Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Bully for You! - An REBT Approach to Bullying


The scenario below (*People and Emotions) can be viewed with your students through the REBT lens. What behaviours do we notice? What are the actions and posture of the participants?  What is being conveyed non-verbally?


What roles can we identify? Who is the victim and who is the bully? What is the third persons role?

How might the actors be feeling?  What are the strength of these emotions?

There may be common emotions shared by all and some particular to an individual. What might the bully be feeling? What might the bystander be feeling etc?

REBT’s ABC Theory of Emotional Disturbance teaches students that our own personally constructed philosophies about others; the world and ourselves largely determine how we feel and behave.  

Using this model invite students to suggest what is happening in this picture. Here we identify A i.e. what happened.

Part C of the ABC Theory is how each individual might be feeling and behaving as a consequence of A i.e. what happened.

What may not be so obvious is B: what could each be thinking? What are each persons constructed core beliefs and what strength of emotion and choices of behaviour might each demonstrate in response to A and B? Through Rational Emotive Behaviour Education students can suggest whether an individual might be thinking in OUGHTS SHOULD or MUSTS. They might identify an attitude of CONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE OF OTHERS in the bully i.e. people must conform to my stereotype of what is cool or normal.  If they don’t they should be punished. They are bad. They might also suggest that the bystander is suffering from the dire need of the bully’s approval? She must like me. I need her to like me i.e. CONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE of SELF. They also may determine that the bullied person has issues to do with confidence. This always happens to me. I’m such a failure. I deserve this (Conditional Self Acceptance). 

These ideas help students understand that core beliefs are linked to the choices we make and the emotions we experience.  They are not made solely by the situation (A) but also by the way we think about A (B). This has implications for teaching, counselling and parenting practice.

1.     Teach children Unconditional Self Acceptance. This helps students maintain the belief that they are always worthwhile despite the negative attitudes and opinions of others
2.     Teach children Unconditional Acceptance of Others. This helps students develop the attitude that its OK to be different and that others don’t have to THINK and ACT like they do.

The message is clear as evidenced in the recent research findings of Giulio Bortolozzo and Ken Rigby (referenced below):

1.     Self - Accepting students have a high degree of immunity to the slings and arrows of bullies. They are also less likely to be bullied as they project a sense of confidence about themselves.
2.     People who Accept Others are less likely to want to bully others. They may not like a behaviour or a quality of a person and can choose not to associate with her but their total worth is not at question.


REBT is delivered to all children across all year levels at the Whyalla REBE
School Cluster, Whyalla in South Australia.

These and other teaching suggestions can be found throughout this blog and also at http://www.kenrigby.net/
Bully for You!

Do you think you have nothing to offer?
Use self-talk which is negative and untrue
And you don’t think you amount to much
Then I have just the thing for you!
Bully for you, bully for you
I have a bully for you!

I look for people to victimise
My admiring buddies think I’m great
I like to see fear in your eyes
You deserve to suffer mate!

Bully for you, bully for you
I’m the bully for you.

I will persist, never let up
I don’t consider how you feel
My life’s work is to see you suffer
You don’t matter; you’re no big deal!

Bully for you, bully for you
I’m the bully for you!

We control our thoughts
We are what we perceive
We can choose to be powerless victims
Until we change what we believe

Victim for you, victim for you
Will I be the victim for you?

I’m a worthwhile person
I have qualities unique to me
We are all different from each other
That makes us the same you see?

No, I will not allow you to bully
You don’t have my permission you see
I will not be your sporting obsession
You are not the bully for me!

Bully for me, bully for me.
You are not the bully for me.

The cloak of silence
Is the bully’s best friend
So speak out, everybody
It’s the cloak that’s specially tailored
For you and for me!



Other references:

*People and Emotions - an REBT based program for primary and secondary teachers/counsellors by Giulio Bortolozzo

Have a Go Spaghettio! an REBT based program for early childhood teachers/counsellors by Giulio Bortolozzo

How schoolchildren’s acceptance of self and others relate to their attitudes to victims of bullying

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11218-013-9213-y 
Bullying in Schools: Addressing Desires, Not Only Behaviours Ken Rigby http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10648-012-9196-9


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