113 Dr. Ellen deLara discusses bullying

[00:00:00] Ellen Delara: Bullying is not okay, first and foremost, and what are we going to do about it? So intervening early on when people see this happening, not just making an assumption, Oh, well, you know, kids bully each other, so what? That assumption is completely dangerous.

[00:00:22] Al Scott: The Rational View is a weekly series hosted by me, Dr. Alan Scott, providing a rational, evidence based perspective on important societal issues.

[00:00:34] Soapbox Media LLC: Produced by Soapbox Media.

[00:00:38] Al Scott: Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Rational View. I’m your host, Dr. Al. In this episode, I’m bookending my two episode investigation on the impacts of bullying with someone who has interviewed victims of bullying to attempt to characterize the impacts.

[00:00:55] I recently did a podcast that reviewed my experiences with bullying as a child [00:01:00] and how it seemed to have impacted my personality and my life from a, from a high level. This research’s results resonated with me. It felt good to identify an external reason for why I found it hard to interact with others.

[00:01:14] Let’s be careful and question our assumptions. Life is difficult and challenging for everyone. Can victims blame their entire life experience on bullying? No. We need to be careful about confirmation bias. It’s difficult to guess how life altering these events really were. Perhaps I would’ve turned out shy and socially awkward anyways. Any good science includes the control group to contrast. Let’s find out what the evidence says.

[00:01:40] Dr. Ellen Walser Delara is an associate professor emerita in the school of social work at Syracuse University. She’s also a practicing family therapist. Dr. Delara received her doctorate from Cornell University in Educational Psychology and was a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell focused on child maltreatment.[00:02:00]

[00:02:00] Her areas of research address adolescent development. Child maltreatment, school and community violence, and bullying from systemic and developmental perspectives. Currently, Dr. Delara is investigating the long term consequences of childhood bullying on adult relationships and mental health. She’s presented widely at national and international conferences and speaks frequently to the media on bullying and school violence.

[00:02:25] Del’s books include Bullying Scars, the Impact on Adult Life and Relationships. And, Words Can Hurt Forever. How to protect adolescents from bullying, harassment, and emotional violence and School Based Intervention Programs. Co-authored with Dr. James Garbarino. Dr. Delara, welcome to The Rational View.

[00:02:47] Ellen Delara: Thank you.

[00:02:47] I’m very happy to be here with you today.

[00:02:50] Al Scott: So, you’ve published quite significantly in regards to the impacts of bullying. I originally found out about your work in science news[00:03:00] and it really resonated with me. I had experienced childhood bullying and I recognized a lot of the things that you highlight as adult post bullying syndrome in my own life.

[00:03:12] You know, as a late bloomer with good marks, I experienced heavy bullying throughout school years. Can you give our listeners kind of a summary of what you’ve learned in your research and what, what this adult post bullying syndrome means?

[00:03:27] Ellen Delara: Sure. First I have to start with saying, I, I’m really sorry that you experienced what you did.

[00:03:35] It’s upsetting to me when I hear about it still, even after all of these years of talking with so many people. It’s part of what keeps me going and doing the research is seeing the effects that happen for children first and foremost, and then carrying on into adult life. So and also because, you know, I’m [00:04:00] both a researcher and then also a clinician.

[00:04:04] I have those two sides of my way of thinking about bullying and its impact. So first, we first starting with just the impact for children. So there are contemporary contemporaneous impacts and then long-term impacts of bullying. So for children, they may experience both physical and mental health symptoms.

[00:04:33] And consequences ranging from trouble sleeping nightmares, that skipping school to psychiatric problems such as anxiety, depression, psychosis, self-harming behaviors, suicidal and homicidal ideation, as well as acting on those sorts of thoughts and feelings. So Kids who are involved in [00:05:00] bullying can end up feeling anxious, sad, betrayed, excluded, angry, afraid, and ashamed.

[00:05:11] Okay? So you know, of course, if you’re a victim, victims of any kind of maltreatment often end up feeling shame and ashamed. Though they have no reason for that, something was done to them. But they have end up with internalized shame, which is I think a really critically important aspect of what happens as a result of bullying and something that people don’t recognize and don’t talk about as much as they need to.

[00:05:48] Okay, so other thing I need to say is that bullying, Changes a person’s brain so that even our studies [00:06:00] indicate that if your bullying is only in quotation marks verbal, then you will end up with changes in your brain that affect your ability to actually interpret cues in the environment. So you will misinterpret oftentimes what someone is doing or saying or how their, what their facial expression means.

[00:06:31] Interesting. Yes. So that’s also an important aspect of all of this. And it leaves, it leaves people who have been chronically bullied in a sort of hypervigilant state. Because a part of their brain and nervous system and the hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal access is constantly activated. So then we move along [00:07:00] to adults.

[00:07:02] So I began to investigate this phenomenon of what happens for adults because. When I began my research, which is over 25 years ago in this area, people wanted to believe that once you got out of school, okay, all of this is behind you now. So what’s wrong with you? That you’re still thinking about it, you’re still dealing with it.

[00:07:28] You’re still talking about it to anybody that will listen to you, or maybe you’re just not even talking about it. You’re just dealing with that on your. Okay. So since people wanted to think that then I was surprised to when I began my research with adults to find out how many effects were still left lingering.

[00:07:56] And the reason I actually wanted to [00:08:00] ask adults is because, I wanted to have people have an understanding of why they should try to interrupt childhood bullying because there are long lasting effects. Okay, so in my interviews of over a thousand adults ages 18 to 65 now, I found that approximately a quarter to.

[00:08:29] Over 40% of those people have what I am calling adult post bullying syndrome. It’s not a diagnosis, it’s just a description of a set of symptoms that people are carrying with them. And these include what people commonly struggle with are issues of self-esteem and shame. Trusting others and [00:09:00] problems in relationships.

[00:09:02] Some people have tendencies to be a people pleaser so that they won’t upset anybody and then they could potentially feel accepted by people. People can end up misusing substances. People with adult post bullying syndrome tend to have feelings of anger and some have feelings of rage and revenge.

[00:09:32] They could demonstrate emotional problems and disorders oftentimes have body image issues, but importantly, adult post bullying syndrome shows. People who have this syndrome show an unexpected or positive outcomes such as , a [00:10:00] sense of inner strength or self-reliance, greater empathy or consciously deciding to treat others well, wanting to make something of their lives.

[00:10:15] And the sense of wanting to be somebody having been told so often that they weren’t anybody. Oftentimes people who have this syndrome move towards fields where they can help other people. So whether that’s education or medicine, the law, whatever.

[00:10:42] Al Scott: That’s a lot to, to go over. I have so many questions.

[00:10:45] So your, your original mention that shame is associated with that. I, I, I resonate with that as well. You know, it’s not something I’ve ever wanted to talk about. I, it’s not something I’ve ever talked about really? And it’s weird. Why, why do we feel ashamed about, [00:11:00] about this? There shouldn’t be shame, Right.

[00:11:03] It, it, that, that’s, that’s an odd thing. I, you know, I don’t know why I feel that.

[00:11:10] Ellen Delara: Well, you know, you’re right. It, it’s, it seems like it’s peculiar to have a sense of shame, but if you think about it, if you’ve been bullied and bullied repeatedly, most, most victims of anything take it upon themselves.

[00:11:28] They internalize. That there is, there must be something wrong with me, otherwise people wouldn’t treat me this way. There must be something wrong, and if people are repeatedly telling you that you’re not okay in one way or another, they’re telling it to you, then that’s the, that’s the cognition that young people come away with.

[00:11:54] This is the only way that they can make sense of it. Whether that be [00:12:00] bullying at home, by their family, by the parents or siblings, or in school bullying. This is how young people try to make sense of it.

[00:12:11] Al Scott: Interesting. And so you’re. Your research now, Are you did you discover this? Like, is this, this, this is something I hadn’t heard of before.

[00:12:20] Is there a, a, a strong field investigating this or are you kind of out on your own finding this out for the first time and, and learning about it? Where, what’s, what’s the, what’s the reception of this work?

[00:12:32] Ellen Delara: I’m on my own at this point. I mean, there are other people that are now currently researching it, which I’m very, very delighted about.

[00:12:43] Prior to this, there hasn’t been any research that would talk about a positive impact of any sort from being bullied. In fact, when I first began to ask that question to [00:13:00] people, you know, did you see anything? First, I asked it to teenagers, Is there anything positive about bullying? And they said, No, it sucks.

[00:13:06] That’s it. At the end, when I asked adults, They with their adult brains and more maturity, were able to say, Yeah, there’s something positive that I gained from this, and here’s what it is. Some things I mentioned previously. So yeah, I mean it’s interesting because it’s sort of like when you name anything.

[00:13:36] People are not quite sure that they want a new name for something. And how, how I think about it is, it’s akin to during World War I, when anybody in the military had a problem, we called it shell shocked. But as time evolved and people became more invested in understanding what was [00:14:00] really going on, that phenomenon got real.

[00:14:03] As post traumatic stress disorder. So at the moment there are, there are very few people who actually do much research into the impact of bullying on adults at all.

[00:14:17] Al Scott: So it’s an, it’s an interesting point. You say, you know what, what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger, is the old adage you know, people who have gone through this have been, you said there was a significant fraction that saw a positive.

[00:14:29] What was the fraction that you had seen?

[00:14:32] Ellen Delara: About 40% or more.

[00:14:36] Al Scott: Is, there any distinguishing factor that you could identify between those people that saw positive and saw a negative? Like is it, is it like support, support networks or, or, Or is it just somewhat random as far as we know?

[00:14:52] Ellen Delara: Well, you know, that’s a great question because that’s yet to be determined in my estimation.

[00:14:58] It’s something that I have [00:15:00] to continue to take a look at. I mean, you could say, As you put it, that they might have had a better support system than other people who didn’t have anybody. But I really don’t know what’s the difference. I mean, so here’s also the case for just children. Some children experience bullying as traumatic and others do not.

[00:15:26] Even they just don’t. And so what’s the difference? Well, You know, the word that’s always flowing around is about resilience. But you know what, Al there really is, in my opinion, after all these years, no real such thing as resilience because it, you know, if you’re, if you damage something, it’s never gonna pop back to the same shape.

[00:15:53] So people might survive and they might even thrive. But it’s [00:16:00] not based on that notion of some sort of resilience. I think you’re probably the closest one. You say people who get basic social support and have people who care about them, and then not to, of course, neglect people who have some kind of good therapy that helps them along.

[00:16:25] Mm-hmm. .

[00:16:26] Al Scott: Mm-hmm. . So you’ve identified actual changes in the brain or you, is this a how, how have you figured this out? Have you done actual brain imaging studies or is this more of a response oriented discovery that bullying changes people’s brains? How, how did you come to that conclusion?

[00:16:50] Ellen Delara: Okay, Now I have to say, that is not my original research. That’s research that has been done by other researchers who do magnetic resident [00:17:00] imaging. And they, you know, that basically do have evidence based studies because they have controls and people who have been bullied and they exclude out of their studies.

[00:17:13] Anybody who is coming from a family of domestic violence and all kinds of other things that they’re excluding, they’re just imaging. Kids or adults who have experienced bullying and, and emphatically verbal bullying and finding that those, those images show changes in brains different from kids who have not been bullied.

[00:17:42] So they’re seeing, you know, changes in the brains that are reflected. In the Corpus Callosum part of the brain, which is responsible for connecting the neural highway between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. So when there’s [00:18:00] damage there and other places in the brain that are damaged, such as the Amygdala, which is responsible for any kind of basic anxiety and fear that sets people up to respond differently to.

[00:18:17] Their environment and to other people, then they would if they weren’t chronically bullied.

[00:18:23] Al Scott: Hmm, interesting. And, and this is the impact of this on their, on how they interact. You say they misinterpret cues, their heightened awareness of potential to be misinterpreted, I suppose. Is it, is it kind of a fear?

[00:18:44] Or is there, is there a fear in that intensity?

[00:18:49] Ellen Delara: Yes, exactly. That is the perfect word for it, because if you, if, if you have been mistreated in such a way that you [00:19:00] feel victimized, then your sense of safety has been threatened. So therefore, You know, that’s a basic, basic need of people is to feel safe.

[00:19:17] And so, then you are on alert for anything that might be similar to that. And as a result, you have a heightened sense of awareness. You may be hypervigilant to what other people are doing or saying around you. And what we do see is a misattribution of cues. In other words, kids who’ve been bullied have sometimes difficulty interpreting.

[00:19:48] If somebody, if just a facial expression, if they’re in an MRI, they might then show, be shown facial expressions and someone could [00:20:00] just have a normal, they’re not smiling facial expression, and then they’ll say, Okay, that person is angry. So that’s how it can show itself.

[00:20:10] Al Scott: Indeed. So in your research, you said you interviewed over a thousand adults too, to get these conclusions.

[00:20:18] Were these all adults that had been bullied or did you have a control group to compare to? How did you derive your results?

[00:20:26] Ellen Delara: That’s a good question. I did have a control group because I first put out surveys and. And so the survey was about did you experience bullying when you were K through 12 and so plenty of people came back with No, I never did.

[00:20:53] And so then the questions that went on further to ask what any impact that you had from that [00:21:00] as an adult. So that was those, they were out of the study basically. But then some people would say yes, they did experience bullying and they did have adult impact but they were not showing anything positive about it.

[00:21:20] So they’re not in the group of adult post bullying syndrome people. So that’s how. And then it would go further. So I did focus groups and also individual interviews to come up with. All of us obviously didn’t do individual interviews with people who said no, they were never bullied and they don’t have any adult impact.

[00:21:45] So, yes. Just the others.

[00:21:46] Al Scott: Okay. So how did you measure the, the impacts? Was it, it’s basically so self-reported impacts of emotional changes or, or how they felt that they responded [00:22:00] differently to things as a result of the bullying and and what, you know, how significant were the results that you saw?

[00:22:08] Can you, can you comment on that?

[00:22:10] Ellen Delara: Yes. First of all, to say yes, it’s self reported. And then so the, the methodologies first, quantitative, then qualitative, so the mixed method research mode. And well, for sure I think it’s significant to say that 34% of the people that I interviewed had adult post willing syndrome.

[00:22:40] Of all of the people that I interviewed, about one third had been bullied either in elementary or middle or high school or at home. Actually at home. I was surprised actually about this. About 25% of people said they were [00:23:00] bullied at home, and 25% of people admitted to being bullies themselves.

[00:23:06] Al Scott: So a third at school, 25% at home and 25% were bullies.

[00:23:13] Wow. I’m surprised so many people would admit that they were bullies.

[00:23:19] Ellen Delara: Yeah, I was quite surprised at that statistic. And I’m not sure that they would’ve had admitted it if that wasn’t on the survey where they didn’t have to see anybody to do. Although some people in focus group and individual interviews did admit to it because what they talked about is a clear way that kids think, which is, if I’m getting bullied, I have to do something to defend myself.

[00:23:57] And so I. [00:24:00] Did this, I bullied back. So, you know, they didn’t make a distinction between defending themselves and bullying back. They just called it bullying. So it’s an interesting phenomenon that does happen in the bullying research, which is people want to sort of classify everybody as a victim, a bystander, or bully but kids in real life experience talk about how those things are pretty circular.

[00:24:40] You could end up in any of those roles. Mm,

[00:24:44] Al Scott: interesting. Yeah, I’m, I’m a little surprised that kids that were bullied then went on to bully. So it is bullying in defense. They defending themselves. They called it bullying. Is that the [00:25:00] correct interpretation?

[00:25:02] Ellen Delara: Yes, that’s the correct interpretation. And some people didn’t because they just said I was standing up for myself.

[00:25:09] But other people said yes, I, I bullied because I, somebody was like a physical bully to me, but I’m, I was verbally able, I was verbally adept. I would say things back to this person to get them riled up. I had, I had to do it to defend myself or I, I was taking revenge against that person.

[00:25:33] Al Scott: Interesting, Interesting.

[00:25:37] So you’re finding that many people found the positive, I mean, it wasn’t a majority of, of bullied people, but you know, 40% or something found a positive later in life from being bullied. So my question then is, you know, this is a, so you said part of your motivation was to say that we need to [00:26:00] intervene to prevent bullying, but do we need bullying to make better people?

[00:26:07] What, what’s the, what’s the, you know, it’s changing people’s minds, but so is, so is everything you do, is changing your mind in some way. You, you need, you need to learn to interact socially, problem solve, whether adversity to a certain amount. Where do we draw the line between over enforcement and allowing children to learn to interact socially?

[00:26:30] What is, does anything come out of your research to help us at that question?

[00:26:35] Ellen Delara: That is such a huge question and is a big trigger for me, I have to say. So I’ll try to respond to it. . The reason I say it’s a trigger is because there are people in my field who think; that bullying is basically okay for kids. After doing this for 25 years, there are less people like that now.

[00:26:57] They can see [00:27:00] the connections between bullying and massive school violence; which they never could see forever. But you know, So one of the things I’ve said before is simply because someone can make lemonade out of lemons doesn’t mean we should really go along with this as an okay phenomenon; It isn’t.

[00:27:30] And so, so yeah, there will always probably be some amount. Of bullying while people struggle to try to get a foothold in the social hierarchy. However, what adults have done forever, is ignore when it’s out of hand and just leave the victims to their own devices. So [00:28:00] there is a point that has to do with adults intervention.

[00:28:04] Not with how kids should have to be managing this all on themselves because they can’t, they don’t, they can’t. You know, so we see that 75% of school shooters have been bully victims. So it’s, it’s not as if kids can figure out how to manage this. They don’t really figure out how to handle it very well.

[00:28:34] Al Scott: Indeed. Yeah. I mean, and there are, now that there’s social media out there and there are groups of, of disaffected people, it’s very easy to, I, I, wonder if it’s even harder to come through as a good person now without going into one of these groups, like in cells or you know, people that. Are just angry and become [00:29:00] radicalized; and once they find themselves in a community, want to stay there.

[00:29:05] It seems like it’s maybe even more difficult now to respond to it than it was back in my day where you, you know, you were basically alone and, and had to work your way through. I like your point about, you know, lemons and, you know, although some people make lemonade from it, some people don’t.

[00:29:21] And, and it’s, there’s no, we shouldn’t be condoning schoolyard violence because sometimes people come out of it Okay; and even better . It’s, it’s a, it’s a very good point. And I think it’s, it’s definitely important. That we look into this because I wouldn’t want any, Although I’ve come out of it and I feel like I’m a better person for it, I wouldn’t want to subject anyone else to what I went through.

[00:29:47] I don’t think that’s, you know, it is a life changing event.

[00:29:53] Ellen Delara: Exactly. And your point about people, because of social media; [00:30:00] people who are disaffected have a place to go. This, that’s a, that’s really true. And what it points out, actually it is the system in the systems in our schools are really, oftentimes broken.

[00:30:22] So since I was very young, I was really interested in human behavior and how systems work. So, began reading as much as I could and basically, At this point, I’m a general system theory person as it applies to all systems, biological and social and what we, if you, if we see a phenomenal amount of bullying in a school. And then eruptions of school violence, short of school shooting, [00:31:00] what that points out is that that system is in trouble.

[00:31:03] The system is not working adequately. And it’s the stress of the system not working is showing in the children’s behavior. So it’s not as if we just have a bunch of wandering around children who are misbehaving. What we have is a system that’s not working because the adults, teachers, school personnel; Everybody’s part of that system. And they’re not, they’re not doing their part to prevent what’s going on.

[00:31:42] Al Scott: I think helicopter parenting is something that’s come into the spotlight more frequently where parents almost stunt their children’s development, like coddling them. I feel like when I grew up, we were completely on our own for the most part. You know, come back when the lights, when it, when it’s dark.

[00:31:59] Has [00:32:00] the pendulum swung the other way? In the interim, it is, Is bullying much less prevalent than it was? Is schoolyard violence decreasing, increasing level? Do you have any insight into that?

[00:32:16] Ellen Delara: That’s a tough question because the actual statistics on bullying don’t go back very far. As a phenomenon, we haven’t kept track of it in terms of statistics like you’re saying for, for long enough.

[00:32:33] And further than that, what counts as bullying and whose defining it are other aspects of the issue. So if, if you have adults defining it; you get one statistic. If you have kids defining it, you get another statistic on how, how much it’s happening, how frequent it is. So [00:33:00] what we just generally say at this point in time is there’s about, about one in three kids are bullied, a little less than that are cyber bullied.

[00:33:11] And so in terms of helicopter parents,

[00:33:18] I mean, you’re right. When we for sure when I was a kid, no, no parents were gonna intervene. And now some parents will intervene, but kids typically don’t like that. They find it not useful and they’ve got a lot of good reasons for why it’s not useful. They would like parents to just. Be available to talk with them about potential solution, but not to just charge in like helicopter parents tend to do.

[00:33:51] So I think the rise in helicopter parents has to do with an understanding about, as [00:34:00] I said; the system is not working properly and so they, they’re, they’re feeling like, Okay, somebody’s gotta do something. And indeed, in terms of doing something in my own school district with my own kids, what happened in terms of trying to interrupt bullying in the school had to do with a group of parents and myself included, and a group of teachers intervening with school administrators to get things to change.

[00:34:34] So if your system isn’t working, Just one helicopter parent is not gonna be enough.

[00:34:44] Al Scott: So what, what do you recommend? What, what did your group put forward? What, where should we be going as society to, to make this not be such a traumatic thing?

[00:34:58] Ellen Delara: Okay. The, first the, [00:35:00] first thing is on a continuum. We have to be at the preventive end of things.

[00:35:06] Right now we are always on the reactive end of things. If, if something big happens like horrible things like you’ve allied taxes, okay, Then everyone gets up in arms and tries to figure out what went wrong and what should we do, and then that will all die down again. It will ask any teenager if it’s going to happen again, and they will say, Definitely it will happen again.

[00:35:34] As long as there’s bullying, there will be that kind of school violence. So we have to be at the preventive end, which means helping schools to take a clear and fearless assessment of what is going on there in terms of bullying. Because that is not really something that they do or want to do. [00:36:00] So on.

[00:36:01] That’s on the preventive end of things. In terms of society, you know, we really don’t want to pay attention to this issue. Because as you can see, what we want to now pay attention to is, well, anybody who. Is bullied and they, they can’t take it. And so they become a school shooter. That person is mentally ill.

[00:36:34] And so it looks like we might put some more resources towards mental health. However, that’s not the full problem. That is only, you know, a tip of the iceberg, part of the problem.

[00:36:51] Back to prevention. How do you prevent bullying? Yeah. You teach kids how to be self respecting; [00:37:00] and respect others, and you help them identify what they feel through social emotional learning. So those are some of the things that are on the preventive end of things.

[00:37:18] Al Scott: So, What’s the most effective route?

[00:37:21] Is it intervening educationally with kids? You’ve obviously said that, you know, having parents step in is probably not the best. Kids don’t like that. Should, when should teachers and school officials intervene? Is there like overt violence? Is that the level where they should be stepping in?

[00:37:42] What, what’s, what’s the best balance?

[00:37:47] Ellen Delara: It has to be a whole school approach. So that means then, taking using systems theory, it means that everyone in the system [00:38:00] is contributing to what’s happening. So therefore the best intervention has to be everybody is on board with it. Bullying is not okay, first and foremost, and what are we going to do about it?

[00:38:13] So intervening early on when people see this happening, not just making an assumption, Oh well, you know, kids bully each other. So that assumption is completely dangerous. So it taking a whole school approach means everybody in the school. But further than that, it means also that the parents. Should be involved as a group, not just as like, one parent trying to do something.

[00:38:43] So when I speak to schools where there’s been a problem, I ask for all parents who could possibly attend to come and be present also. So they know that they have a role to play and they need to play that [00:39:00] role. So that’s what would work. That’s what does work.

[00:39:07] Al Scott: So you mentioned teaching kids about emotional stability and, and emotional awareness.

[00:39:13] What should we teach kids? How about should we teach kids to fight back? Should we teach kids to intervene when they see bullying going on? I think teaching kids to intervene is, would be a very helpful thing. I know in many cases, you know, they. Don’t know what to do if there’s bullying going on.

[00:39:35] They’re, they’re not trained or, or taught how to respond. And obviously there’s fear of getting involved. It’s difficult to step up. It takes courage and, and, and self awareness and, and to intervene in a situation like that, how should we be teaching kids to respond to actual bullying events?

[00:39:59] Ellen Delara: [00:40:00] Well, if you have a whole school approach, then the youngest of kids will tell a teacher that something’s happening.

[00:40:08] And then if the teachers are committed to interrupting then they will; because again, I’ll go back to the fact that this is an adult responsibility. Safety in schools is an adult responsibility, and many schools are perfectly happy to place a burden. On bystanders. So yes, bystanders can do something. But you know, if you think about it, how hard is it for an adult?

[00:40:37] Even if you’re in a conversation where somebody is being blatantly racist, it’s very difficult as an adult to even, you know, confront that. So then here we are hoping children will do something where they need so much courage. They may then be the next target if they intervene. So, [00:41:00] you know, some schools are running successful bystander intervention programs called Upstanders.

[00:41:08] And so that, yes, some kids are, have that kind of courage, that kind of, there’s self, you know, somehow they have the self-esteem to be able to do it. And so that’s, that’s a great tool. It, but, But again, I’ll say the caution is that many schools want to use that as the sole intervention, the, the, only tool in the toolbox.

[00:41:34] And it’s not enough and it’s not the kids’ responsibility to create safety. So yes, if we teach kids about how, how they feel. Which is the social emotional learning approach then if they. Feeling angry. If they’re feeling sad, then they can identify it and then they can approach an adult [00:42:00] to talk about that and what to do with it.

[00:42:05] So that’s, that’s why we always emphasize that particular approach. Yeah, I mean, and so yes, for some kids and some adults, By the time that they identify what they feel and how they’re reacting, then they are candidates for good therapy. So there’s that.

[00:42:29] Al Scott: Mm-hmm. This is very interesting work. I love to follow along with the, with what you’re doing and I, you know, I think it would be very interesting to.

[00:42:43] To compare, say the population of bullied people with the population of not bullied people and see if there is any difference in achievement levels or you know, maybe one you have, you know, two extremes. People that have cracked under the pressure and people that have done [00:43:00] well, where the other one is kind of just nice, middle of the road.

[00:43:04] You know, not, not too disturbed. Not in, in either, in either direction. I, it would be an interesting study to, to see that. I don’t know if you’re, What, what are you working on now? What, what’s your current research focusing?

[00:43:18] Ellen Delara: Well, I’m continuing to work on looking at how relationships are impacted because.

[00:43:27] Since everybody either is in one or would like to be in one; then that this seems quite an important aspect for me to look at. Plus, since I’m a therapist then I look at things from that particular vantage point anyway, so I’m looking at that. But also continuing to work on the impact, the impacts for kids.

[00:43:55] Because I really believe that if people could get an understanding of [00:44:00] the impacts for children, they would be more inclined to do something about it. So, so I’m looking at specialized populations at the moment, so kids from minority groups and also LGBTQ plus teenagers. So I’m doing some of that with some colleagues.

[00:44:21]  But you’re right, it’s a really good study to look at people who have been bullied and those who either think they weren’t or they don’t feel like they have any impact from it, and look at various different decisions. In my book, I do talk about people’s impacts on decision making and impacts on.

[00:44:51] Wanting to succeed. So yeah, there’s that. From being bullied, a lot of people said, Okay, I decided I’m [00:45:00] gonna be somebody. People are going, people said people are going to know my name. I thought that was really interesting. So that was sometimes a decision made by people who have been bullied as kids.

[00:45:14] People are gonna know my name.

[00:45:16] Al Scott: Interesting. Then that’s really an interesting result. And I’m, I’m glad that you brought it to our attention. Thank you for, for coming on the Rational View and, and chatting me with chatting with me about this for coming on and chatting. I’m gonna send you a t-shirt.

[00:45:30] Appreciate you spending the time. Thank you so much for, for chatting.

[00:45:35] Ellen Delara: Well, thank you so much. I appreciate the invitation and I will eagerly anticipate my t-shirt. And so thank you very much. Okay. Bye-bye. Bye-bye.

[00:45:53] Al Scott: If you’d like to follow up with more in depth discussions, please come find us on Facebook at the Rational View. Join our discussion [00:46:00] group. If you like what you’re hearing, please consider visiting my patron page @patron.podbean.com/therationalview. Thanks for listening.

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