Stepping Out to Come Back In
Chaya, a group mentor at Kav L’Noar was getting ready to run a group for 13 year old girls at the beginning of the school year when she was faced with a dilemma. One of the girls who was placed in her mentoring group, Rachel, had been bullying another girl in the group, Nurit, the year before in a school that they had both previously attended. Rachel’s abuse of Nurit was so severe that the school felt that there was a need for extreme intervention. What was Chaya supposed to do? Rachel was participating in the group because she was in sincere need of help. At the same time, Nurit’s wounds were fresh, seeing Rachel in the group would be really hard for her. Chaya was unsure of whether to have Nurit confront Rachel in the group or whether it would be better to keep one of them out of the group.
Empathy for the Bully
Chaya brought this issue to her clinical supervisor. Her supervisor recommended that for the time being, Rachel should be mentored individually and hopefully would be able to join the group at a later date even though normally students don’t join groups in the middle of the year. That decision led Chaya to learn about Rachel. Her family life was hectic, her parents had recently divorced and she was no longer in touch with her mother. Her father was struggling to take care of Rachel and her siblings. Rachel was channeling her rage outward. Over time, Chaya was able to help Rachel learn about her own feelings regarding her family. One day, Rachel came to see herself as responsible for forming caring and respectful relationships on her own. She said to Chaya “I’ve been so upset since my parents split up and I was so angry, but that is no reason for me to have hurt others so much.” Through seeing her own pain she learned to see the pain of others too.