TBRI: an Introduction

Two weeks ago, Mr. Bean and I attended a TBRI-oriented conference. We have attended the conference, called Empowered to Connect, for the past several years. We attend ETC, in part, to get ongoing training hours that we need to keep our foster care certification current. More importantly, though, this training helps us so much with our kids! Many people have asked me about what TBRI is. Today’s post is the first in a series geared toward introducing it.

What is TBRI?

TBRI stands for Trust-Based Relational Intervention. This intervention is a parenting model based on the work of Dr. Karyn Purvis of Texas Christian University. Dr. Purvis’ book, The Connected Child <affiliate link>, outlines the principles in detail. Specifically, TBRI is a therapeutic parenting model geared toward facilitating healing for those whom she calls children from hard places.

A child laying her head down, on her arms, looking tired and in need of TBRI principled parenting.

Children from Hard Places

So, who are children from hard places? Most foster and adopted kids, according to Dr. Purvis, are children from hard places. However, early developmental trauma can also occur in children who were never placed into foster care or adopted. Other early trauma can include (but is not limited to) any of the following: a difficult or unwanted pregnancy, challenging labor and delivery, NICU stays, catastrophic medical issues, and being raised in a war-torn area. These events can lead to disruptions in the early attachment process for children. Disruptions in attachment then manifests itself in a challenging parent-child relationship. Enter TBRI.

Why do we love it?

Toward the end of the ETC conference, a presenter addressed the following question: “how can you tell if it [TBRI] is ‘working?'” I loved the presenter’s response. The presenter said,

You will know that TBRI is working when the overall tone of the home is joy.

Perhaps that sounds simplistic. There is certainly much more to TBRI! I plan to share some of my favorite nuggets with you over the next few weeks. But for all of the struggles and heartache that we have had, we have found that statement to ring true.

Before I close out this introduction, I am going to leave you with a wonderful video. We purchased a few copies of this video a few years back to loan out to family and friends who wanted to know more about TBRI. But now, its available for free online! (I love the internets!) Enjoy this! It is our prayer that through my blog, a few more people can find the hope and healing that TBRI has brought into our lives!

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