Although Boarding School Syndrome is not an official psychiatric diagnosis, it is increasingly recognised as a serious condition, leading to psychological distress.  It is thought to manifest as a cluster of emotional states and learned behaviours that can occur from growing up in a boarding school.

Get Help With Thishttps://booking.setmore.com/scheduleappointment/a8f107ea-a719-4c6f-a9e5-6b196682c27d/services/s93a224fc7559d85c748ebac20ae8f5fe8657dbbe?source=settingsWhat Is Boarding School Syndrome?

Boarding School Syndrome was coined in 2011 by Jungian psychoanalyst Joy Schaverien, PhD. It describes the potential psychological, emotional, and behavioural impact to adults who were sent away to boarding school at a young age. As adults, they may be incredibly successful in working life, but also suffer mental health problems. These include, anxiety, depression, and trauma, and for some a difficulty in communicating, and maintaining intimate relationships. Schaverien developed an acronym to help understand the issues, ABCD: A for abandonment, B for bereavement, C for captivity and D for dissociation.

Abandoned is how young children might feel when they are taken from the security of home, to a place where they are under the control of adults they don’t know. Children may therefore expect rejection and find it difficult to trust in loving relationships.

Bereavement may be called ‘homesickness’ and refers to the mourning and devastation that children can feel at losing their family and having minimal contact with them.

Captivity refers to the boarding school environment which has much in common with prison life. Daily life is highly regimented, with strict meal and bed times, and children have to ask permission to leave.

Dissociation is a mental process whereby individuals disconnect from their thoughts, memories, feelings, or sense of identity.

So if you attended boarding school as a child and are experiencing difficulties you may benefit from working with a therapist.

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