Karis’ Story


11-year-old Karis felt utterly lost when her best friend left their school. She didn’t have any other friends, she never got invited to parties, and navigating this loneliness was painful. 

Karis wanted friends so desperately that she got involved in things that she knew weren’t right, worrying that if she said no, no one would like her. “I kept getting into trouble. The headteacher was getting tired of seeing me, very tired, and I wasn’t really proud of that.”

As TLG Early Intervention coach Fay, from Kings Church Catford, started to spend time with Karis, she noticed something special. “Although she was often in trouble and having problems with friendships, she was able to reflect on the incidents that were occurring. She was often saying I could have done things differently, but she needed support to know how.“

The coaching space became very important for Karis. “Coaching is a safe space where you can talk to someone and express your feelings. We did some fun activities, but each activity was related to something that would help me to cope.” Fay spent lots of valuable time with Karis thinking about healthy friendships. Karis loved using the colour emotions wheel. “It was very important because it taught me how to regulate myself around people and it taught me that if I feel upset with a friend, I have to come clean. Being a good friend means you listen, and you respect their opinion,” Karis concludes.

Activities that might seem normal became very important for Karis. “Every coaching session had a meaning for me,” she says. “When I was sewing, it felt like I was punching negative emotions down, with cooking I felt like I was spreading my joy and when I shared my baking with people, they smiled.”

Within a few weeks of coaching, Karis told her headteacher, “I’m not going to come to your office anymore.” When the coaching year came to an end, the head was able to say, “You really kept your promise didn’t you Karis?!” “She was so proud of me!” Karis smiles.

Fay feels elated for Karis. “She’s the one that has made the change, she’s listened, and taken on board all the things we’ve talked about and put them into practice, and that takes a lot of maturity.”

Karis reflects proudly, “It feels great! I have a few people who invite me to parties now, I’m happy with that!”

TLG coaching means that I have friends. I have learnt how to make friends, and how to keep them.