The Roles of the Counselling Professional in Treating Targets and Perpetrators of Workplace Bullying

  • Patricia A. FerrisEmail author
  • Linda Tilley
  • Fiona Stevens
  • Sherri Tanchak
Living reference work entry
Part of the Handbooks of Workplace Bullying, Emotional Abuse and Harassment book series (HWBEAH, volume 2)


Despite a large amount of research on the impact and consequences to the individual targeted for workplace bullying, there is relatively little written about the treatment of the targets of workplace bullying. What has been written has described case studies and discussed treatment processes such as listening, validation and coping strategies. There has been more description of working with a perpetrator of workplace bullying; however, this has been from a coaching perspective rather than a counselling perspective. To our knowledge, the role of a counselling professional in providing counselling to the target and perpetrator of workplace bullying has not been fully explored. This chapter examines the roles of counselling professionals in working with both the target and the perpetrator of workplace bullying, first through the lens of the broad counselling approach and then specifically through the “contextual model” of psychotherapy developed by Wampold (e.g. 2015). We explore the workplace bullying counsellor’s roles with the target and perpetrator in developing therapeutic relationships, the creation of real relationships, issues of transference and countertransference, establishing expectations and providing an approach that teaches health-promoting behaviours. We examine these roles through a review of the extant literature and the authors’ counselling experiences. Finally, the chapter explores the importance and need for a consistent and nurturing practice of self-care.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia A. Ferris
    • 1
    Email author
  • Linda Tilley
    • 2
  • Fiona Stevens
    • 3
  • Sherri Tanchak
    • 4
  1. 1.Pat Ferris ConsultingCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Tilley Psychological ServicesEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Central Psychology ServicesAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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