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Unformatted text preview: Volume 20, Number 3 The Journal of School Nursing 127 June 2004 Feature Article Bibliotherapy: A Strategy to Help Students With Bullying Katherine E. Gregory, RN, MSN, and Judith A. Vessey, RN, MBA, PhD, FAAN ABSTRACT: Use of bibliotherapy to address childhood teasing and bullying is an innovative approach school nurses should consider as they work to promote a healthy school environment. Children’s books serve as a unique conduit of exchange between parents, teachers, and children. Bibliotherapy, using books to help people solve problems, involves three stages: identification, catharsis, and insight. These stages lend themselves well to coping with the sensitivities related to teasing and bullying. Salient research findings pertinent to teasing and bullying have made their way into the children’s literature and have been well received by children and their families over the course of the Child Adolescent Teasing in Schools (CATS) book review project and web site development. After exposure to a fictional story about teasing and bullying, children have shared their own nonfictional account of this often devastating experience and have come to develop successful coping strategies for dealing with the teasing and bullying that takes place in schools nationwide. KEY WORDS: bibliotherapy, bullying, school nursing, teasing, violence intervention INTRODUCTION Teasing and bullying among school-age children are not new behaviors. Since the inception of the one- room schoolhouse, teachers have been mediating con- flicts between students. When school nursing was in- troduced as part of Lillian Wald’s community health crusade over 100 years ago, one can be certain that these first school nurses cared for the victims of school yard bullying. What is new is that peer teasing and bullying are no longer seen as an annoying but oth- erwise harmless rite of passage, but rather as a chal- lenging problem with the potential for long-term psy- chological sequelae. It has become a leading concern among health care providers, educators, and parents of school-age children. Multidisciplinary research on childhood teasing and bullying is leading to a better understanding of these issues and the development of primary and sec- ondary interventions. School nurses are uniquely po- Katherine E. Gregory, RN, MSN, is a PhD student at the William F. Connell School of Nursing, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA. Judith A. Vessey, RN, MBA, PhD, FAAN, is the Lelia Holden Carroll Endowed Professor in Nursing at the William F. Connell School of Nursing, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA. sitioned to help the school community detect teasing and bullying among youth as well as implement in- terventions aimed to curtail these problematic behav- iors and their resulting health and academic conse- quences. The use of children’s books is one such in- tervention. Broadly defined as bibliotherapy, this method is useful for communicating information about teasing and bullying, helping children learn em-...
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