Dr. Don Belau (http://www.nelossteam.nebraska.edu/) shares his thoughts on two topics: his research and work on bullying and the separate topic of the history of the LOSSTeam (www.lossteam.com) conference and the benefits it provides.
With regards to the LOSSTeam conference: it provides a forum for LOSSTeams from around the world to come together and share their work, insights, and, experience. He emphasizes how this work has helped build trust with law enforcement agencies at a local level.
Dr. Belau describes the dynamics of bullying, self-injurious behavior, their impact on at-risk-for-suicide children, and how to deal with the situation. A critical component for success is the acceptance of the at-risk child by their family. Friends and other key adults are important as well since the at-risk child may approach parents last, talking with others first.
Behavior techniques for changing behavior are explained for both the bully and victim. Included in these changes are the 3 D’s:
– Diffuse the words;
– Distract the bully’s thinking through verbal or physical techniques, and;
– Distance oneself from the bully.
Roll play and practice is encouraged.
The impact of fear and loss of control are discussed.
Schools can form support groups to practice the 3 D’s.
The impact of peer groups is discussed along with the ineffectiveness of just shaming/blaming the bully and calling their parents. Giving up on the bully can hinder improving the situation for the at-risk child. Better is teaching the bully pro-social skills, different responses, and the value of making amends.
Switching topics back to the LOSSTeams and what they can provide: support to those who survive suicide. The is especially true when those around the survivor go back to their daily routines.
The idea of having a sponsor frame-of-mind is discussed.
Dr. Belau shares the value of better training for 2 groups of people:
– Clinicians helping those with suicidal ideation as well as survivors of suicide, and;
– Those in colleges and universities training in the field of mental health.
Emphasis is placed on healing with the heart rather than only having a cognitive focus.
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