|A history of the label Shared Concern
method SCm. – How spread is SCm? – What is MSC – “Method of
The history of labels Anatol Pikas has used about his method during three decades
The predecessor of Anatol Pikas’ Shared Concern method, SCm, was his book in Swedish (Så stoppar vi mobbning, Prisma, 1975), which is the first known publication about treatment of cases of bullying. A summary of this book is in an article in English: Treatment of Mobbing in School: Principles for and the Results of the Work of an Anti–Mobbing Group. Scand. J. of Educ. Res. 19, 1975. 2-12. The approach Anatol Pikas used in the 1970’s he later characterised as “Persuasive Coercion method”, PCm.
In 1989 and 1990, SCm was labelled by Anatol Pikas as "Common Concern Method": A Pure Concept of Mobbing Gives the Best Results for Treatment. School Psychology International 1989, 10, 95-104. And: The Common Concern Method for the Treatment of Mobbing. In: Roland, Erling & Munthe, Elanie, (Eds.) Bullying. An International Perspective. 1990. Pp - 91-100.
The final label, Shared Concern method was presented by Anatol Pikas in a two books in Swedish 1987 and 1998 and in English in an article 2002: New Developments of the Shared Concern method. School Psychology International. Vol. (3):307-326. Te article is avaiable at www.pikas.se/SCm/Anatol_SchPs_Inter2002.pdf
The present home-site, focusing on the concept of therapeutic mediation is the latest authorized description of SCm that the author considers as definitive.
How spread is SCm? – Why do some others call i MSC?
Pioneers start implementing a method because they find intuitively that it is effective; average people want to know first "How many use it?" and "What is the evidence that it works?". A Google search of words Anatol Pikas Shared Concern method gave in April 2008 over 800 articles of other researchers on SCm. However, you see that the Method of Shared Concern, MSC is more common (some thousand publications) than SCm. I have had time to check only a limited number of articles about MSC/SCm but those I have seen all refer to Anatol Pikas as the originator.
Why two labels? While sorting out the historical reasons about it we make some findings that illustrate methodological points. When I found the basics of my method I designated it with the Swedish word "gemensam". In the first publication in English mentioned above, I translated it by the word "common", and called my approach the “Common Concern method” (CCm). Later, some native English-speaking friends suggested that it would be better to say “Shared Concern method”, SCm. So I followed their proposal.
At my early workshops in England 1991, I used the both expressions “Method of Shared Concern” and “Shared Concern method”. Peter K. Smith and Sonia Sharp, who had invited me, participated themselves and later referred my method in about 6 pages in their book School Bullying (1994). They say:
Anatol Pikas, a Swedish psychologist, visited Sheffield in June 1991 to train project members and teachers in his method of working directly with bullies. This method, ‘The Method of Shared Concern’, employs a carefully structured script to guide discussion with each pupil involved in bullying incident (Pikas, 1987, 1989). (Smith and Sharp, p 26.) … The Method of Shared Concern has been pioneered in Sweden by Anatol Pikas (1989); in his earlier writings, Pikas calls it the ‘method of common concern’. (Smith and Sharp, p 195.)
So, the name “Method of Shared Concern” was chosen by well meaning people who spread it. As I have been busy with fieldwork I have focused my interest on those people who participated in my workshops and later published their own books or articles. The most well-known of SCm/MSC promoters so far is Ken Rigby, professor at the University of South Australia, Adelaide, who has published several books about bullying. He has arranged good workshop tours for me, and has made an instruction video about SCm/MSC. It is a commercial product that can be acquired at www.readymade.com.au/method/index.htm
I refer to Rigby’s film in order to illustrate a method point. Those people who are playing the bully therapists in film have been participants in my courses. I find them to be excellent performers. One deviation from my own SCm version appears, however. It is that the good bully therapists are scouting information amongst students about the case they are going to treat before their meeting starts. This gathering of intelligence puts the adult in the possession of some kind of conception about the culpability in this particular case. Such scouting would be adequate for a guilt inquest, but not for SCm. A previous exploration counteracts the SCm principle of constructive ignorance – a methodical device that promotes genuinely curious listening to the bully suspects. I believe that those bully therapists, who are brilliant in many aspects, would perhaps think that "pupils involved would neither know it nor sense my scouting". I would say: you can be sure about their trust only if you are genuinely ignorant. I repeat again: use this special ignorance as a means to evoke your own genuine curiosity for listening. That inspires your discussion partner to explain his views to you. It is indispensable for getting material from him for the main topic: a shared solution!
You may, perhaps, understand the above point better if I tell you that in 1973, when I started my first university course in treating bullying, I too did scouting, preceding the meeting with the bully suspects. I even recommended it in my first publications of 1975. The information a bully therapist gathered was used to investigate the guilt. Then I observed that if a bully therapist has a guilt-finding inclination, he or she always will find the guilt. And then you display the sufferings of the victim to the bully … Later on I called such an approach "Persuasive Coercion method", PCm. My Swedish book of 1987 and publications in English emphasise that the present SCm (MSC) is developed as a contrast to the persuasive ingredient in PCm.
Promising new developments of recent MSC/SCm users
I have had invitations from several countries in the 20’s to come and give workshops. My condition has always been that I will come, if the participants I will train in role-plays, have been properly prepared by reading the manuscript of my English book on the Shared Concern method (that I have been improving in two decades). One of them whose answer upon this condition I (in April 2008) wait with great hopes is Frits Goossens, Assistant professor at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Dr Goossens has sent me a copy of his application to get research funds for an innovative project. I read there about his many publications and was greatly interested to find that he has reservations about the now prevailing whole-school-programmes. Dr. Goossens aims to develop the SCm/MSC-approach beyond my guide-lines. I think that this is a promising approach so I informed Dr. Goossens that several versions of the SCm/MSC-concept exist. Why not test the one that the originator Anatol Pikas has been improving for decades? Dr. Goossens answer has been affirmative and we have begun to book data for my giving a course in Amsterdam in August 2008.