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Understanding Boarding School Syndrome – online event with Nick Duffell

November 19 @ 10:00 am-4:30 pm

£95 – £105

Professional Training (CPD) for Therapists and Health Professionals

Live ONLINE-ONLY event with full interaction/participation

Understanding Boarding School Syndrome with Nick Duffell

Privileged Abandonment, Normalised Neglect & Trauma

Understanding Boarding School Syndrome

This one-day CPD workshop for therapists explores Boarding School Syndrome through a mix of didactic teaching and practical learning. We will also be showing clips from the BBC film The Making of Them.

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 event is back by popular demand – you can read a summary of our past event here.

You will learn to:

  • 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
  • Work with traumatic dissociation
  • 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

About Nick Duffell

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 and The Simple Solution: A New Way to Think about Solving the World’s Biggest Problems, with John Bunzl. He contributed chapters to The Political Self and Humanistic Psychology: Current Trends, Future Prospects.He contributed chapters to The Political Self and Humanistic Psychology: Current Trends, Future Prospects.

Open to psychological therapists (including trainees) from all modalities and health professionals.

CPD certificates supplied.

The vast majority of our professional CPD events are led by psychotherapists. Each delegate is responsible for self-care should material during the event trigger difficult personal feelings.

Attend online

£95 early bird before 19th October 2022

£105 from 19th October 2022

Location: Online only

Attend online

£95 early bird before 19th Oct 2022

£105 from 19th Oct 2022

Buy now, pay later

Pay in 3 instalments with Paypal Pay in 3 during checkout.


Subject to eligibility with Paypal

“I particularly enjoyed Nick’s openness to questions, challenging clients etc. Kept it live, relevant and useful (as the material is immense)”

“Overall, good speaker creating emotional punch.”

“Excellent speaker, knowledge and ways forward very useful and hopeful for support to clients and for repair.”

“Intellectually stimulating and lively engagement”

“I enjoyed Nick’s sharing of his breadth and depth of knowledge, underpinned by theory.”

Alternatively to book: email or phone 07599 369566 with the name of the event(s) you wish to attend plus the following information: your full name; postal address; best contact telephone number and job title.

Postal address for cheques: Wendy Bramham, 47C Kingsbury St, Marlborough SN8 1JE.
A confirmation and receipt will be emailed to you.


November 19
10:00 am-4:30 pm
£95 – £105


United Kingdom


Wendy Bramham
07599 369566