Q: Please tell us a little about yourself, your occupation, and what a day at work looks like for you?
A: My name is Brianna and I am a Clinical Psychologist who mostly works with children and adolescents. A day at work consists of seeing clients, which usually means doing something creative together while we’re solving life problems and learning strategies to be more resilient. I love the creative side of my job, and I love connection with people.

Q: Before working in your field, what preconceived ideas did you have surrounding bullying?
A: I have known about bullying for a long time, and in primary school I tried to be the helper for my friends who were being teased or bullied. I’ve always had a strong sense that it was unfair and unjust, but always wondered what was going on for a person that would make them treat another human with such disrespect. I figured they were going through something themselves.

Q: How have your thoughts changed?
A: I have now answered that question a bit more, about why someone would do it. Having studied psychology and sociology, I understand about peer pressure and wanting to be liked, accepted and celebrated by peers, and how some people do this by putting others down. I understand about how trauma works, and how often chaos and disruption in relationships at home can spill over into bullying at school. I also understand about mental health, and how big feelings and poor impulse control can change the way a person treats someone else.

Q: In your opinion, what connects schoolyard bullying to adulthood? What are the consequences to that connection?
A: I think some people don’t grow as much as they need to, to shed the bullying mentality. The trauma continues affecting them, the need to be cool continues affecting them, and they haven’t done the work on themselves to grow the insight and empathy to move past their behaviour. The consequences are that we have adults who treat other people poorly, and the cycle continues into families and the workplace. It makes me so sad.

Q: What would you say to your younger self if she was being bullied?
A: I’d say, “little human, you are worthy and valuable, even though some people don’t see it. They don’t get to decide how cool you are, you’re just cool because you exist. Think about all the people who love you and focus on them. Focus on your strengths, your passions and your goals. You’re going to move past this but the bullies will be stuck in their funky behaviours. You’re the winner here.”


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