Updated: May 8
Interview with Nina Bulajić, CEO and psychologist of Bloom
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THE FIELD OF SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY?
The pandemic caused by COVID-19 has pushed us to review everything we knew until then, to adapt to new circumstances and try to get the best out of them.
Isolation, alienation from peers and physical distancing are a have left a negative mark on the socio-emotional development of children. We think that the consequences will also be felt in the coming period.
On the other hand, adapting to new circumstances, shifting focus to time spent with family and slowing down the hectic pace of life that we had been leading up until then, brought something new and optimistic. Some of the life values and conveniences that we took for granted until now have become luxuries and made us reconsider our priorities.
In the context of school psychology, I want to emphasise the importance of the presence of children in the school environment, so that learning, growth and development can continue in a natural and spontaneous way.
HAS THE CONCERN ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH OF STUDENTS INCREASED SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC?
I would say it has. Isolation and the lack of live social interactions have created a huge number of repressed emotions (anxiety, fear, insecurity) to come to the surface very impulsively and aggressively. The result is an increase in time spent on social networks and the creation of a parallel, cyber reality. The life created on social networks does not reflect the reality of life and young people create a distorted image of themselves, filled with a lack of self-confidence and self-love.
WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU OFFER PARENTS TO HELP WITH THEIR CONCERNS AND GENERAL PANDEMIC CHALLENGES?
First of all, I would tell them that they are not alone, that all families face different challenges and that there is no universal recipe for raising a child. The most important thing is to listen to your children and their emotions and not minimise their problems and challenges they face. From the perception of adults, these problems may sound banal and unimportant - for them it is the most important thing in life at that moment.
AS A PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST WITH OVER TEN YEARS OF EXPERIENCE, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE MOST REWARDING AND CHALLENGING ASPECT OF THE JOB YOU DO?
The most rewarding aspect of my job is certainly witnessing the transformation of children - when they become aware of their vulnerability through challenging life stages and accept it, but at the same time, find the strength to take risks, be brave and authentic. Then I know that the world, thanks to these young people, will become a better and more beautiful place to live.
On the other hand, the most challenging aspect is to remain neutral, because working with children also requires emotional involvement. Being supportive and helpful requires a lot of energy and strength and it is challenging to maintain that constant level. But even in these situations, it is the children who recharge my batteries and restore my enthusiasm.
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?
I find inspiration in everyday life - in the people around me, both professionally and privately. They are all heroes of their daily challenges and their stories inspire me, touch me emotionally and encourage me to go further and push my own limits.
“We are falling. We are breaking. We are failing. But then, We rise. We heal. We are overcoming.”