Stella Goddard

BA (Hons) Counselling
Registered and Accredited Counsellor BACP, Registered and Accredited Counsellor ACC,
Registered Accredited Professional NCPS
Recognised Registered and Accredited Counsellor with Bupa, Aviva and Cigna

Boarding School

When you see or hear the words ‘Boarding School’ I wonder what thoughts, images or memories spring to mind? Is this something you have experienced? What was it like for you?

There are many reasons parents send children to Boarding School – some consider it a privilege, others may be following the trend of other parents in their cultural and social circle, perhaps parents work abroad and think that sending children to boarding school will give them stability.

Being at Boarding School is an intensely personal experience. Some people may love it. For others it may be a time of challenge and distress. Inevitably there are many factors to consider including what age you were when you went to Boarding School – did you have any choice or did your parents or caregivers make the decision for you? Was it here in the UK or somewhere else?

I am very interested in Attachment Theory and the experiences of children while they are developing. Our early relationships have a profound effect on our sense of self, our relationships with other people and how we make sense of the world. As a Counsellor I have worked with clients for whom Boarding School has been very difficult. The results of this have included abuse, anger, anxiety, difficulty with making and maintaining relationships, a fear of abandonment, difficulty with trust, a profound sense of aloneness and that no-one understands. This is not to say that everyone who goes to Boarding School experiences these things. Nonetheless for those who have been hurt by their experiences it is important to validate their experience and give them a safe space to talk, to be heard and not to minimise what has happened to them. Sometimes people cope with their distress by internalising their pain or anaesthetising it with unhealthy relationships, drugs, alcohol or self-harm.

You might be interested in reading a book called “Boarding School Syndrome” which was written by Joy Schaverien or “The Making of Them” by Nick Duffell.

I would like to give you an opportunity to talk about your experiences at Boarding School and how this may have affected you. There is no need to ‘be strong’ and suppress your feelings. It is so important that you are able to process and make sense of your experience. Counselling will give you an opportunity to grieve your pain and to develop a sense of self that is healthy.