Professional referral

Michael, aged 11, was a provocative target. His self-esteem was poor due to his mother's prolonged postnatal depression. Consequently, he was bullied and he bullied back. After the first few counselling sessions, the bullying had almost ceased. By the sixth session he was a much happier boy. His school report said, 'Throughout this year it has been incredible to see Michael flourish into a magnificent young man.'

I once saw a child who had been bullied for six years. The school tried to refer him to a psychologist, but his parents didn't want to draw attention to the bullying. They thought it would mean he had a problem (when he had one already), would make it worse (but they did, by doing nothing) and he would feel stigmatised (he did already). Although he'd suffered for years, treatment took just six sessions! But even so, don't wait: the longer you wait, the longer it may take for a therapist to help your child and teach her coping strategies. There is also another risk: the scars may not be evident, but may lie dormant and have a more destructive impact later on.

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