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Attachment Theory And Boarding School: What Parents Need To Know

By John

While boarding schools exist around the world, they are most common in the United Kingdom as well as former British colonies or throughout countries that were or are Commonwealth countries. Different forms of boarding schools exist, but the most common are the true boarding schools where students as young as five years of age may be sent off from their family to live at the boarding school throughout the academic year.

A London born psychologist, psychoanalyst as well as psychiatrist named Edward John Mostyn Bowlby (1907-1990) was one of the first people to study the effects of boarding school attendance by children. He was also a child that had attended boarding school himself, sent off with his older brother both for safety during the first World War as well as for his academic advancement.

His time in boarding school was very traumatic and shaped his interest in attachment theory. The developed the evolutionary theory of attachment through his own experiences as well as his extensive studies and work directly with patients.

The Basics Of Evolutionary Theory of Attachment

Interestingly enough, Bowlby looked to the world around him as well as in the study of his human patients. He believed and theorized that children, like young animals, are born with specific biological programs.

These ingrained or pre-programmed behaviours include the ability to form attachments with the primary caregiver, which is typically the mother. This is similar to how ducklings will imprint the hen, which was also a study completed at the time that Bowlby was working on his theory.

Additionally, he believed that fear of strangers was also a pre-programmed behaviour that was a self-protection mechanism. This is why babies and toddlers will smile at the mother but cry, fuss and struggle to get away from a stranger.

In this way, and throughout human evolution, babies that strongly attached to the mother and feared strangers were the infants that survived to reproduce, thereby strengthening the pre-programming and ensuring the survival of the species.

The Risk of Attachment Loss

Through Bowlby's theory, the baby, infant, toddler and young child clings to the attachment with the mother. This allows the child to explore the world while still having a safe anchor for both physical as well as mental comfort and protection. This also, in this theory, creates one unique relationship that will be different than all other relationships in the future.

Through having a long, unbroken attachment with the mother, the child learns how to have a giving, open and secure emotional attachment with others, including friends, partners and family. This aspect was called monotropy.

When this relationship is suddenly broken, as in the case of being sent off to boarding school, the child sees that bond or attachment as immediately lost. He termed this maternal deprivation, which is the opposite of monotropy.

While this was originally thought to just occur with very young children, further research and studies lead Bowlby and subsequent researchers to see it could occur in children that are much older, even as old as seven plus years of age.

The signs of this type of loss of attachment and separation from the caregiver can include social avoidance, feelings of being unloved or rejected, or children that are very angry or confused about themselves and their role in relationships. It is also linked to an increased risk of depression and anxiety orders as these children mature and become adults. 

 

Central london Psychotherapist

 

Our Central London Psychotherapy Approach

 

Just as a doctor considers more than the physical symptoms of a disease in developing treatment so do psychotherapists, counsellors, and other mental health professions that are truly informed. At our Central London offices all of our professionals use only this holistic approach to treatment because we believe it is the most effective and researched based option to use.
 
 
By using the holistic method we do not limit ourselves, our options, or our ability to create the best treatment plan possible for our clients. Instead, we are able to draw from all the schools of psychotherapy and holistic treatment to create an absolutely authentic and bespoke treatment plan for each of our clients. The plan can include methods and elements from psychotherapy, art therapy, hypnotherapy, counselling and a range of other possibilities.

 

International Experience and Expertise
 
As our group of experienced psychotherapists, counsellors and coaches have extensive experience in working with clients and in different schools of psychotherapy, we find that creating a holistic or integrated approach to treatment is natural. We are able to provide support for our clients with our internationally trained, professional and accredited staff that is simply not found elsewhere in the Central London area.
 
 
Philippe Jacquet has an extensive resume in the field of psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and working with clients with a range of different issues and concerns.
 
 
Mr. Jacquet, and all the therapists and counsellors at Philippe Jacquet & Associates offices in central London are fully committed to using only the best practice options with every client.
 
 
Mr. Jacquet and the therapists and counsellors also have the ability to work together as a team to create an optimal treatment plan. Since clients may require different therapeutic techniques, experts in each school of psychotherapy are available on staff to assist in developing these highly effective treatment plans while ensuring complete confidentiality.
 
 
 
Respect and Confidentiality
 
We understand that reaching out for help can be a very difficult thing to do. We can offer you the promise that your sessions with our Harley Street office professionals will be confidential and you will have full anonymity through our psychotherapy, counselling and coaching programs. As many of our clients are professionals we provide the option for evening and weekend appointments. We do respect the fact that you may feel more comfortable attending the later or weekend sessions if anonymity is a concern. Please speak directly to your therapists and he or she will schedule your appointments accordingly.
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