Joy Schaverien | Boardong School Syndrome
The aim of this paper is to identify a cluster of symptoms and behaviours, which I am proposing be classified as ‘Boarding School Syndrome’. These patterns are observable in many of the adult patients, with a history of early boarding, who come to psychotherapy. Children sent away to school at an early age suffer the sudden and often irrevocable loss of their primary attachments; for many this constitutes a significant trauma. Bullying and sexual abuse, by staff or other children, may follow and so new attachment figures may become unsafe. In order to adapt to the system, a defensive and protective encapsulation of the self may be acquired; the true identity of the person then remains hidden.This pattern distorts intimate relationships and may continue into adult life. The significance of this may go unnoticed in psychotherapy. It is proposed that one reason for this may be that the transference and, especially the breaks in psychotherapy, replay, for the patient, the childhood experience between school and home. Observations from clinical practice are substantiated by published testimonies, including those from established psychoanalysts who were themselves early boarders.
Boarding, School, Syndrome, Boarding School Syndrome,Psychological effects, psychological damage, damage, phychology, trauma, children, school children
17094
page-template-default,page,page-id-17094,qode-quick-links-1.0,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,qode-theme-ver-11.2,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.2.1,vc_responsive

Boarding School Syndrome

Articles on Boarding School Syndrome

For many years I have observed the lasting damaging psychological effects of boarding schools on those who attended them. In my private practice I have frequently encountered those who were traumatised by the experience. In an article published in the British Journal of Psychotherapy in May 2011 I introduced the term Boarding School Syndrome to identify a set of lasting psychological problems that are observable in adults who, as children , were sent away from their home at an early age to boarding schools. This term has drawn a great deal of media interest being quoted in the national and international press.


Articles in the Press


Guardian Book of the day  8th June 2015


Observer Review by Alex Renton Boarding School Syndrome 7th June 2015


Click here to read – Boarding is as damaging as being taken into care, says therapist
The Independent
23/4/2011


Click here to read – Boarding schools can cause emotional scars, warns psychotherapist
The Times
25/4/2011


See below Article ‘Brits warned to beware of ‘Boarding School Syndrome’

Maclean’s in Canada

23/04/2013

Click here to read the article

 

 

 

Boarding schools debated on Channel 4 News

Jon Snow Presenter

11.April 2017

 

With Julie Robinson, general secretary of the Independent Schools Council, and psychotherapist Professor Joy Schaverien, author of Boarding School Syndrome.

or watch the interview at full resolution on the Channel 4 web site

Journal articles by Joy Schaverien on the psychological impact of Boarding School:

 

BOARDING SCHOOL SYNDROME:

BROKEN ATTACHMENTS A HIDDEN TRAUMA

In the British Journal of Psychotherapy Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 138 – 155, May 2011
British Journal of Psychotherapy – Wiley Online Library

To read the abstract click here:

The aim of this paper is to identify a cluster of symptoms and behaviours, which I am proposing be classified as ‘Boarding School Syndrome’. These patterns are observable in many of the adult patients, with a history of early boarding, who come to psychotherapy. Children sent away to school at an early age suffer the sudden and often irrevocable loss of their primary attachments; for many this constitutes a significant trauma. Bullying and sexual abuse, by staff or other children, may follow and so new attachment figures may become unsafe. In order to adapt to the system, a defensive and protective encapsulation of the self may be acquired; the true identity of the person then remains hidden.This pattern distorts intimate relationships and may continue into adult life. The significance of this may go unnoticed in psychotherapy. It is proposed that one reason for this may be that the transference and, especially the breaks in psychotherapy, replay, for the patient, the childhood experience between school and home. Observations from clinical practice are substantiated by published testimonies, including those from established psychoanalysts who were themselves early boarders.

‘Lost for Words’

in Therapy Today pp. 18-21, April 2011

To read the abstract click here:

Psychotherapy is about the making of meaning. It helps to give people a language for otherwise inexpressible feelings. This is never more important than with the boarding school graduate.

This is because many who attended boarding schools, especially those who went to prep schools from an early age, have lasting problems with communication and intimate relationships. The traumatic impact of early boarding damages the child’s relationship to her or himself and as a consequence the ability to speak of feelings. This is not immediately apparent in psychotherapy but it can be observed in certain behaviour patterns. This has led me to conclude that these constitute a recognisable set of patterns, which I have identified as boarding school syndrome.

 

To read the article download the document ‘Lost for Words’ Click here

‘Boarding school: the trauma of the ‘privileged’ child’

in The Journal of Analytical Psychology Vol,49, No.5, pp 683-706, November 2004

To read the abstract click here:

Abstract: Sending young children to boarding school may be considered a particularly British form of child abuse and social control. The trauma of the rupture with home may be followed by other ordeals such as emotional deprivation and, in extreme cases, physical and sexual abuse. The taboo on expressing emotion, which is common in such institutions, may lead to an encapsulation of the self. Consequently, the needs of the distressed child/self remain active, but unconscious, within the adult. This maybe disguised by an armoured, and very often socially successful, persona. The psychological interplay, between these two facets of the personality, may be detrimental to intimate relationships. In clinical practice the emotional conflict between a desire for intimacy and anticipated exile comes to the fore. Three examples demonstrate how within the transference this may lead to a dependent and erotic atmosphere, which abruptly changes to sever all connection. Changes in the frame, breaks in analysis, and confessions of emotional need are all points at which vigilance is required if such disturbance in analysis is not to end in its abrupt termination.

‘Boarding school: the trauma of the ‘privileged’ child’

r4_logo

Listen to Joy discussing this issue in an interview with Jenni Murray from Radio 4’s Women’s Hour.

 

Share this with someone else...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn