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Trauma of Boarding School


Did you go to boarding school? Did you enjoy it? Many people do but others are unhappy and troubled while they are there and are emotionally and psychologically affected  even after they leave. Although much has been done recently to improve the boarding school experience, in some ways it has not changed.

The Trauma of Leaving Home

Children, especially those under 12, suffer from suddenly finding themselves in an alien environment surrounded by strangers. They are used to being with family members, friends and pets and coming home to a familiar house where they can relax and play. At the end of the day they go through a familiar bed time routine and sleep in the comfort of their own bedrooms.

Suddenly they are going through the day surrounded by others – not all of whom are friendly! They have to eat along with a crowd of unfamiliar people and even share a bedroom with some of them. There is no respite!

Ameliorating the Trauma

The ethos and culture and rules of boarding school have to be learned. Children adapt in order to fit in and not be teased or excluded. They develop a boarding school persona. In order for the child to survive, psychological defence mechanisms set in.

The Continuing Effect of Trauma

After leaving school, the ex-boarder can be left with outmoded psychological defence mechanisms. These can now be a problem. For example, although the ex-boarder appears confident he (she) can feel unsafe in close relationships. He can have difficulty trusting others enough to allow himself to become emotionally involved. He feels he can only rely on himself and can suddenly turn against others if he feels too emotionally dependent on them.

If you feel that you or someone close to you is suffering from the effects of boarding school, you may like to contact Alicia Smith Consultancy

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