Workplace bullying is a complicated issue that entangles itself into every aspect of one's life.  However, for some professions, it becomes more complex when you are experiencing bullying and working with people who are bullied.  The question is can you work with targets if you are a victim yourself

For medical and mental health professionals, this is often a dilemma they must maneuver through on a regular basis because these are high risk professions for workplace bullying.  As such, medical and mental health workers may be victims bullying themselves while offering suggestions to their clients and patients who are also targets.  This puts them in an extremely difficult position. 

Medical and mental health professionals are in the business of caring for people often when they are most vulnerable.  They are exposed to hearing people’s life stories, including accounts of workplace bullying.  They give out lots of advice to their clients and patients about dealing with workplace bullying.  At the same time, they may be experiencing workplace bullying themselves.

Here are some suggestions for medical and mental health professionals who find themselves in this position.  First, it is vital that professionals have an awareness of this dilemma.  This recognition allows the medical or mental professional to start to address how being a victim is impacting their patient and client care. 

Second, it is vital that they receive education specifically on workplace bullying.  Knowing about bullying is key to coping effectively with it as a target as well as being able to give solid advice to patients and clients. (Check out my featured article about training on bullying for professionals.) Without specific training on workplace bullying, it is likely these professionals are managing bullying like conflict.  Thus, putting themselves and their clients at risk for increased bullying. 

Medical and mental health workers need to ensure that they are applying their education on bullying to themselves.
  This includes documenting as well as utilizing supports and other professions to help them cope as a victim.  Being able to take care of themselves as a victim will only strengthen their ability to help others.

Finally, medical and mental health professionals must try to remain objective and separate their own experience from bullying from that of their patients and clients.  Techniques like self-talk and role-playing can assist professionals with this.  This helps ensure that they are giving are effective guidance rather than suggestions about ways they wish they could deal with their bully. Professionals need to be aware that they are not oversharing about their own experiences and utilizing the helping relationship to cope with their workplace bullying.  They need to be able to step away from their patients and clients if they feel themselves losing their ability to be objective.

This week, if you are a target of workplace bullying, make sure you are taking care of yourself.  This helps you as well as your patients and clients.

Don’t forget to check out my survival guide if you are a target of workplace bullying.  If you or your organization is experiencing workplace bullying, please contact me at jankircher@jankircher.com or (320) 309-2360. You can also visit my website at www.jankircher.com. Help is out there. 



04/02/2017 8:27pm

Bullying in a workplace is inevitable. You must have to be careful in interacting with other people. Though it is needed to have a good relationship with your workmates, you have to be reminded that they're still strangers to you. Do not open up yourself to them quickly. It may be used against you. I learned from my experience during my first job. I was new so I'm the only one not used to how things work there. Anyway, just be reminded that you can only depend on yourself. In the end, you can only trust yourself.

05/26/2017 2:02am

Bullying is very prevalent not only in school ground, but everywhere. Bullying chooses no specific age group. Most commonly, it happens with children. Though, it can also happen on adults. Bullying is existent even in a workplace. I must agree with you. We must not pretend that we are not aware of it. We must make the necessary actions.


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