Bullying is an intentional, targeted and unwanted negative behaviour which is repeated against a person who has difficulty in defending him/her/their self. This is according to the Irish Department of Education and Skills. As a result there is usually a power imbalance – e.g. where the bully is perhaps, stronger, has more power or authority, etc.

There are different types of bullying, some which can be more subtle than others. For instance it can be

Bullying can happen anywhere. It can occur face-to-face or it can happen by phone or online (i.e. cyber bullying). In many cases a person may bully another in order to cover up their own inadequacies.

Bullying can be traumatic. It can happen in the present, or indeed it can leave a long-standing and deep impression or emotional scar in the long-term.

Emotional Impact of Bullying

Physical Impact of Bullying

How counselling and psychotherapy can help with bullying

With immediate and proper mental health treatment and support systems in place, victims can stave off some of the potential long-term consequences of bullying. A counsellor or therapist can assist an individual to understand that their adult perspective on the bullying should be vastly different and more logical than their child perspective. It can also help a bullied survivor to understand that they have given up enough of their personal power. As the survivor has likely internalised the bully’s words or hatred, they may have lost the ability to see their self-worth.

There can be a lot of work in trying to closing the wounds left by bullying. With a therapist or counsellor’s help, the survivor hopefully learns, with baby steps, to love and validate themselves.

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