the Rock Clinic

Boarding School Survivors

Boarding School Survivors

Psychological services for those sent to boarding school as children, their partners and families.

‘Trauma, abandonment and privilege’ Nick Duffel

In Britain boarding school became the favourite educational choice for the children of the affluent middle and upper classes.  However despite well documented accounts of misery, bullying, abuse and loneliness, it is only recently that the long- term effects produced by early separation, fractured attachments and emotional repression have been understood by the medical and psychological professions.

Boarding school carries high social status, is considered a privilege, and is laden with parental expectation.  Children attending boarding school learn to put on a brave face and struggle not to disappoint their parents who have made such a substantial financial investment in their education.   However by repressing vulnerability and empathy in favour of functioning, and taking their experience as normal, many adult ex-boarders often struggle with intimate relationships and family life, often presenting a defensive façade of confident superiority and rational success.

Therapy then, may involve firstly recognising the symptoms and causes of the problem and helping the ex-boarder feel safe enough to let down the protective guard which has been a best friend.  Great sensitivity is required to help dismantle lifetime defences before therapy can explore ways of helping the sufferer move from merely surviving back into being more fully alive. 

What we are offering

  • Individual psychodynamic therapy
  • Couple or family therapy
  • Help for partners and families

Who is therapy with?

Therapists who have trained specifically in working with Boarders School Survivors and who offer therapy on a range of issues which may include:

Difficulties in relationships and parenting; workaholism;  inability to relax; isolation; being experienced as a bully; substance abuse; trauma; a sense of failure; physical, sleep and sexual problems.

For partners and families there maybe concerns over:

Excessive work focus, relationship or parenting difficulties; breakdown of trust; feelings of being ignored, humiliated or bullied.


To find out more, please go online or contact us to book an initial interview. Following this we will then arrange ongoing sessions with your therapist.

Please complete the Initial interview form and either send to [email protected]

or [email protected]  depending on your booked venue. If you are unable to download or do not have a printer please ensure you arrive 30 minutes early to complete.


Download the Initial Interview Form (Adult) or Initial Interview Form (13-17 yrs) to complete offline.