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Boarding School Syndrome is today recognized as a distinct psychological condition marked by depression, relationship difficulties, and long-term behavioral or emotional issues. Boarding School Survivors are the people who have been affected by this syndrome.

Nick Duffell, a psychotherapist, was the first to develop the term “boarding school survivors.” From the early 1990s, he discovered that ex-boarders shared common qualities, and those who “survived” boarding school were known as boarding school survivors.

Ex-boarders frequently consider therapy for depression, marital issues, and emotional numbness that can result from not living their individual lives. Even seasoned therapists may fail to recognize the extent of the hurt caused by broken bonds and the psychological abuse experienced when a child is sent to boarding school. As a part of society, ex-boarders may believe that attending boarding school is a privilege.

Old traditional boarding school

Boarding School Syndrome is not a medical term, but rather a hypothesis that there is a distinct set of learned behaviors and emotional states that might occur as a result of attending boarding school, and that these behaviors and emotional states can lead to substantial psychological discomfort. Depression, difficulty building connections, and emotional numbness are examples. It’s a term used to describe the long-term effects of boarding school.

Although boarding school is sometimes considered a sign of a wealthy childhood, it can have long-term detrimental implications. Ex-boarders frequently experience depression, interpersonal difficulties, and feelings of abandonment.

Therapists must be aware of and comprehend these symptoms in relation to a client’s educational history, which may aid in identifying and treating ex-boarders.

Ex-boarders have been unable to inform their parents about their pain as children, and as adults, they may be oblivious to their own misery. This may play out in treatment, as they may not believe the therapist would listen to their experiences and stories. They may retell it, missing the emotional effect and covering their pain with a well-practiced jest. Because a child feels their experience is the norm, particularly when it is communicated with others in similar situations, it might be difficult for an adult to see that the attitude or behavior they experienced from others was wrong.

The ex-boarder may seem socially confident, but as a result of the repeated loss, he or she may have a profound and persistent lack of trust in meaningful relationships. It can resurface in adult relationships, manifesting as a fear of rejection and abandonment by subsequent attachment figures. This can lead to emotional detachment, and as an adult, they may cut themselves off from meaningful connections too soon, despite their own wishes and emotional requirements. When the wrath connected with dependency surfaces, this may play out again as treatment becomes more important, and it may end in the therapeutic partnership being abruptly terminated.

Boarding school survivors, commonly known as Boarding School Syndrome, have a wide range of symptoms. Parenting and relationship issues, workaholism, difficulty in taking time out for relaxation, isolation, being perceived as a bully, drug dependence or substance misuse, a fear of inadequacy, as well as physical, sexual and sleep issues are among them.

These and other issues could be the result of a complex combination of neglect and social advantage, of being deported from stable family life to an institution where bullying and abuse are common. This type of schooling is unfit for everyday living and provides a poor foundation for relationships.

Without first recognizing the signs and causes of the problem, the impacts of what youngsters learn amid hot-house pressure cannot be undone. This is the first and most important step. This can be aided by reading our literature.

The next phase, attempting to recuperate and go from “survival” to “living,” is not simple and is rarely accomplished without assistance. It’s because ex-boarders have developed a Strategic Survival Personality and will want assistance in feeling comfortable enough to let their guard down before re-learning how to live normally outside of current institutions, like the workplace.

Where there is a will, however, there is a way. Recovery is feasible and has numerous benefits if awareness of the misery and its causes is established.

Do you recognize any of the symptoms listed below that many ex-boarders or those with boarding school syndrome exhibit:

  • Do you have difficulties with emotional closeness? Are you concerned about it?
  • You can’t stop thinking about something? Do you have trouble finding things to do during vacations or downtime?
  • Are you a control freak or a stickler for details? You may not be aware of this trait, but your partner or children will frequently mention that they feel helpless, right?
  • Do you perform well in your career or finances but struggle emotionally?
  • Do you feel like a loser, or are you terrified of being perceived as one?
  • Do you find it difficult to unwind?
  • Do you ever feel disconnected from your own needs? You enjoy giving to others but don’t devote any time to yourself.
  • Do you get the feeling that you aren’t truly happy or joyous, that you have lost how to play or ‘let your hair down and enjoy yourself?
  • Do you ever feel alone, even when surrounded by others?
  • Do you find yourself avoiding your partner in your intimate relationship?
  • Do you have the worry of becoming unlovable?
  • Are you a workaholic who prefers to work hard rather than spend time with your partner?
  • Do others treat you as if you were a bully?
  • Have you ever battled an addiction?
  • Do you have a habit of not sticking to relationships, and potential partners describe you as “hot or cold”?
  • Do you avoid conflict in your relationship when things aren’t going well? Do you like to be clandestine or covert in the event that a confrontation arises?
  • Do you find yourself always caring for others while struggling to care for yourself?
  • Do you feel that you can offer monetary support for your family but not emotional support?
  • Do you find it difficult to raise children?
  • Do you find yourself trying to stay out of trouble because you’re afraid of being caught?
  • Do you fear being exposed as a con artist or impostor?
  • If you’ve ever had or do you still have sleep or sexual issues?
  • Do you find it easy to become stressed?

Have you answered yes to any of these questions? Have you answered yes to most of these questions? First and foremost, please understand that you are not alone. Many boarding school survivors face difficulties in the areas listed above. Secondly, there are effective conventional and non-conventional therapies available that can help you overcome boarding school syndrome.

It’s a big decision to send your kid to boarding school, so be sure you’ve thought about all of the disadvantages and downsides. Remember that a boarding school student will spend significantly more time there than a day school student, which will have an impact on their psychological and social growth as well as their academic advancement.

Most of the boarding school disadvantages listed below are for the most “intense” type of boarding, full boarding.

Frequent Periods of High Stress

When a child spends all of his or her time at school, he or she may experience significant stress. If somebody else in their “group” at school suffers from bad lifestyle habits like an eating disorder, they may be encouraged to do so. This can happen at day schools as well, although it’s more common in boarding institutions. Similarly, during test seasons, when all of the children in a particular age group are nervous and worried, this might rub off on other students, resulting in a frantic atmosphere.

Home Life is Being Missed

When your kid goes to boarding school, you might expect certain changes at home. Your child may struggle to adapt to being at home life during the vacations; older kids may fight with their parents about their relative lack of independence when at home. You would not see your child as frequently during the school year as you would if they were with you, and this will have an impact on your connection with them, as well as your other children. You might be less “in tune” with their life, hobbies, friendships, and interests and they might feel the same way about their friends and family at home.

More rules, less free time

Children have much less time being alone with their personal interests and thoughts at boarding school due to the extracurricular and extra-academic activities. This could imply less time for reading, having a part-time job, or any of the other key developmental activities available to youngsters who live at home. Some youngsters may want to “rebel” against the norms and regulations of boarding schools. However, this definitely varies by school and child.

Making a Choice

Before making a final decision on where your kid will be educated, it is critical to weigh both the benefits and drawbacks of boarding schools. It is also critical that your child be included in the decision-making phase, regardless of his or her age, because he or she will be dealing with the everyday realities of this type of schooling.

Many parents are ignorant of the negative consequences of sending their children to boarding school, especially when they have moved away from home at a young age. The great news is that psychotherapists are aware of the numerous issues that can arise, and they have developed a program of support to cope with the incredibly distressing boarding school challenges.

Unpleasant patterns of behavior

Children who have boarded but did not appreciate the experience can acquire an unpleasant habit of conduct that will endure as they grow if not treated. This is frequently due to a sudden disruption in the link between parents and children, as well as a lack of safety in an unfamiliar setting.

They may begin to adopt their attitude and personality to cope with survival in numerous instances, trying to handle it since they do not feel capable of being independent or growing up so quickly. They will often appear fine on the surface but suffer on the inside. When it comes to creating new relationships, this will make them extremely reserved and introverted as they mature. They will not be able to depend on anybody else, and rage and anger will likely erupt.

New strategies, Innovative methods to cope with boarding school syndrome

This is where a skilled counselor or therapist may help because they will understand and be able to cope with the boarding school issue. They will have the knowledge and abilities to work with the client, teaching them new ways for living a happy life and connecting with others.

Raising awareness about the negative consequences of boarding school.

We investigate, talk, write and broadcast about the psychological effects of sending children away to boarding schools in order to promote public awareness. We criticize the social system for encouraging this behavior.

Adult ex-boarders should receive psychological assistance.

A therapeutic workshop program for adults should be in place who have realized that their education may have come at a cost and are looking for ways to explore and mend their scars. These renowned programs, have been operating continuously and have benefited many people by allowing them to put portions of their past behind and achieve their true potential. They receive referrals from physicians, community organizations, and counselors. Through an expanding network of professional practitioners, we also provide private therapy for individuals and families counseling.

Therapy professionals should be informed and trained.

Seminars, in-house training, and other related events are offered at renowned therapy institutes to educate and train therapists and counselors about this little-known syndrome and to help them work with this challenging client group. a nationwide network of knowledgeable specialists to whom such individuals may be referred is required. Stronger ties with and receiving support from some of the most senior clinicians and neuroscientists might be highly beneficial.

A residential school that provides therapy to students who are experiencing behavioral or emotional problems is termed a therapeutic boarding school. You’ve undoubtedly looked at a lot of therapeutic boarding schools if you’re seeking assistance for your troubled teen. Let’s take a closer look at these programs to see if they’re appropriate for your teen.

Therapeutic boarding schools in the UK have effectively catered for the rise in environmental, educational, and professional stress. The most crucial feature of any therapeutic boarding school is therapy. Giving troubled teenagers the opportunity to address some of their deeper concerns can open them up to a whole new way of life. As a result, therapeutic programs strive to provide safe, supportive surroundings in addition to counseling so that kids feel safe enough to open up and be vulnerable. When kids are able to confront some of their most difficult internal conflicts, they are frequently better prepared to deal with life issues.

As a parent of a difficult adolescent, you may have previously sought outpatient counseling as a means of assisting your child. So, what makes boarding school therapy unique? While general therapy can be beneficial, therapeutic boarding schools focus on therapies that have proven to be particularly effective with problematic children. Equine therapy, group sessions, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), family sessions, and individual sessions are examples of these therapies.

Instead of just a few sessions every now and then, the purpose of a therapeutic boarding school is typically to develop a whole therapeutic environment. When disturbed kids have a healthy peer group and a support system behind them, they are usually able to make far more improvements than they would in a much less stable and structured environment. Keeping a teen in their existing social circle of friends and influences can sometimes be detrimental.



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