David Younger, PhD, CGP, PC is a New York state licensed psychologist. In addition to having completed a master’s degree in psychology from New York University, a master’s degree in child psychology from the Anna Freud Centre in London, and a doctorate in psychology from the University of London, Dr. Younger is a trained couple (Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships in London) and a certified group psychotherapist (Eastern Group Psychotherapy Society in New York). He talks to us on How can Bullying End?<
This is how David Younger describes himself: As a therapist I take a holistic approach to working with people. I have close relationships with other psychologists, psychiatrists, naturopaths, acupuncturists, nutritionists, and physical therapists. It is my belief that therapy will not be effective if there are significant imbalances in other areas of one’s life, the most basic of which are diet, sleep, and exercise. In my opinion, one of the limitations of modern medicine is the extent to which people specialize. It inevitably leads to treating symptoms and component parts versus treating the person as a whole. The mind and the body are inextricably bound. I keep this in mind during all of my sessions. As a therapist, my priority is to customize treatments for the individual and not force clients to conform to predetermined methods. I provide individual, couples, and group therapy, and if appropriate, can offer a combination of these modalities. Above all, I value the creativity and growth potential of every human being. I believe that change is possible no matter how entrenched one may be in a given situation. We sat down with Dr Younger for some answers about How can Bullying End?
Is bullying as big an issue today as it was say 10 years ago?
I think there is much more awareness today than 10 years ago and there is definitely less tolerance for it, but there are also more subtle ways to bully these days, ie using the internet. As far as I am concerned, as long as bullying still exists it is just as big an issue.
Do you see a difference in how bullying happens today – for example social media, mobile phones?
I was told by a patient in her twenties that when she was in school, there was a girl that had created a blog and she wrote daily observations about the other students, many of which were cruel and insulting. This is when blogs were in their infancy and there was very little awareness, but I imagine that a tech savvy person could post anonymously from public computers and still do serious damage. Texting is another vehicle, especially taking pictures and posting them.
With current media coverage on Bullying and Cyber Bullying is the situation improving?
My sense is that there is much more of a strict policy than ever and there is much more awareness of the role that the internet can play. That awareness in and of itself is an improvement. I cannot say with confidence if incidences have decreased.
Have you knowledge of any severe cases and consequences of Bullying?
Yes. I have a number of patients that were bullied when they were in school. People have different coping mechanisms when it comes to dealing with trauma. Some people detach and become numb, others overcompensate and become bullies themselves, and others avoid situations that will trigger the trauma. Bullying can definitely cause PTSD.
What is the best advice to give a person who is being bullied?
Tell your parents and a teacher immediately. Don’t wait. Don’t think it will go away.
Is there likely to be long term effects on people who are Bullied?
Yes! As I said earlier, it can absolutely cause PTSD.
Are parents and teachers dealing with bullied victims or bullies in the right way?
Hard to generalize, but the no tolerance policy is certainly the way to go.
You specialize in helping parents – do parents struggle to deal with bullying, especially understanding Cyber Bullying?
Hard to generalize as well. Parents that are connected with their kids and have open lines of communication should not struggle too much. It is straightforward and needs to be addressed right away. Parents that are not very aware and connected might note behavioral and emotional differences in their children, but won’t understand why. Kids can feel intense shame as a product of being bullied and do a lot to hide it. The most important thing to do is to talk with your kids. Maintain consistent communication. Know who their friends are.