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Registered Play Therapist,

          Certified by the Association for Play Therapy

Family Therapy Session

Turning the Tables on the Bully

          Humor combined with excessive sugar is an extremely potent weapon when combating bullying. The person who is able to feign concern for the bully has the opportunity of putting the tormenter in a defensive position while simultaneously creating a comedy show. The victim assumes that the bully’s behavior is a direct result of a neurological disorder rather than malicious intent. The injured party insists that, “A nice and kind person like him/her would never deliberately try to trip or harm anyone; he/she must be suffering from epilepsy.” The former victim needs to extol positive virtues and describe his tormentor in angelic terms that support his/her position; therefore, it is crucial to describe the bully as a person with impeccable character, “she/he is so considerate of others and the first person ready to assist anyone in a difficult situation …” These statements are hilarious since the good character describing the tormentor is usually not inherent in the bully. The ensuing laughter empowers the victim and earns the respect of his/her peers; the victim is able to fight his/her own battle while simultaneously performing an entertaining one man comedy show that has the audience in stitches.

          This charade can include the administration; the injured party is able to skillfully address his/her “genuine” concern regarding the welfare of his tormenter with the teacher and other members of the staff. The bully will probably suffer the just consequence of his/her behavior since the victim properly mortifies the bully once the staff participates in the drama and echo “genuine” concern. Bullying is a difficult issue to resolve; the staff would welcome the opportunity to resolve this dilemma using the creative and highly effective strategy of dramatizing concern and enjoying a good laugh at the bully’s expense.

          Tourette’s syndrome is another neurological disorder that can be “diagnosed” when harassment takes the form of verbal abuse. The same skills of behaving excessively sweet as sugar will successfully catch the bully off guard and place him in an unfamiliar arena where he is defensive rather than offensive. This technique has the best results when the victim practices his/her act at home with a family member coaching his/her acting skills until he/she perfects his /her act; the effectiveness of the strategy is determined by the acting skills of the performer.