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  • Writer's pictureJodie James

Recognising and Addressing Bullying: How Counselling Can Help

Updated: Aug 3, 2023



In every corner of our society, from playgrounds and schools to workplaces and digital spaces, bullying exists. As an insidious and harmful behaviour that thrives on power imbalance, bullying can inflict significant emotional, psychological, and physical damage on its victims. It can pervade every aspect of a person's life, subtly undermining a person’s self-esteem, confidence, and mental health.


At Jodie James Counselling, we understand the profound impacts of bullying. Through this article, we aim to shed light on the various forms of bullying, particularly within the workplace, the effects it can have on victims, and most importantly, how counselling can help. In the face of the torment caused by bullying, it is crucial to remember that help is always available, and nobody should have to endure such an experience alone.


Recognising and addressing bullying is more than an act of intervention; it's a commitment to creating safer, healthier communities where individuals can thrive free from fear. By gaining insight into the dynamics of bullying and the avenues for support, we can empower victims and instigate necessary changes in our environments.


Recognising Different Types of Bullying


To effectively counteract bullying, it's vital first to understand its varied forms. Bullying exists in different forms, each having its own set of characteristics.


Physical Bullying


Physical bullying is the most blatant form of bullying. It involves actions intended to cause physical harm, such as hitting, punching, or kicking. While this type is commonly associated with schoolyards, it can occur anywhere, including the workplace.


Verbal Bullying


Verbal bullying involves the use of words to degrade, insult, or threaten an individual. It can range from name-calling and abusive language to persistent teasing and belittling remarks. This form of bullying can be overt, such as a public humiliation, or covert, taking place behind the victim's back.


Social or Relational Bullying


This type of bullying involves manipulation of social relationships with the aim to isolate the victim. It could include spreading rumours, encouraging others to exclude or reject someone, or damaging someone's social reputation.


Cyberbullying


Cyberbullying is a contemporary form of bullying that harnesses digital platforms to harass and intimidate. It can include sending threatening messages, spreading rumours online, posting hurtful comments or images, and impersonation.


Workplace Bullying


Workplace bullying is a pervasive form of harassment that occurs in professional settings. It can encompass a range of actions such as persistent criticism, spreading gossip, isolating an employee, or imposing unrealistic work demands.


The Effects of Workplace Bullying


The effects of workplace bullying are far from innocuous and often lead to a deterioration of overall productivity and the erosion of a healthy work culture.


Workplace bullying may manifest in various forms – consistent belittling remarks, intentional exclusion from crucial communication or decision-making processes, unwarranted criticism or blame, constant undermining of performance or withholding of recognition for accomplishments, and even the imposition of unrealistic workloads or deadlines.


The consequences are far-reaching. Workplace bullying triggers stress, anxiety, depression, and a profound loss of self-esteem in victims. The relentless strain can also trigger physical symptoms such as sleep disturbances, digestive troubles, headaches, and an overall decline in health.


The Impact of Bullying


The ramifications of bullying extend beyond the immediate distress. The victim of bullying can experience a plethora of adverse effects, both psychological and physiological, that can significantly impair their quality of life.


Psychological Impact


Psychologically, victims of bullying often grapple with feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, and depression. A sense of dread can overshadow everyday activities, particularly those associated with the environment where the bullying takes place, leading to avoidance behaviours and heightened stress. This can be exacerbated by feelings of isolation, as victims often believe that they are alone in their suffering or fear retribution if they seek help.


The sustained stress can lead to a decrease in cognitive abilities, such as memory and concentration, impacting productivity and performance. Over time, victims might also internalise the negative messages from the bully, leading to a self-perpetuating cycle of diminished self-esteem and self-confidence.


Physiological Impact


The physiological impact of bullying can be just as profound. Persistent stress can contribute to a variety of health issues, ranging from sleep disturbances and changes in appetite to more serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease. It's not uncommon for victims of bullying to report frequent headaches, stomach aches, or other unexplained physical symptoms.


Moreover, the chronic activation of the body's stress response can disrupt various bodily systems and lead to long-term health complications. Prolonged exposure to stress hormones such as cortisol can impair immune function, increase the risk of mental health disorders, and contribute to the onset of chronic diseases.


The effects of bullying underscore the vital need for timely intervention. Here, counselling provides a crucial platform for victims to unpack their experiences, heal from their trauma, and rediscover their inherent worth.


How Counselling Can Help


Compassionate and professional therapists strive to foster an environment that encourages open conversation about your experiences. Through one-on-one counselling for bullying you'll be given the opportunity to express your feelings without fear of judgement. Therapists employ various techniques tailored to individual needs, facilitating the process of unravelling the emotional knots caused by bullying. Bullying can strip away a person's self-esteem and assertiveness. Therapists work to rebuild this essential self-belief, empowering victims to stand up for themselves and regain control of their lives.


Taking the first step towards seeking help is often the most challenging part of the journey. However, remember that you do not have to face this alone. Counselling provides the understanding and support needed to face and overcome the aftermath of bullying. It enables victims to reclaim their self-worth and rebuild their lives.


At Jodie James Counselling Services we can help victims of bullying. Our compassionate and professional approach provides a safe space for healing, recovery, and growth. Remember, it is not just about surviving bullying; it is about thriving in spite of it.


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