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Archive: How to Spot a Bully, a Tool for Educators and Mental Health Care Professionals

“Beating the Bully” will be taking a holiday break until January. I’ll be reposting some of the most popular articles from the past year until then. Happy holidays! 

If I had to identify the biggest challenge for those of us who work with young people is helping students identify bullying behavior and coming up with solutionsElsbeth Martindale, PsyD, has created a wonderful tool, How to Spot a Bully card deck. Dr. Martindale reached out to me (and was generous enough to send me a deck for my review). I was so impressed with How to Spot a Bully I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you. 

The deck comes with directions that are simple to follow: the dark teal cards ask the child questions to help them determine if their conflict with a peer(s) could be considered bullying. While working with a student, you can give them the teal cards and ask them separate them into three piles, “yes,” “no,” and, “unsure.” If the child is unsure of their answer, Dr. Martindale thoughtfully asks more specific questions on the back of each teal card to help them answer the main question on the front. The child then is asked to put the card in the appropriate pile according to their answer. From there you can help the child understand why they put their card in certain piles.

If the child finds themselves as a target, bystander or bully the deck has three solution decks for each role! I particularly like the solution deck for the bully. Dr. Martindale expresses empathy for the bullying child and helps them understand their behavior from the outside.

I can see using this tool quite effectively with children from Kindergarden to 5th grade. Not only can you come up with a solution but you can use the cards to further explore issues of self-esteem, aggression and conflict resolution with the child you are working with. With some creativity, the use of these cards could be endless!


If you would like to know more about How to Spot a Bully or Dr. Martindale, please see her website at Courage to Bloom.


Archive: How to Spot a Bully, a Tool for Educators and Mental Health Care Professionals

Katherine Prudente, LCAT, RDT

Katherine Prudente, LCAT, RDT is a licensed creative arts therapist specializing in drama therapy. She currently is a counselor with the Freedom Institute Independent School Program providing psycho-educational workshops in over 50 Independent Schools in the metropolitan New York City area. Student workshop topics include: substance abuse prevention, digital citizenship and cyberbullying prevention, relational aggression, stress management and sexual decision making/healthy relationships. In addition to student workshops, Katherine also facilitates faculty and parent workshops regarding substance abuse prevention and digital citizenship/cyberbullying prevention. Katherine maintains a private practice in New York City working with adolescents and adults.

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APA Reference
Prudente, K. (2012). Archive: How to Spot a Bully, a Tool for Educators and Mental Health Care Professionals. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 25, 2019, from


Last updated: 24 Dec 2012
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 Dec 2012
Published on All rights reserved.