A 14-year-old girl, whom I’ll call Clover, was referred for therapy because she had formed a suicide club in her school, where her mother also taught. She was cutting on her arms, failing academically, and spending sleepless nights on her phone with classmates. Her mother also suffered acute “loss of face” because her fellow teachers all knew about Clover’s suicidal thoughts, while she did not. Clover’s maternal grandparents, who lived with the family, had both been teachers. They showered her with love, but also tutored her every afternoon and held high expectations for her academic performance at a school where all the kids were expected to go to a prestigious college like Peking University.
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