We are here to:

  • Raise public awareness about boarding

  • Offer therapeutic help for adult ex-boarders

  • Provide specialist training for therapists

Boarding School Survivors can help.

Boarding School Survivors was founded in 1990 and has three principal activities:

1. Raise awareness of the effects of sending children away to school

In order to raise public consciousness, we research, lecture, write, and broadcast about the psychological effects of sending children away to boarding schools. We critique the social system which has encouraged this habit.

2. Provide therapeutic help for adult ex- boarders

Secondly, we run a programme of therapeutic workshops (BSS Workshops) for adults who have recognised that they may have paid a price for their education and are looking for ways to understand and heal their wounds. These popular courses, which have been running uninterrupted since 1990, receive referrals from GPs, community organisations and counsellors, and have benefited many people, by allowing them to leave aspects of their past behind and develop their true potential. We also offer private psychotherapy for individuals and couples counselling through an increasing network of specialist practitioners.

3. Inform and train the therapy profession

We also provide seminars, in-house training and CPD events to inform and train counsellors and therapists in this little known syndrome and to support them in working with this difficult client group.  See here for details of our 2020-21 training programme. We are developing a nationwide group of informed specialists to whom we can refer and we receive requests from many parts of the world. We have increasing links with and support from some of the most senior practitioners and neuroscientists. If you would like to organise an event in your area or country, or enquire about training or consultancy, please send us an email via the contact form.

Please explore this confidential website to find out more information on Boarding School Syndrome, workshops for Boarding School Survivors, links to other support services, media resources and publications as well as information for counsellors and therapists.


Nick Duffell’s book, The Making of Them: the British Attitude to Children and the Boarding School System has received wide acclaim from doctors, therapists, educators, writers and general readers. It describes the history and social context of boarding, the inevitability of ‘Boarding School Syndrome,’ as well as the process of de-constructing a ‘Strategic Survival Personality’. It offers pointers towards a philosophy of education that honours the needs and the intelligence of the natural child. His new book, Wounded Leaders: British elitism and the Entitlement Illusion – A Psychohistory, shows how this uniquely British system has affected the whole of society and contributes to our political malaise.

Watch a video excerpt

Edinburgh University debate “This house would ban boarding for the under 16’s”. The motion was overwhelmingly carried.