I have been a school psychologist and psychotherapist for thirty-three years, and my passion has been reduction of aggression. I worked in Israel from 1978 to 1988, and then returned to live in the U.S., where I worked for the NYC Dept. of Education till 2002. For the past ten years, I have been working full time training mental health professionals, educators and schools in a program I call Bullies to Buddies. It is a unique approach to reducing aggression and establishing harmony by using highly structured role-plays that teach people the practical application of the Golden Rule. While many anti-bullying activists are proclaiming the Golden Rule to be the solution to bullying, they tend to fail in reducing bullying because they believe this rule means "Don't be a bully," in the hope that if they convince everyone to become nice, bullying will disappear. However, this approach does not address the real problem, "What do you do when people are NOT nice to you–when they bully you?" And this is the real purpose of the Golden Rule: to teach us to be nice to people even when they are mean to us. When we think of promoting empathy, we tend to think of increasing empathy of bullies toward their victims. My role-plays also foster empathy (the awareness of how others feel) of victims toward their bullies as well––in other words, universal empathy. My role plays show people that this application of the Golden Rule creates win/win situations.
I have written and created books and products for dealing with bullying in school, the workplace and the home. I created the website, www.bullies2buddies.com, that provides free materials that kids and schools can use for reducing bullying. I also write a regular Psychology Today blog called A Psychological Solution to Bullying (by "Psychological", I am contrasting it with "Legal," which is the common way of thinking about bullying–it is being treated like a crime that will not be tolerated, and this approach is causing more harm than good).
The professionals and schools using my approach are experiencing what I believe to be unprecedented success. Both the adults and the students love the approach because it fun and actually gives them the concrete tools they need for success.