[Self-Study] The Trauma Hiding in Plain Sight: Workplace Bullying, Treatment Considerations, and a Case Example of Recovery as Seen through the Structure of the Expressive Therapies Continuum
It’s difficult to fathom, but workplace bullying is a commonplace occurrence in job settings worldwide. Workplace bullying is a form of relational violence that leaves targets with mental health issues ranging from anxiety and depression to suicidality. The likelihood that members of the art therapy community will provide treatment to targets of workplace bullying and/or be targets of workplace bullying themselves is high. Yet, clinicians in general know very little about how to support targets and what to do if one is a target.
This presentation is being provided by an art therapist who was a target of workplace bullying and now volunteers with the National Workplace Bullying Coalition’s target resource team. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the cast of characters and the plot typically involved in workplace bullying so they can recognize and accurately contextualize the people and events encompassed within this traumatic experience. Attendees will also develop an awareness of common bullying tactics, which span from incivility to physical violence and exist on a continuum of implicit to explicit aggression. Resources for targets, bullies, and therapists will be covered, as will treatment considerations that address the unique needs of targets; standard trauma treatment alone does not suffice due to the nuances of workplace bullying that most therapists aren’t aware of.
The presentation will conclude by exploring the presenter’s recovery from workplace bullying as viewed through the structure of the Expressive Therapies Continuum (ETC). The ETC is a nervous system-oriented assessment and treatment framework that was co-developed by art therapy pioneers Vija Lusebrink and Sandra (Kagin) Graves-Alcorn. Components and levels of the ETC will be highlighted as the presenter’s daily “doodle diary” is mined for clues about shifts in information processing and the restoration of physical, emotional, and intellectual integration.