Boarding School Syndrome Counselling

Boarding School Syndrome Counselling

June 01 2023 TalktoAngel 0 comments 885 Views

Boarding School Syndrome involves the psychological trauma that can result from the experience of being sent away to boarding school. It was first recognised as a condition by Jungian analyst Professor Joy Schaverien around a decade agoSending kids away to boarding school is a tradition among affluent communities and the upper classes. It is regarded as a privileged path that is covered in excellent opportunities. Private boarding schools provide students a top-notch education and increased chances of admission to prestigious universities. In actuality, 90% of boarders enroll in their preferred university. Online Counselling for Boarding School Syndrome often involves exploring past experiences, working through difficult emotions, and learning new coping strategies with help of  Best psychologists in India.

Unique learning opportunities, smaller class sizes, and excellent career prospects are just a few of the many advantages of a private education. However, research indicates that young children who are sent to boarding school may experience "irrevocable loss of primary attachments" and that "for many, this constitutes a significant trauma."There can be long term impacts on the child due to separation.

What is Boarding School Syndrome?

The term "boarding school syndrome" was first used by Jungian psychoanalyst Joy Schaverian, author of Boarding School Syndrome: The Psychological Trauma of the "Privileged" Child. She compares a child's experience going to boarding school to being placed in foster care.

When a youngster is sent to boarding school, it is done so on the pretence of giving them a special chance. The youngster is aware that their misery is not their fault. The youngster adapts to their new life without anybody nearby to comfort them and builds armour to cover up their feelings of vulnerability.In her practice in the UK, Schaverian noticed a distorted pattern of symptoms and behaviors among boarding school students, which made her more conscious of the negative effects of the institution.

She found that many people had buried trauma and were unaware of the link between their present problems and their terrible boarding school experience as a child.

In order to survive, Schaverian observed that people who boarded had created a "defensive and protective encapsulation of the self." "The genuine identity of the person remains secret as a result,"According to Schaverian, this is a serious trauma that persists into adulthood and affects intimate relationships.

Hidden trauma and bereavement

A young child who is sent to boarding school loses both their home and their connection figures. Some students who are sent to study abroad might not even get the chance to return home for the holidays. Children cannot comprehend this tragedy. Because of a fear of being teased or harassed, severe emotional distress is frequently hidden, some of them suffers from PTSD or complex PTSD.

The forcible removal of children from their parents causes distress. A youngster needs to develop the ability to live independently of their parents (or nannies). It's like discovering how to live without love. However, the parents, school, professors, and older pupils minimize this significant loss for the child, who is grieving, and experiencing home sickness and heartbreak. In this circumstance, a child soon learns to hide their genuine emotions. Their parents and professors frequently compliment them on their good fortune. Additionally, crying is simply not acceptable at boarding schools.

Those who are allowed to return home for the holidays experience the same anguish again when they are taken away. Bereavement and broken attachment have a recurring pattern. A disciplined boarding school environment causes the emotional anguish to be severely suppressed.

Abuse and bullying

Bullying is frequently accepted at boarding schools because it's a 24/7 experience there and there's nowhere to hide. In spite of the fact that boarding schools are a melting pot of emotions, many of these feelings aren't accepted or talked about. There is really nothing to be done; making up stories only makes matters worse.

Bullying doesn't just happen to students. Bullying occurs in non-boarding institutions as well, but a significant distinction for boarders is their tenacity. There is nowhere to hide, and neither the parents nor the siblings can intervene. There is no affection or support. Children find it difficult to comprehend why their parents have sent them to ‘hell’.

Also prevalent is sexual assault in boarding institutions. In the setting of a boarding school, abusers feel empowered since their parents are not there to spot the warning indications of abuse. If they feel abandoned by their parents, they may also misjudge the situation and like the attention.

Dissociation as a survival technique

A change in the way the mind processes information is called dissociation. You can separate yourself from your thoughts, feelings, experiences, environment, and even your identity. Dissociating from emotional turbulence is a typical survival strategy among boarders.

Dissociation is described as "an adaptive defence in response to extreme stress or trauma" by Steinberg and Schnall (2001), and it is characterized by memory loss and a feeling of disconnection from oneself or one's surroundings.This technique aids boarding school students in overcoming their traumatic and demanding circumstances.

Since boarding school syndrome is not a medical term but rather a theory or term created to explain a group of symptoms and behaviors, the majority of people don't seek help for it. The majority of the time, people seeks assistance to deal with emotional issues including general depression, relationship issues, or other emotional issues.

The effects of boarding school on a person are typically not acknowledged by that person. They might actually think of their education as extraordinary and a privilege. By projecting a false sense of independence, the neglect or attachment problems are concealed. Usually, during psychotherapy, the effects of boarding school become clear to the patient.

Contribution: Dr (Prof) R K Suri, Clinical Psychologistlife coach & mentor TalktoAngel & Ms Aditi Bhardwaj, Psychologist



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