Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the Victims of Bullying
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Bullying is more or less an evil that most people know about and somehow view it as a part of the schooling process. In its definition and practice, bullying involves the systematic and continued undermining of a person by means of their perceived weaknesses (MacNair-Semands, 2010). The explosion of information technology has brought bullying to ever greater heights. In the past, a child bullied at school could find solace at home after school and during weekends. However, presently because of the information technology particularly social media, the act of bullying at school can be immortalized online to the severe distress of the individual involved. Besides, this is called cyber-bullying, which is a source of major concern to all stakeholders. Therefore, applying the cognitive behavioral therapy victims can acquire skills that will help them deal with bullying and the trauma caused by it.
Bullying at School
The cognitive process therapy for the victims of bullying will be the basis for this paper. In the United States, several incidences have occurred, which are attributed to bullying, has resulted in nationwide concern. A prime example is the Columbine High School massacre of April 1999. In this incident, two students having articulately planned the whole event took firearms to school where they proceeded to kill 12 students, a teacher, injured 21 other people prior to committing suicide (Green, 2013). From this case, it is evident that after the victims had reached their limits and gad found themselves tired of feeling helpless and powerless, they decided to hit back at the very community that was the source of their misery. The result was a violent school shoot-out.
Most acts of bullying tend to occur during the adolescent years. The problem with such an eventuality is that their effects are evident throughout the life in the form of esteem issues even in adulthood (Ackerman, 2017). Being a minority can make one easily the prey of bullies; however, the fact that bullying covers all aspects ranging from race to socio-cultural backgrounds means that no person should consider bullying as a problem of other people. Moreover, it was estimated that the prevalence of bullying is such that 1 in every 3 students experiences bullying mostly in the high school, and victims of bullying are twice as likely to carry and use a loaded weapon at school (“Prevention at school”, 2017).
Bullying involves the depriving an individual of power. The victim feels weak and ostracized, and that results in them acting out to regain their power. The only means available most times is the use of violence. For those who do not react aggressively, the scars left if not attended become burdens that they carry for the rest of their lives. Thus, such burdens are manifested in the form of self-esteem issues in future. Turner (2008) reveals that the victims are more likely to resort to the backlash later either at the workplace or in their marriages.
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Cognitive Behavior Therapy
In reference to the study on cognitive processing therapy for PTSD, the reason as to why cognitive therapy would apply to the victims of bullying is that it concentrates on the current situations and solutions aimed at solving the predicament at hand (Veterans Health Administration, 2014). In its application, cognitive behavioral therapy involves four main points of attrition, namely focusing on the way a person acts, focusing on the way the individual feels and conducts themselves, focusing on how people think by regarding the perspectives of their environment, as well as focusing on how to eliminate victim mentality, and finally learning to deal with situations as they occur, no matter whether they are physical, mental or emotional.
According to the study conducted by Soltani, Ahghar and Asadzadeh (2013), that was based on a closed group of high school female students, in its application, cognitive behavioral therapy necessitates that the client acquires and develops skills that will enable them to handle various situations in their lives. The research group was used as a representation of adolescents given that most of them are actively conscious of themselves and how they are viewed by their peers. It is such a realization that makes an act of bullying particularly profound to them. The scope of this subject oversteps the limits of any socio-cultural, racial or gender dimensions because any person can become the victim of bullying. The whole recovery process will be controlled by therapists, but they would serve as a guiding hand to let the client develop their own efficacies.
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Therapeutic guidance can be provided through 5 to 20 weekly sessions with each lasting from half an hour to an hour. The sessions should run for the recommended duration for the therapist to observe improvements of the individual’s behavior. While it has been proven effective, the biggest challenge is full commitment of a person, or else the method fails. The success rate of the program primarily relies on one’s real desire to achieve the behavioral change that is sought (Soltani, Ahghar, & Asadzadeh, 2013). Otherwise, the sessions would prove to be futile.
Cognitive therapy works on the basis that certain mannerisms can either be adopted or dismissed. Besides, this is especially valid for adolescents who are in the process of learning the dynamics of human life. Even though cognitive behavioral treatments are efficient at any age, teenagers are likely to be more responsive than adults. For youngsters, the present time is very important since they tend to be cautiously wary of how other people regard them (Soltani, Ahghar, & Asadzadeh, 2013). Therefore, the acts of bullying have such powerful effects on young people.
The greatest benefit of cognitive behavioral therapy is that it can combine a number of elements geared at making the patients develop their skills. For example, it can include either or both individual and group therapy aimed at aiding an individual. With respect to the group therapy, listening to the confessions of others and their stories about what they have exactly encountered goes a long way in making a person see that the magnitude of their problems is not as large as it may seem (MacNair-Semands, 2010). It is common for human beings to be guarded concerning their problems. Consequently, one might fear to share their thoughts and feelings because they presume that they might be regarded as weak and incapable.
McRae (2013) asserts that through the group cognitive therapy, people are able to share and gain knowledge on how they can address their concerns from those who have had similar experience and found the strength to overcome their obstacles. Human beings are social creatures who form habits out of reinforcements. In a cognitive group therapy setting, one joins a group that has similar goals and experiences. In this group, when the participants perform an activity that contributed to the attainment of their objective, they get the applause of other members (McRae, 2013). Hence, such a setting provides the necessary environment to enable the patients to speedily recover from their predicaments.
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According to McRae (2013), it ought to be remembered that there is no ethical code of responsibility that ties the group sessions to confidentiality, which exists only between the individual and the therapist. Given the level of sharing, some individuals might find it uncomfortable to reveal such intimate details of their lives to strangers. In fact, it is worth noting that the members of one group may have personality clashes with each other thus making it difficult to achieve any progress (Martin, 2016). Therefore, it is a matter of caution and advice to the therapists who use cognitive behavioral therapy to undertake a strong individual cognitive behavioral therapy prior to organizing any group sessions for the patients.
Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the Victims of Bullying
Telling a person to face their fears is a common societal advice. It is usual for the victims to be asked to encounter their bullies. However, easier said than done. At times, the bully might be in a position of power and influence, which makes the individual afraid of confronting them. One may ask the victim to seek the counsel of an adult or a teacher, but everyone who dealt with the school system would confess as to how unpopular such a move is (Martin, 2016). Hence, the victim has to learn adaptive behaviors that allow them to contend with their tormentors and even develop the right social skills that will enable to stop being easy targets.
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Bullying has a strong correlation to anxiety, poor self-confidence, image as well as depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy is acclaimed as an effective aid for those with such psychological issues. In essence, cognitive behavioral therapy shows how one’s self-perception influences how the insight about the surrounding world and the behaviors that are deemed appropriate (Baker, Stephens, & Hitchcock, 2010). For those who are repeatedly the victims of bullying, the fact that they perceive themselves as powerless makes them appear to the perpetrators as an easy prey. Each act of bullying especially if performed publicly undermines the self-worth of the victim. As a result, this leads to depression and acceptance of such a behavior, as the self-esteem is limited to a minimum (Hautzinger, 2017). Is it not a wonder that people who were bullied during childhood will be bullied as adults at the workplace and even by their spouses?
The negative thoughts about oneself always influence one’s opinion about themselves and their actions in the long run (UC San Francisco (UCSF), 2015). Oftentimes it welcomes intolerable kinds of conduct and promotes self-doubt. Through cognitive behavioral therapy, such a vision regarding oneself is eliminated through building of efficacies that improves self-esteem as a consequence.
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When it comes to dealing with adolescents, it is vital to understand that they tend to view the world at the present particular moment. Thus, negative actions that happen to them exert such significant impacts on their lives (Soltani, Ahghar, & Asadzadeh, 2013). Through cognitive behavioral therapy, victims are taught to improve their self-image. One of the means is undertaking of tasks that they are good at and gave the great pride in. Therefore, this ultimately is reflected in their perception of themselves (Baker, Stephens, & Hitchcock 2010). Besides, the cognitive behavioral sessions can be conducted at school, within the framework of community programs and even in such places as a church. According to Ackerman (2017), the more exposed victims are to their strengths the more they will have a stronger self-appreciation that allows them to overcome fear and face those who bully them. The fact that adolescents are worried about the present while doing an activity that they are good at in front of their peers gives teenagers a chance to draw admiration, which in turn, is a powerful social currency to deter bullies.
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Bullying is wrong and should be denounced in the harshest manner possible. While this phenomenon is universally accepted, it is sad that such a behavior is often tolerated by society that established a double standard regarding it. An individual who reports an incident of bullying to the school authorities could earn the victim wrath from the student population who expect the former to remain silent. Therefore, cognitive behavioral therapy becomes a matter of importance to train the affected on how they can acquire skills that will safeguard them. By developing their personal efficacies, they will be able to act bold enough to confront their fears to the extent that they will no longer refuse from power in favor of their oppressors who use it to turn them into the prey for bullies.