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      Bullying is a form of repeated psychological violence that can manifest itself in all aspects of social life, including school, work and daily interactions. Addressing this complex issue requires a systemic perspective that takes into account all the factors and actors involved. This article proposes to analyze the phenomenon of harassment in different environments and to examine systemic prevention and response strategies.

      School bullying

      Moral harassment in the education system

      Definition and examples of bullying in the school environment

      Bullying in schools can take many forms, ranging from social exclusion to rumors, threats or teasing.

      These actions, when frequent and prolonged, can have severe repercussions on the well-being and academic success of students. Bullying in schools represents a form of psychological violence which manifests itself in repetitive and intentional behavior on the part of one or more students towards a victim who cannot easily defend themselves. This type of bullying includes a variety of malicious acts that go well beyond childish jokes or one-off conflicts that may arise on playgrounds.

      One of the faces of bullying is social exclusion where the victim is deliberately ostracized by their peers. This results in a lack of invitation to group activities, a refusal to communicate and a systematic exclusion which isolates the individual and undermines their sense of belonging to the school community.

      Another method used by harassers is spreading rumors and defamation. This involves sharing false or distorted information about the victim in an attempt to damage their reputation. This pernicious strategy alters the way the victim is perceived by their peers and the educational community, which can lead to lasting and painful stigmatization.

      Threats are also a serious form of harassment. Whether direct or insinuated, verbal or written, threats aim to sow fear and insecurity in the victim. This type of behavior can force the victim into silence and submission, thereby increasing their feelings of helplessness.

      Taunting and insults are often the most visible forms of harassment. Bullies frequently target personal aspects of the victim such as appearance, intellectual abilities, or any other traits that can be used to demean and humiliate. These repeated verbal attacks undermine the victim's self-esteem and can have a significant impact on their emotional and psychological well-being.

      Finally, manipulation and psychological games can play a key role in harassment. Bullies may orchestrate situations where the victim is deceived or ridiculed in front of others, thereby exacerbating their isolation and distress.

      Moral harassment prevention

      The consequences of bullying in schools are often serious and can impact different aspects of the victim's life. Emotionally, the child or adolescent may develop anxiety, depression, and in more severe cases, suicidal thoughts. These emotional disturbances can in turn affect the victim's school life, leading to reduced concentration, reduced class participation, irregular school attendance and sometimes even dropping out of school.

      It is essential that schools implement prevention policies and educational programs that promote a caring and inclusive environment. Teacher training, student education about the consequences of bullying, and parental involvement are essential to creating a school culture where mutual respect and kindness prevail. Clear measures must be established to report and manage incidents of harassment, thereby ensuring adequate support for victims and implementing appropriate sanctions for harassers. By addressing bullying seriously and taking a proactive approach, schools can help ensure the safety and well-being of all students.

      Prevention and Intervention Strategies

      Close collaboration between teachers and therapists is necessary to deal with students' behavioral and educational difficulties. This collaboration begins with a systematic analysis of the teacher's observations to identify the problem and establish an objective for change, while specifying that the role of the therapist is not to replace the teacher but to support him. By reformulating the problem from a systemic perspective, we consider intervention strategies such as observation or experimentation with new behaviors in the classroom. The teacher is thus invited to modify his interaction with students through tasks which may seem paradoxical but which aim to break problematic cycles.

      The indirect approach is favored, particularly for young children and pre-adolescents, where the teacher assumes the role of co-therapist. This strategy seeks to change the student's behavior through that of the teacher, by circumventing resistance to change and by building a solid therapeutic alliance.

      The systemic and strategic approach can offer a new perspective on academic difficulties, emphasizing interactions rather than isolated symptoms. However, the use of this approach is limited in the current education system, partly due to the lack of teacher training in this area. Incorporating systems thinking into teacher training could improve their ability to manage school problems. The teacher, with appropriate support, can be the primary change agent in resolving academic difficulties, but this requires an evolution in training and institutional support.


      Teachers and education professionals: where to train to prevent and know how to manage harassment situations? 

      Teachers and administrative staff must be trained to detect and intervene in cases of harassment. Paris 8 University and LACT now offer a DU dedicated to systemic interventions in the context of education to act and prevent difficult situations in the school environment.

      Read the article :

      Teachers and education professionals: train to prevent and react to difficult situations Teachers and education professionals: train to prevent and react to difficult situations

      Moral harassment in business: A systemic approach

      harassment at work

      Manifestations and implications of moral harassment in the workplace

      In business, moral harassment can seriously harm the working atmosphere, productivity and health of employees. It is often linked to power dynamics and a corporate culture where competition trumps collaboration.

      Moral harassment in the workplace is a phenomenon that can manifest itself in various ways, each of which has a profound and often destructive impact on the professional environment. This form of harassment is characterized by repeated acts aimed at degrading an individual's working conditions, violating their rights and dignity, altering their physical or mental health or compromising their professional future.

      In many cases, bullying is intrinsically linked to the power dynamics that prevail within the organization. It can emerge in environments where hierarchical structures are rigid and superiors exert excessive control over subordinates. Harassment can include constant, unconstructive criticism, repeated assignment of tasks that are unreasonable or below the employee's skills, sabotage at work, or deliberate social isolation and exclusion.

      The impact of such behavior is severe. On a personal level, the employees concerned may suffer from a deterioration in their mental health, marked by increased stress, a drop in self-esteem, or even the development of anxiety or depressive disorders. Physically, chronic stress can lead to a variety of health problems, from headaches and back pain to cardiovascular disease and weakened immunity.

      On a professional level, moral harassment corrodes the working atmosphere. Fear and distrust set in, which can undermine collaboration and increase turnover as employees seek to escape a toxic environment. Productivity can drop significantly, not only because of absenteeism or presenteeism (being physically at work but reduced in work capacity) but also because employee morale and motivation are affected.

      In a corporate culture where competition takes precedence over collaboration, moral harassment can be particularly prevalent. Pressure to achieve results may motivate some to engage in aggressive behavior or use intimidation to eliminate internal competition, thereby indirectly justifying harassment as a means to achieve goals.

      prevent and deal with workplace harassment

      How to prevent and deal with workplace harassment 

      The systemic approach considers situations of harassment – ​​moral or sexual – as an emerging quality of a relational dynamic between two people which has become more rigid over time. What characterizes the relational dynamics of a situation of sexual harassment is that on the first occasion where a person is the target of “remarks or behavior with a sexual connotation” (according to the definition of the labor code) to their On the other hand, his way of reacting to the aggression will not only not be enough to dissuade its author (or authors) from continuing, but this reaction is perceived by him (or them) as a sign of weakness which invites him to continue and repeat this relational game without real consequences for the aggressor.  

      A double-edged regulatory framework

      The regulatory framework aims to protect the victim of harassment and invites them to reveal as soon as possible the situation in which they find themselves trapped, so that their employer can implement a protocol or a plan of action as quickly as possible. specific action, at the first allegation of harassment, as required by the labor code. This protection is sometimes double-edged, depending on how the situation is managed, once revealed:   

      It can, as hoped, dissuade the harasser from continuing his comments and behaviors with a sexual connotation, as long as there is reporting and implementation of the action plan under the responsibility of management; 

      But it does not guarantee either the employer and the people involved in the management of the situation, or the victim themselves, that the confused perpetrator, if he loses face in the eyes of all, will not continue his actions. with harassing effects in another form (moral, in particular).

      Therefore, the systemic approach aims to understand harassment situations from this dual perspective of relational dynamics in order to implement the necessary regulatory actions and identify the best way to support the victim of the situation, aiming to neutralize better the actions of the harasser.


      Read also: 

      Harassment a systemic reading

      Harassment, a systemic reading 

      Systemic therapy presents itself as a comprehensive and inclusive method for addressing and resolving bullying issues. This approach goes beyond the harasser-victim dyad and examines harassment as a manifestation of dysfunctions within a broader system, which may be familial, social, or professional. By considering multiple influences such as organizational culture, social norms and family dynamics, it approaches bullying as a telltale sign of a systemic problem rather than an isolated problem.

      The emphasis on interactions and relationships between individuals is central to the systems approach. By exploring communication patterns and interpersonal dynamics, we seek to understand how dysfunctional behaviors can emerge and be perpetuated within groups or networks. This understanding can reveal that harassing behavior is actually the result of complex dynamics, where even the harasser may be caught in a cycle of responses to pressures or unresolved issues.

      The systems approach is relevant in a multitude of contexts, from family and school settings to businesses and other institutions. It allows us to consider external influences, including those of a cultural or societal nature, which can fuel or perpetuate harassment. It paves the way for interdisciplinary collaborations, for example between therapists, human resources advisors, teachers and families, for a more effective resolution of cases of harassment.

      In systemic therapy, metacommunication, or communication about communication, plays a crucial role. Practitioners explore the nature of the emotions of the parties involved and how they communicate. They can use techniques like reframing to help people understand their place in the system and become aware of their behavior.

      Systemic therapies promote solutions that are mutually agreeable and emphasize collective recovery, which is particularly useful in group sessions in the workplace or school setting. The goal is not only to treat immediate symptoms but also to rebuild self-esteem and support the emotional recovery of victims.

      Finally, the systems approach seeks to bring about lasting change by modifying faulty patterns of behavior and communication within the system. It works to empower all parties involved, aiming to establish a healthier dynamic and prevent recurrences. For children and adolescents facing school bullying, as well as their parents, systemic therapy offers strategies for collaboration and active engagement that can be very beneficial. The method also provides both victims and bullies with tools to develop assertiveness skills and positive alternative behaviors respectively, while integrating emotional regulation techniques to manage reactions related to bullying.


      Read also: 


      How to train in the systemic and strategic approach? 

       LACT offers several training courses: 


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      A team of more than
      50 trainers in France
      and abroad

      of our students satisfied with
      their training year at LACT *

      International partnerships

      The quality certification was issued under
      the following category of actions: Training action


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