Case Study


When Emma joined our programme during year 9, she was struggling with self-esteem, friendship difficulties , bullying and anger issues. She stayed inside during break and lunch times due to her fears about bullies and her insecurities about eating in front of others. She was crying out to feel accepted and loved.

After a couple of sessions Emma opened up about the fact she was in care and had been for the last couple of years, and as the weeks went on she began to open up more about her difficult experiences growing up and about her experience of going into care. She also shared about her experience of bullying and the challenges she faced at school because of this.

Emma was impacted by one of the first sessions we did on the power of thoughts and words, in particular one of the Nick videos where he talked about his experiences growing up with no arms and legs and the impact that our mindset can have, and the difference speaking positively to ourselves can have. When one of the leaders also shared about their experience of negative thinking and how it affected them and their friendships, Emma recognised that this was something she needed to work on also. During her one to one we explored things she could implement to help her with this, and over the next couple of weeks she came back to the sessions sharing what she had changed and the difference it had made.

The week following the power of thoughts and words was conflict, this was a challenging one for Emma as she faced regular difficulties with friendships and would often default to reacting in anger. In the session we talked about the upstairs and downstairs brain and how it is possible to retrain the brain to respond differently, and in our one to ones we discussed healthy and unhealthy coping strategies and came up with some strategies for what she could do when she felt herself starting to get angry. Over the following weeks Emma came back to the sessions sharing how she had dealt with conflict more positively and walked away from situations where she found herself starting to feel angry.

The following two sessions were also quite challenging for Emma as we talked about family life and forgiveness. In these sessions she began to open up more about her family and the difficult relationship she had with her sister and father who she no longer really saw. As we talked about forgiveness, Emma recognised that unforgiveness was something she was holding onto, and I believe this was the beginning of her journey to forgiving those who had hurt her.

By the end of the programme Emma was much happier in herself, had made a new group of friends and was now going outside during break and lunch

times and shared about school in a more positive way.

You can see from Emma’s Star that she made significant progress in feelings and emotions, self-esteem and school training and work.

What we noticed about Emma by the end of the programme:

  • She started accepting herself and became more confident in who she was

  • She began engaging in more healthy friendships and recognising unhealthy ones

  • She was able to see how a positive outlook can make a huge difference, and was choosing to speak life over herself and ignore the negativity that people spoke over her

  • She was beginning to manage her anger in a more appropriate way and develop healthy coping strategies