Relationships with peers and family members are often fraught with pain, aggression, fear, and full of joy, love, acceptance and all types of emotional baggage in between. We carry these emotions almost everywhere we go, whether its externally shown, or an internal struggle. In my practice I focus on how relationships are effecting symptoms of anxiety, depression, self-harming and eating disorders. I encourage family members to come in with teens and young adults that are experiencing these issues since support and effective involvement of others creates a healthier environment for the individuals to heal.
Bullying occurs in person and Online
Bullying occurs in schools across the country, both in person and online. It effects the way a teen and/or individual sees themselves. Statics from the Nation Bullying Prevention Center report that "one third of girls and one fourth of boys report weight-based teasing from peers, but prevalence rates increase to approximately 60% among the heaviest students." Individuals who experience bullying have an increased risk for poor school adjustment, sleep difficulties, anxiety, depression, developing a negative body image and disordered eating.
In addition, being a victim of bullying can result in difficult emotions such as anger, depression, shame, anxiety, and isolation. Therapy can help victims of bullying notice, share, and process painful feelings, which left unattended can negatively impact one's personal well-being.
People who bully others may also benefit from therapy, though they may be reluctant to acknowledge their bullying behavior openly. Often times people who are bullying have been bullied in the past and are experiencing low self-esteem.
Therapy Goals for victims and those that Bully
Help clients more past internalizing their role of victim
Identify challenges in one's relationships and one's sense of self
Teach coping skills for moving forward in their social life (i.e. assertive communication and boundary-setting)
Encourage them to begin to understand the impact their hurtful behavior has on others
Explore reasons for why they bully
Learn new skills for communicating positively with others
Address personal experiences that may have contributed to their bullying behavior
Improve self esteem
Identify and work on healing emotional wounds
Group therapy can often benefit
I offer a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Group/Program that has a focus on communication skills, tolerating distress, and regulation of emotions. The group is tailored for teens and young adults who are motivated to learn the evidence based skills that are proven to improve their abilities to make and maintain health relationships. Its important to recognize that emotion regulation and distress tolerance skills are important factors in fostering resiliency in that they teach people how to accept, tolerate, and/or change problematic responses to emotions that, if left unaddressed in adolescence, may grow from a problematic response into dysfunctional patterns of behavior or even into mental disorders. Teaching adolescents core mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance skills provides a context to apply learning and socializing in a safe group environment. Therefore, a DBT skill training class for adolescents appears an effective means to prevention, and widely applicable solution to the continuously growing problem of bullying.