Boarding School Syndrome: The Psychological Trauma of ‘Privileged’ Children - Professor Joy Schaverien PhD


In her book Boarding School Syndrome: The Psychological Trauma of the “Privileged” Child 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. In psychotherapy the transference dynamics may replay the hidden childhood trauma of repeated losses.  Based on additional clinical material the talk 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.


Professor Joy Schaverien PhD is a Jungian Analyst, 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.  She has published extensively on topics related to art and analytical psychology and her recent books include: The Dying Patient in Psychotherapy (a single case study of an erotic transference, countertransference, which is soon to be republished by Routledge) and Boarding School Syndrome: The Psychological Trauma of the ‘Privileged” Child, (June 2015) which was a Routledge and Amazon bestseller.


The Power Threat Meaning Framework: An alternative non-medical conceptualisation of distress and unusual experiences - Dr Lucy Johnstone, Consultant Clinical Psychologist & Independent Trainer



The Power Threat  Meaning Framework, published in January 2018 by the Division of Clinical Psychology of the British Psychological Society, is an ambitious attempt to outline a conceptual alternative to the diagnostic model of emotional and psychological distress. It explores the role of power and threat in people’s lives, and describes how we  respond to and create meaning out of these experiences, thus enabling the creation of new and more hopeful narratives. It is attracting significant interest in the UK and beyond. Dr Lucy Johnstone is one of the lead authors, along with Professor Mary Boyle, and will outline its key principles”


Dr Lucy Johnstone is a consultant clinical psychologist, author of 'Users and abusers of psychiatry' (2nd edition Routledge 2000) and co-editor of 'Formulation in psychology and psychotherapy: making sense of people's problems' (Routledge, 2nd edition 2013) and ‘A straight-talking guide to psychiatric diagnosis’ (PCCS Books 2014), along with a number of other chapters and articles taking a critical perspective on mental health theory and practice. She is the former Programme Director of the Bristol Clinical Psychology Doctorate and was the lead author of 'Good practice guidelines on the use of psychological formulation' (Division of Clinical Psychology, 2011.) She has worked in Adult Mental Health settings for many years, most recently in a service in South Wales. She was lead author, along with Professor Mary Boyle, for the ‘Power Threat Meaning Framework’, a Division of Clinical Psychology-funded project to outline a conceptual alternative to psychiatric diagnosis, which was published in January 2018.

Lucy is an experienced conference speaker and lecturer, and currently works as an independent trainer. Her particular interest and expertise is in the use of psychological formulation, in both its individual and team versions, and in promoting trauma-informed practice.


Moving CAT beyond  its identification with the observing eye: Does working with developmental trauma confront us with a need to integrate embodiment into CAT? - Tim Sheard, CAT Psychotherapist


An exploration of embodiment as a relational resource in seeking to meet the challenges of working relationally with developmental trauma, how it may readily be integrated into CAT and possible implications for our understanding of reciprocal roles and integration.


Tim Sheard has been a CAT psychotherapist for twenty plus years, qualified as a doctor in 1980, trained to be a GP and worked in cancer care for ten years.  He devised the ‘Assessor’s response file’, a counter-transference self monitoring ‘tool’ for the Bristol deliberate self harm project in the 1990s that continues to be used in CAT trainings and some clinical settings (shortly to be updated).  His training work in the UK and Finland has focused for many years around CAT therapists and trainees being introduced to and supported in integrating their own sense of embodiment into their CAT work, particularly when working with those suffering from developmental trauma.  Working in private practice has provided an arena giving more freedom to innovate and develop a more embodied approach to CAT.  Tim seems to be drawn by nature (and his need) to integration, firstly pursuing holistic medicine, now in relational embodied psychotherapy.


Traversing Together or Falling Apart: remaining 'alongside' in CAT in a troubled world - Rhona Brown, CAT Practitioner


Rhona will consider to how CAT can help us to engage with people's narratives of inequality and social context within reformulation and therapy.  Lived and living experience of societal harms and trauma can move from the background to the foreground in therapy, depending on events and processes taking place in both personal and public spheres.  In CAT we strive to create a therapy environment which feels safe enough for people to voice such hurts and harms as part of their narrative.  However such conversations can take us into territory which may feel precarious for one or more parties. Ruptures may occur along the lines of relative privilege, bias, misunderstanding, or empathic failure through differences in life experience and social positioning.  The potential for coming through such ruptures and remaining alongside each other towards a position of repair may pivot on how we as therapists can tolerate and manage what is evoked in us.  Rhona will draw on ideas and tools from within CAT, in addition to some other approaches and perspectives which may help to enrich and inform CAT practice.


Rhona Brown is a CAT practitioner with a core training in clinical psychology.  She lives and works in Manchester where the large part of her clinical career has been in complex primary care services in an inner city setting.  This brought her into contact with a rich diversity of communities within Manchester, in both clinical and community-based settings. She has longstanding interests in social context and inequalities, working across cultures, and in how therapeutic approaches can be adapted in order to enhance their relevance and accessibility to people with differing needs. She currently works part time into an occupational health service for NHS staff and has recently established a small private practice.  She is involved with promotion and public engagement around CAT, supporting both ACAT and Catalyse with their digital engagement.  This involves exploring and developing new website content alongside other CAT colleagues and people with experience of CAT as a therapy, blogging and microblogging on Twitter

ACAT Calendar for September
1212th September 2019
CPD Event: ACAT: Trauma workshop
CAT Introductory Event: Four Day Introduction to CAT - offered by NHS Lanarkshire Trust
1313th September 2019
ACAT AGM: ACAT Annual General Meeting 2019
ACAT Annual Conference: 25th National ACAT Conference
CAT Introductory Event: ACAT: Two Day Introduction to CAT
2121st September 2019
CPD Event: How to run a successful private practice - offered by Become Psychology
2626th September 2019
CAT Introductory Event: Two Day Introduction to CAT - offered by Collaborate

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