Bullying is a serious problem that affects all communities. Some one-third to one-half of all children in America report being bullied at some point during their grade school years (source: americanspcc.org). Feeling unsafe at school can negatively effect self-esteem and academic performance, as well as causing secondary problems like anxiety and depression. Although the bully himself may not be stoppable, bullying can be reduced or even stopped if the target can learn to build emotional boundaries and internal self-esteem.
How can therapy help?
It is important for bullying victims to have a safe and supportive environment to process the variety of painful emotions that can be caused by bullying. Therapists can help victims identify and cope with emotions like shame, anger, anxiety, and a desire to isolate. Additionally, talk therapy can help bullying victims learn interpersonal skills like assertiveness and the enforcement of emotional boundaries. Finally, a therapist can help the patient develop feelings of self-worth that aren’t contingent upon the words or actions of others.