Privileged abandonment, normalised neglect, and trauma - understanding boarding school syndrome
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'Privileged abandonment, normalised neglect, and trauma - understanding boarding school syndrome' with Nick Duffell.
Any therapist’s daily practice includes early deprivation and family of origin work, so the client with attachment problems will be familiar. But what is rarely understood is the sophistication of the ex-boarder’s 'survival self' and the widespread devastation it brings to individuals, couples, and families over generations.
Despite frequent references in English popular literature to the agonies experienced by children at boarding schools, the long-term psychological effects of a boarding education have, until very recently, remained unnoticed by the medical and psychological professions. In Britain, boarding education carries high social status, is considered a privilege, and is rife with parental expectation, and yet can lead to unacknowledged, deeply buried and emotionally damaging consequences.
Ex-boarders are amongst the most difficult clients. This is due to both the social dimension of the syndrome and the strength of the secret internalised shame. The self in distress is frequently masked by a very competent, if brittle, socially rewarded exterior. For these reasons, even experienced analysts and therapists may unwittingly struggle to skilfully address the needs and tactics of this client group. This one-day workshop will provide a mix of didactic teaching and practical learning, and we will also be showing clips from the BBC film The Making of Them.
What you can expect to learn on the day;
- detect boarding issues underlying present problems
- understand the strategic survival personality
- break through the silence, shame, and denial
- loosen double-binds about privilege and envy
- understand the institutionalised dimension of hierarchies, bullying, and abuse
- identify and work with specific transference dynamics
- learn to work with traumatic dissociation
- learn to work with acute projections of incompetence and vulnerability
- understand the ex-boarder’s tactics for intimacy avoidance and how this affects loved ones and partners
Nick Duffell is best known as the author who asserts that elite boarding schools represent a trauma for children and a socio-political handicap for nations. Having practised psychotherapy for 30 years, he now trains therapists and is a psychohistorian, bridging the gap between psychological and political thinking and an Honorary Research Associate at UCL.
He promotes a depth-psychology perspective of issues that deeply affect public life, such as identity and emotions, fear and vulnerability, but which are not properly addressed in political commentary.
Nick’s books include;
- 'The Making of Them: the British Attitude to Children and the Boarding School System' (2000)
- 'Wounded Leaders: British Elitism and the Entitlement Illusion - a Psychohistory' (2014)
- 'Trauma, Abandonment and Privilege: A guide to therapeutic work with boarding school survivors, with Thurstine Basset' (2016)
- 'The Simpol Solution: A New Way to Think about Solving the World’s Biggest Problems' with John Bunzl
He also contributed chapters to 'The Political Self' and 'Humanistic Psychology: Current Trends, Future Prospects'.
About Bramham Therapy
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We provide cutting-edge continuing professional development (CPD) seminars with leading trainers for counsellors and psychotherapists from all modalities (including those in training).