Boarding school syndrome: The anatomy of a trauma

02073 782 050 02073 782 050 / 02073 782 008 02073 782 008
11th March 2023, 10.00am - 4.00pm
Counsellors and trainees
Qualified practitioners £85, Counselling/Psychotherapy trainees £75, WPF Therapy trainees/staff £60

This workshop will be delivered via Zoom.

This insightful and thoughtful workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to learn in depth about the trauma of early boarding. In addition to this,Prof. Schaverien will raise awareness of the nature of this trauma; the depth of which is often missed by experienced psychotherapists.

As a result of attending this workshop you will:

  • Be more alert to the suffering caused by boarding.
  • Understand the nature of sexual abusive behaviour in such schools.
  • Understand that in this case the therapist may need to be more active than in some other forms of trauma.

In her book Boarding School Syndrome: The Psychological Trauma of the “Privileged” Child (Routledge 2015), Joy Schaverien identified a cluster of symptoms and behaviours, which she classified as ‘Boarding School Syndrome’. The premise is that children sent to boarding school at an early age suffer the sudden and irrevocable, loss of their primary attachments and this constitutes a significant trauma. The children are also unsafe because, in some schools, they are at the mercy of bullies and sexual predators. 

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. This workshop will draw attention to the ways in which this syndrome may present in psychotherapy. It will give a sense of the depth of trauma, which is often missed when a client mentions they attended a boarding school.

In the first part of the day, we will look at the anatomy of the initial trauma. Depth case material will be presented and illustrated by pictures made by clients.

In the second part of the day, we will consider the forms of sexual wounding that may take place in the boarding school. It is hoped to have time for lively discussion of the issues raised as well as considering clinical material brought by participants.

Workshop leader

Professor Joy Schaverien PhD is a Training Analyst of the Society of Analytical Psychology (London) with a private analytic and supervisory practice in the East Midlands. She is Visiting Professor for the Northern Programme for Art Psychotherapy and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Analytical Psychology. 

Joy has published extensively on topics related to art and analytical psychology and her recent books include: Boarding School Syndrome: The Psychological Trauma of the ‘Privileged” Child, (June 2015) which was a Routledge and Amazon bestseller and The Dying Patient in Psychotherapy. Erotic Transference, Dreams and Individuation (which is soon to be republished by Routledge).

Target audience

This workshop is open to qualified and training counsellors and psychotherapists. The orientation of the workshop will be psychodynamic but practitioners of all modalities are welcome to apply.

Please note that by booking a ticket for this event, you are agreeing to our terms and conditions for CPD events, so please read through them carefully before making your purchase.

If you experience any problems during the application process then please email 

If you are interested in WPF Therapy upcoming events, please book your tickets on our Eventbrite page.

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Hosted by WPF Therapy

WPF Therapy is a well established and respected therapy training organisation. Throughout the year we provide CPD workshops and lectures to augment the clinical and theoretical learning offered by training organisations. This also offers the opportunity to focus on topics pertinent to the clinical work provided by new and established practitioners.

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