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In the last section, we discussed steps three and four of the direct intervention stage. These steps are meeting jointly and identifying common goals.
In this section, we will discuss steps five and six of the direct intervention stage. These steps are agreeing upon actions and conditions, and reevaluating goals regularly.
♦ Step # 5 - Agree on Actions, Time Frames, & Conditions
Karen eventually found that all of these pictures had come from a website dedicated to making fun of her. After the harassment had been going on for two months, Karen told a teacher she felt close with about the bullying. The email address and website were traced to Jeff, 16, an honor student who was in most of Karen’s classes. Although Jeff was unwilling to work with Karen, school policy required that he either comply, or face expulsion from school. Jeff’s parents were concerned that an expulsion would ruin Jeff’s chances for higher education, and they insisted he comply with the requirement.
During the evaluation stage, Jeff stated, "I started picking on Karen I guess because she always has to make herself look good. She’s always showing off in class and in gym. So I decided to teach her a lesson by catching pictures of her at times when she looked awful." It became clear during early joint sessions that the biggest buildup of tension for both students occurred during their math class. Since there were only eight students in the class, it was inevitable that the two would be forced to interact.
During the fifth step of my direct intervention with Karen and Jeff, I asked the two to brainstorm some actions that might help them work towards their goals for the relationship. The first goal for Karen and Jeff was to become non-enemies who interact as necessary. Together, we agreed that an important action to take towards this goal was to agree that neither Karen nor Jeff would use negative names or disrespectful language either to or about each other. We agreed that this was appropriate in both face to face interaction with each other and classmates, and online.
Further, we discussed that this chosen action of never using disrespectful language should always happen, and the requirement for avoiding disrespectful language would be in place forever. I stated, "It’s natural and understandable that every once in a while one of you will slip up and say something online or in person that goes against this action you have chosen to take while working towards your goal.
If a slip happens, I suggest that you agree to apologize in a way and place that will not embarrass the other person." Karen and Jeff agreed to the need for apologies, and gave themselves a one-week time limit in which to come up with a procedure and place for making apologies in a low-stress manner.
‘Attack on the Compulsion’ Technique - Three Steps
Think of your Jeff. Would the Addressing Compulsion technique be helpful for him or her?
♦ Step # 6 - Regularly Evaluate Goals
As you know, the structure of joint meetings between internet bully and victim may not need to change very much at all over time. However, the areas emphasized will vary greatly. I found that after several meetings, Karen and Jeff’s sessions centered mainly around making adjustments to goals and actions based on changes that had occurred for each student since our last meeting.
In this section, we have discussed steps five and six of the direct intervention stage. These steps are agreeing upon actions and conditions, and reevaluating goals regularly.
In the next section, we will discuss four steps in a technique for structured termination of joint sessions for internet bully and victim. These four steps are, setting the stage, introduce the rationale for termination, introduce preparation tasks, and the final joint meeting.
- Hazer, R. J. (1996). Breaking the Cycle of Violence: Interventions for Bullying and Victimization. Washington, D.C.: Taylor & Francis.