Dealing with Bullying using Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma informed social work identifies the prevalence of adversity within the lives of clients as a coping mechanisms of some form of trauma. Early trauma reshapes a child’s worldview affecting them further within their psychosocial aspects of their life. In this type of social work, therefore, the professional integrates safety, trust, empowerment and choice within their service to avoid firing up unhealthy relational dynamics (Levenson, 2017).  Child traumatic stress is prevalent and is caused by an event or a series of even that make the child experience emotional or physical harm.  Children who have experienced trauma and violence have a high likelihood to be bullied or bully others. Trauma in some cases makes the children to develop social difficulties making them targets of bullying.  Further, the children who have trauma may be more distressed or desensitized about bullying. In these cases, therefore, the social worker approaches the cases with a trauma informed manner.

In the cases of bullying or getting bullied, he social worker starts working with the child with an assumption that they have a history of trauma. Therefore, the worker seeks out the full picture of the child’s life. It is done by first analysing the symptoms of trauma within the child’s life and acknowledging their importance in shaping the child’s behaviour (Corcoran & Roberts, 2015).   Once these are identified, the worker will create an environment of safety, and trustworthiness. It helps the child to share about their experiences. The worker will then lead the child into a phase of helping them to make a choice about their behaviours and work in collaboration towards improving their condition. The worker would also empower the child in the face of future bullying or getting bullied.

In this procedure, the trauma based social worker look into what happened o the child and not what is wrong with the child. Therefore, they will not treat the bullying or getting bullied, as these two are assumed to be a symptom of past trauma. It also requires to create an environment of safety and trustworthiness to prevent triggering the trauma by creating a situation that resembles the initial traumatic event (Levenson, 2017).  For example, if a child experienced trauma from being shouted at constantly at home, then he becomes a bully, shouting or quarrelling the child will traumatize them.  Social worker than works in collaboration with the child to develop better ways of coping with their problem. Solutions are not forced unto the child but initiated through collaboration (Corcoran & Roberts, 2015).

Trauma based care for children has numerous benefits. It allows for the child to open up more because of the environment of safety and trust. Better sharing helps to solve the problems extensively and create long term healthcare outcomes. Trauma based care deals with the root problem facing the child instead of dealing with bullying or getting bullied, which is just a symptom of trauma (Corcoran & Roberts, 2015). The method is also better placed in dealing with the trauma that arises from bullying.

A trauma informed social worker would not just end the session with just the child, they go further to develop a trauma informed school culture (Blitz & Lee, 2015).  When the students, teachers, parents and policy makers are integrated, there will be change in the general outlook and reduce unhealthy ways of dealing with bullying. There will be a keen focus in behaviour patterns and it will be easier to empathize with the child’s situation. Teachers and parents would act as better mediators to help the children produce better results.



Blitz, L. V., & Lee, Y. (2015). Trauma-informed methods to enhance school-based bullying prevention initiatives: An emerging model. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma24(1), 20-40.

Corcoran, K. J., & Roberts, A. R. (Eds.). (2015). Social workers’ desk reference. Oxford University Press, USA.

Levenson, J. (2017). Trauma-informed social work practice. Social Work62(2), 105-113.

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