelyn Field OAM, (lead author), Dr Patricia Ferris, (corresponding author), in
” Workplace Bullying. Dignity and Inclusion at Work, in Handbook of Workplace Bullying, Emotional Abuse and Harassment, Springer. (2019)
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this paper.
According to Premilla D’cruz, this is “ A very unique and first of its kind chapter in the field, and hence will make a very important and unparalleled contribution.”
“The recent evidence around workplace bullying demonstrates that although some employees avoid injury, others can be injured for months or years. In addition to the injuries experienced as a consequence of workplace bullying, when a target’s request for safety, validation or compensation is denied, their symptoms can be exacerbated further. Thus injured targets develop many different, symptoms of anxiety, depression and trauma.
In this chapter we have tried to summarize some of the basic issues in understanding why some employees are injured, why they require immediate validation, safety and restorative solutions, under the guidance of responsible, respectful management. When targets fail to receive these interventions, they may become further injured and require skilled psychological intervention.
Although currently there are no specific diagnoses or evidence-based treatments for workplace bullying, we have tried to incorporate current therapeutic thinking and practice towards creating an expanded framework for understanding, diagnosis, treatment and further research for bullied targets. Consequently, we synthesized different psychological approaches towards diagnosis and treatment, and identified some key processes in any treatment plan. We have also highlighted the three core therapeutic approaches, namely, psycho-education, goal-based therapies and process therapy, which we believe are essential. We have also acknowledged some of the challenges that therapists encounter in practice.
It is essential to recognize that an effective treatment plan is dependent upon bullied workers’ physical health and emotional well-being needs being managed by their family doctor and a trained mental health team, to help them regain confidence and return to work. As awareness of the need for early therapeutic intervention grows, hopefully many more bullied clients will receive effective treatment earlier, return to work and rebuild their lives. This may be facilitated by changing the typically adversarial manner in which experiences of workplace bullying are generally treated to more collaborative, respectful diagnostic and treatment approaches.
Ultimately the diagnosis of the bullied target’s injuries depends upon their symptoms, personal factors and current stressors. Although the therapist may feel external pressure to apply a plethora of modern brief clinical techniques to treat the bullied person, the therapist should focus upon the core essence of a safe, healing-enriched therapeutic relationship, while integrating appropriate goal-oriented therapies and psycho-education to empower their client to rebuild their life.
In contrast, with severely injured longer-term targets of workplace bullying trauma, there is even less evidence of effective treatment, thus the fundamental role of a therapist is to help them manage their trauma and restructure their life. This involves repeatedly witnessing their client’s traumatic experiences, validating their painful emotions, listening to their perceptions of the stressful significant events in a safe environment, assisting them to confront their subsequent struggles and find meaning in their traumatic experiences and in the subsequent lengthy process find the support and skills to reconstruct their life. While we base this upon our clinical experience, clearly there is a need for more clinical research on effective treatment.”