Floyd Godfrey, PhD


Emotional Impact on Teens Who are Bullied or Harassed

By Floyd Godfrey, PhD

Bullying and harassment among teenagers are pervasive issues that significantly impact their mental and emotional well-being. These negative interactions can lead to lasting psychological trauma, particularly in severe cases such as those experienced by teens in Gilbert, Arizona, involving the Gilbert Goons. This group gained notoriety for their aggressive behavior towards peers, underscoring the urgent need for effective strategies to support affected youths.

Psychological Trauma from Bullying

The experiences of teenagers who endure bullying and harassment can lead to complex trauma, which manifests in various psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and severe trust issues. Research indicates that the repeated stress of being bullied can alter the brain’s response to stress, increasing the risk of mental health disorders (Copeland, Wolke, Angold, & Costello, 2013). In Gilbert, the actions of the Gilbert Goons have spotlighted the acute distress such groups can inflict, necessitating community and school-based interventions.

Educational Strategies

Educating teens, parents, and educators about the signs of bullying and the importance of timely intervention is crucial. Schools must implement comprehensive anti-bullying policies that are actively enforced to protect students. Moreover, educational programs should include empathy training and conflict resolution skills to cultivate a supportive school environment. Empowering students to speak out and stand against bullying behavior is essential in dismantling these harmful dynamics.

The Role of Therapeutic Intervention

Therapeutic intervention plays a critical role in healing and recovery for victims of bullying. Therapy can help individuals process their experiences, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and rebuild their self-esteem. Local mental health professionals can offer targeted support to address the specific traumas associated with such high-profile cases of harassment.

Therapists, Counselors and Coaches should employ evidence-based approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and trauma-focused CBT to help teens reframe negative thoughts and alleviate emotional distress. Group therapy can also be beneficial, providing a safe space for victims to connect with others who have had similar experiences, thereby reducing feelings of isolation and stigma.

Encouragement and Hope

While the impact of bullying can be profound, recovery is entirely possible with the right support and resources. It is vital for communities to rally together and provide the necessary tools and interventions to assist teens in overcoming the effects of bullying and harassment. With continued education, therapeutic interventions, and community support, teens can heal from their experiences and lead fulfilling lives.

Floyd Godfrey, PhD, is a Certified Mental Health Coach and has been guiding clients since 2000. He currently speaks and provides consulting and mental health coaching across the globe. To learn more about his services, please visit his website: www.FloydGodfrey.com.


Copeland, W. E., Wolke, D., Angold, A., & Costello, E. J. (2013). Adult psychiatric outcomes of bullying and being bullied by peers in childhood and adolescence. JAMA Psychiatry, 70(4), 419-426.

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