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Hildebrand, P. (2001). The Making of Them: The British Attitude to Children and the Boarding School System by Nick Duffell. Published by Lone Arrow Press, London, 2000; 318 pages; £20.00.. Brit. J. Psychother., 17(4):560-562.
   

(2001). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 17(4):560-562

The Making of Them: The British Attitude to Children and the Boarding School System by Nick Duffell. Published by Lone Arrow Press, London, 2000; 318 pages; £20.00.

Review by:
Peter Hildebrand

When reviewing this book, I have to declare an interest. My parents sent me to a preparatory boarding school in Brighton from the age of 6 to 12. Had Hitler not invaded France in 1940, I am sure I would have spent my adolescence at boarding school. I have often thought that one of the few good deeds that Hitler ever committed was to frighten my parents into sending me to the United States in 1940, and thus enable me to escape from the boarding school where I had been immured for the last six years.

Looking back nearly 60 years later, I can clearly recognize that the opportunity to live in a warm, loving and supportive environment in an American High School, to mix naturally with boys and girls of my own age and to be free of school uniform, unnecessary rules, fagging and bullying changed my life out of all recognition.

So, when I came to read The Making of Them which examines the British attitude to children and the boarding school system, I found myself in doubly familiar territory. All psychotherapists working in this country meet time and again the inhibited, schizoid English man or woman whose capacity to make enduring close relationships with others has been irretrievably damaged by their experiences at boarding school. For some of these patients, psychotherapy offers a long-sought opportunity to explore and develop their capacity for caring and intimate relations. For others, it represents a tremendous threat to their internal equilibrium, for they have clearly identified with the aggressor and feel terribly threatened when the therapist invites them to express their feelings.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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