On the last track, we discussed steps five and six of the direct intervention stage. These steps are agreeing upon actions and conditions, and reevaluating goals regularly.
On this track, we will discuss four steps in a technique for structured termination of joint sessions for internet bully and victim. These four steps are, setting the stage, introduce the rationale for termination, introduce preparation tasks, and the final joint meeting.
The model I have used for joint counseling for internet bully and victim emphasizes independence, and relies on each student increasingly to take control of their relationships as their interpersonal skills improve and tension levels decrease. As you are well aware, to further this emphasis on independent improvement, ending dependence on the therapy relationship as early as possible may be key to promote additional gains. On the rest of this track, I will outline the specific organizational structure I have found useful for successful termination of joint sessions for internet bully and victim.
Raoul, 14, had discovered a web page entitled "Raoul haters" at the start of the school year posted by some of his classmates. The website had spread rumors about Raoul’s sexuality, and had encouraged him to "leave school and never come back." Initially Raoul had been so upset that he had left the school for a period of two months and was home schooled. Raoul’s mother had agreed to home school Raoul for a short period of time as long as he participated in conflict resolution therapy.
However, Raoul and the student who had started the website, Janine, had made solid progress in joint session. At first Janine had not wanted to participate in joint session, but when told she would be suspended or expelled if she did not participate, Janine had agreed the session were in her best interest. Raoul had been able to return to school, and Janine had begun limiting her internet usage voluntarily to avoid temptation. Recently, Janine and Raoul reported that they had been able to stand next to each other in the lunch line without feeling tension.
4 Steps to Structured Termination
Step # 1 - Setting the Stage
A first step in the termination process is setting the stage. Clearly, this first stage of the termination process may take place without the realization of the students involved. When it became clear that both Raoul and Janine were able to monitor, reevaluate, and revise their relationship, I began shortening their joint session, and focusing almost exclusively on gaining updates, emphasizing the benefits of their progress, and reinforcing the good work both Raoul and Janine were doing. I found that this gradual process helped prepare Raoul and Janine for the formal termination steps of the last two joint sessions.
Step # 2 - Introduce the Rationale for Termination
A second step in the termination process is to introduce the rationale for termination during the next to last session. I stated to Raoul and Janine that since they had both made great progress, we would be only having one more joint session together. Understandably, this can be very anxiety producing for both internet bully and victim. Raoul stated, "I like these sessions. We’ve been doing really well, but if we stop, things could go wrong again! Besides, there are other things we could talk about here."
I stated to Raoul, "Feeling anxious is very understandable. Yes, you both have done very well and you keep doing better all the time. I’ve been pleased to see how well you are getting along and deal with the problems come up. But both you and Janine have been handling these problems almost all on your own now. Most of what we talk about in sessions now are things you two have already worked out together. This is the way it is supposed to be, and you should both be very proud of that. I’ll always be here if you need me again, all you need to do is ask. Right now though, other people need me more."
Step # 3 - Introduce Preparation Tasks
In addition to setting the stage and introducing the rationale, a third step in the termination process is to introduce preparation tasks to be done between the next to last session and the last session. After addressing the questions both Raoul and Janine brought up. I stated, "Next week we will meet one more time and do some reviewing of how far you have come and how you got there. Before this session, you might make a list of what you each feel you have learned, and how this will help you in the future.
I’d also like you to look at yourselves and the other people in your lives this week to see how things have changed and what you think could still be better. We’ll talk more about how it feels to stop these meeting too. I’m pleased with how far you’ve come, and I’m excited to see where you are headed."
Step # 4 - Final Joint Meeting
A fourth stage is the final joint meeting. I have found that it is often easiest for the students involved to keep the structure of the final meeting similar to other sessions. One difference, however, is that while the subjects stay very much the same, there is more of an emphasis on review of long-range development rather than just occurrences since the last session.
Final Meeting Topics
I also find it useful to discuss the following topics in the final meeting:
-- 1. The progress that has occurred
-- 2. The improved skills that have brought about the progress
-- 3. The work each student has done on her or his own to improve things
-- 4. Each student’s individual and joint plans for future growth
-- 5. The actions and skills they will use to work on further progress
-- 6. Feelings of anxiety, loss, sadness, excitement, relief, and others that are not unusual to have about a final meeting
-- 7. That specific people are available to them to help when difficulties arise.
Think of your Raoul and Janine, whose joint sessions following an incident of internet bullying are drawing to a close. How does your current plan for termination compare to the technique which I have outlined in this track?
On this track, we have discussed four steps in a technique for structured termination of joint sessions for internet bully and victim. These four steps are, setting the stage, introduce the rationale for termination, introduce preparation tasks, and the final joint meeting.
On the next track we will discuss four specific therapeutic strategies for victims of internet bullying. These four strategies are avoid giving the internet bully an emotional payoff, be verbally assertive, do something unexpected, and practice necessary behaviors.
- Smith, F. (2006). Going after cyberbullies a group of Internet "angels" is out to protect children. Prevention, 58(9), 143-144.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Barlett, C. P., & Helmstetter, K. M. (2018). Longitudinal relations between early online disinhibition and anonymity perceptions on later cyberbullying perpetration: A theoretical test on youth. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 7(4), 561–571.
Kowalski, R. M., Dillon, E., Macbeth, J., Franchi, M., & Bush, M. (2020). Racial differences in cyberbullying from the perspective of victims and perpetrators. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Advance online publication.
Yang, C., Sharkey, J. D., Reed, L. A., & Dowdy, E. (2020). Cyberbullying victimization and student engagement among adolescents: Does school climate matter? School Psychology, 35(2), 158–169.
What are four steps in the structured termination of joint sessions for internet bully and victim?
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