Boarding School Syndrome: The Psychological Trauma of the ‘Privileged’ child: Professor Joy Schaverien

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Date(s) - 10/06/2017
10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Oxford - Friends Meeting House


Boarding School Syndrome: The Psychological Trauma of the ‘Privileged’ child

imgresProfessor Joy Schaverien

In her book published in 2015 Joy Schaverien identified a cluster of symptoms and behaviours which she proposes be classified as ‘Boarding School Syndrome’.  Children, girls as well as boys, may be sent to boarding school at an early age. This sudden and irrevocable loss of their primary attachments constitutes a significant trauma for many.  Bullying and sexual abuse may follow, rendering new attachment figures unsafe. 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 may continue into adult life, distorting intimate relationships. In psychotherapy the transference dynamics may replay the hidden childhood trauma of repeated losses.

This talk will be illustrated with pictures made by patients in psychotherapy. These vividly convey how this syndrome manifests in adults in psychotherapy and calls for a particular psychotherapeutic approach. Discussion will widen to consider working with other traumatised individuals in psychotherapy.  Consideration will also be given to parallels with children in the care of the local authority. It is hoped that there will be time for discussion and participants are encouraged to bring their own clinical thinking about their ex-boarder patients and other childhood traumas.

Joy Schaverien, PhD, is a Training Analyst of the SAP in private practice in the East Midlands. She is also a Training Analyst and Supervisor for the British Jungian Analytic Association, Visiting Professor for the Northern Programme for Art Psychotherapy and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Analytical Psychology.  Author of a number of books and articles including The Revealing Image: Analytical Art Psychotherapy in Theory and Practice, 1992 and still widely read, The Dying Patient in Psychotherapy, 2002 a full length case study of the erotic transference and boarding school trauma. Her most recent book is Boarding School Syndrome: The Psychological Trauma of the ‘Privileged” Child published by Routledge in June 2015.

Chair: Barbara Levick


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