A 2013 Workplace Bullying Institute poll revealed that roughly 70 percent of respondents reported that their therapist (or counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist) had minimal (at best) understanding of workplace bullying.
Without understanding what workplace bullying is, therapists will have a more difficult time grasping how workplace bullying affects you and why it happens in the first place. We’ll also miss out on their key role as awareness builders when workplace bullying targets seek their help, but they don’t know what to call the behavior.
And without understanding the basics, therapists might not make potential connections between your workplace bullying experience and possible childhood bullying to help you develop insights and heal. (When asked “who was the first abusive bully in your life?,” more than 28 percent of respondents said that parents were the first.)
What you can do
If your therapist isn’t knowledgeable of workplace bullying, you can help her help you:
- Teach him or her the term “workplace bullying.” Ask her to visit the Workplace Bullying Institute website to learn more about it.
- Connect with a mental health organization. You can even ask your therapist if he or she is connected to a mental health organization and who you might contact in the organization to ask for endorsement of the Healthy Workplace Bill. Organizations for teachers, nurses, and union employees support the bill, but we don’t yet have mental health organizations on board or more needed research on the issue.
Mental health professionals play an important role in building awareness about workplace bullying and helping to heal targets. If you’re in a position to do so, help your therapist understand the topic and take advantage of his or her role to further education about the issue.