Welcome to my blog.

I am currently a graduate student working on a dissertation that will research the long term effects of bullying on the victims. Who do the victims become in adulthood and what impact did the victimization have on the choices made in adulthood. Most people can point to anecdotal examples, i.e. the skinny/obese child who became a bodybuilder/martial arts expert or the “ugly duckling” who underwent plastic surgery to become the beautiful swan, but is that the norm or outliers?

At this point in my search I haven’t found much research covering this topic or information about support for adults who were victimized as children.

It is my hope that out of my research I will be able to not only open doors to further research in this area, but also uncover replicateable interventions that can be used to help those children currently suffering from victimization and hopefully to launch support group and treatment methods for those adults who were victimized.

As I read through the different journal articles, Masters thesis’s, Doctoral dissertations, published books, and intervention programs I will post my thoughts, comments, and critiques. I welcome any constructive input from the readers, as well as any stories of your personal experiences that you don’t mind sharing. I do want to note, that while it is my hope that anyone reading this site will benefit from it, this site is in no way a replacement for therapy, is not a formal support group or therapy group, and I am in no way your therapist.

This forum offers NO CONFIDENTILITY.

If you would like further information on finding support in your area, I would be more than happy to help you look, though at this point my searches haven’t turned up a whole lot.

That all being said, it is now time for me to begin.

Thank you sincerely,

R. Brian Salinas, MA
Psy.D. (candidate)

Monday, January 26, 2009

start a list of therapists

I am posting this particular page of the blog because I want to start a list of therapists (counselors, LCSW, MFT’s, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, etc.) who are experienced in working with victims of bullying.
To accomplish this I would like to ask people to post the contact information of these therapists. Please post the information in the comments session and once I have a list compiled I will post it as a blog page.
I would like to get the name of at least one therapist for most of the major cities in all the states. I understand this is a loft undertaking, but I feel it’s a worth one since as we all know, bullying isn’t going away any time soon.
In the end I would like to see more of a push toward the treatment of the victims, let them not be forgotten in our push to end the plague of victimization.
R. Brian Salinas, MA
Psy.D. Candidate

Monday, January 19, 2009

Book Review: Why School Antibullying Programs Don’t Work

By: Stuart W. Twemlow and Frank C. Sacco
Citation info:
Twemlow , S। W. & Sacco, F. C. (2008). Why School Antibullying Programs Don’t Work. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield

The authors of this book set out to explain why even the best anti-bullying programs have only met with moderate success (see 12-19-08 blog post). The authors have extensive experience researching this topic, having studied schools in the United States, Jamaica, Australia, and New Zealand. Additionally, they have studied affluent public and private schools as well as low socioeconomic status (SES) schools.

The authors introduce a new theoretical approach, which they have dubbed “community psychoanalysis.” Twemlow and Sacco (2008) explain that Community Psychoanalysis uses psychodynamic principles in the understanding of tendencies and instances of social deviance in large groups. This theoretical approach was developed to understand the power dynamics as they occur in the larger social context (Twemlow & Sacco, 2008). They posit that in order for any changes to be sustainable, a process needs to be implemented and consistently followed over time (Twemlow & Sacco, 2008).

In their book, Twemlow & Sacco (2008) discuss thirteen fallacies around bullying. The fallacies they discuss are: (1) This school is too good or too bad; (2) School violence is someone else’s problem; (3) Zero tolerance reduces destructive decisions; (4) Size of school matters; (5) Today’s kids are no different from when we were young; (6) Eliminating the bully solves the problem; (7) More money leads to more peaceful schools; (8)Lack of physical violence means a school is safe; (9)Bullying is just a kid thing; (10) Focusing problem kids will improve school climate; (11) Quick fixes , cookbooks, and programs can solve problems; (12) One program fits all; and (13) Violence is an infection that must be eliminated (Twemlow & Sacco, 2008).

After the fallacies, Twemlow & Sacco (2008) explain the critical steps necessary for the creation of an effective violence protection program. The steps discussed were titled: (1) Buy in; (2) Feeling Safe; (3) Understanding power issues, power struggles, and power dynamics; (4) Pathological bystander; (5) Natural leadership, Mentalization, Altruism, and school change; (6) Hidden Problems: the Undiscussables; (7) Evaluation, Communication between disciplines and accountability (8) The people we work with (Twemlow & Sacco, 2008). For a detailed description of these topics please refer to their book.

To summarize the message of the book, to stop the violence in schools you need the active buy in, of not just the teachers, but students, administrators, parents, and the community. Ultimately, the issue of school violence, be it overt or covert, direct or indirect, is the responsibility of the community. Twemlow & Sacco (2008) point out that teachers can be bullied by students, parents, and administrators; and this needs to be addressed as part of the plan for creating a safe environment. If the teacher doesn’t feel safe, then how can they help the children feel safe.

At no point in this book do the authors push any particular plan over others. Their main point is that you need to work with your team to find, or create, a plan that best meets the individual needs of your school. They stress there is no short term fix, that all efforts must be done with the idea of a long term commitment, and all members of the team must work to create an atmosphere in which each team member feels free to discuss the issues at hand, no matter how undiscussable they may be.

A community created the situation, and a community will change it. Twemlow & Sacco (2008) point out that by creating an environment where coercive behavior has been reduced or eliminated, then you will find racism will significantly decline. Finally, throughout the entire book, the authors stress to create the program before something drastic and potentially fatal happens.

I would recommend this book as part of any person’s library if they are serious about helping in the fight against bullying.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Review of the article: Developmental Perspective on Peer Rejection: Mechanisms of Stability and Change

Sandstrom and Coie (1999) conducted a study to examine the factors associated with relative stability of peer rejection. The study was conducted by following 31 socially rejected elementary school children who were recruited from a larger sociometric sample of 826 students (Sandstrom and Coie, 1999). Sandstrom and Coie (1999) believed there were 5 factors that impacted whether or not a child improved their social status. Those factors were: (1) Social Characteristics, (2) Self-Perceived Peer Status, (3) Locus of Control in Relation to Peer Difficulties, (4) Participation in Peer Group Activities, and (5) Parenting Style (Sandstrom and Coie, 1999). According to their results, there appears to be a correlation between these 5 elements and improvement in initially rejected children (Sandstrom and Coie, 1999). Additionally, the results indicated there was a positive correlation between aggressive behavior and the improvement of peer status among rejected boys (Sandstrom and Coie, 1999).
While the authors explore an interesting concept, what are the factors that contribute to a child being continuously rejected, the number of participants is limited. Additionally, the group is comprised of only European Americans and African Americans and an unequal number of boys and girls; this limits its applicability of the results to the larger school population. Further limiting the study is the fact that there is no indication of the geographic location of the participants.
The authors also neglect to mention which statistical tool was used to analyze the results. Sandstrom and Coie (1999) feel their results indicate there being a correlation between aggressive-rejected children changing their social status through the use of aggression. However, while this may be an interesting result, this was not what they were testing for and as such the direct interpretation of this data should be considered circumspect. Finally, the authors only followed students from the 4 to 5 grades. Since peer-rejection happens at all grade llevels the authors should have conducted the study in a manner that included the middle and high school age levels.

Sandstrom, M. J., & Coie, J. D. (1999). A Developmental Perspective on Peer Rejection: Mechanisms of Stability and Change. Child Development , July/August Volume 70, Number 4, pg. 955-966.