What is TBRI? (If you’re a parent you need to read this!)

Written By Sarah Mercado from Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development

Written By Sarah Mercado from Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development

Let me paint a picture for you…. I know a grandma that was raising her three extremely dysregulated grandsons. She struggled to understand the boys and where their bad behavior was coming from.

As she began to learn the principles of TBRI and gained an understanding of attachment and their history, she developed a new level of compassion for the boys. Simultaneously, she began to understand the impact of trauma on their brains and behaviors. With both of those things, she was able to apply her new TBRI skills to their behavior. I will never forget her telling me a story about having the boys practice getting off an elevator and not running down the hall. She said that “as expected” they began to run. She remembered that she should first try to be playful and said something silly to them to get their attention. When it worked she asked if they would like to walk backwards to re-do walking down the hall from the elevator. They all did it! She said when they got to where they were going she melted in tears. Not because the re-do was required but because it worked! No yelling, no frustration, and they were all connected and having fun! It seems so simple, but for someone who was so desperately hurting and wanting to give up, she had success! She understood their limitations and met their needs!

So what is TBRI?

Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®) is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children.

Sounds like a mouthful right? Let’s make it simple… kids need connection. We want to help parents and caregivers be equipped to better love and take care of their children!

TBRI can be broken down into these 3 principles:

1. Empowering – To address physical needs.

2. Connecting– For attachment needs.

3. Correcting – To disarm fear-based behaviors.

The heartbeat of TBRI is connection!

In my opinion, TBRI is meant for all humans, because we are all in need of connection. While it was developed to specifically meet the needs of children from hard places, I have found that TBRI is really just a way of life. We are created to live connected to one another and TBRI equips us with the necessary skills and awareness to do so.

The reality of TBRI is that we are asking the adults to change. I have worked with kids in a variety of different settings and believe that for the most part the behaviors of the kids today are very similar to those 20 years ago (understanding the differences social media and the internet bring). When we make the commitment to understand the why behind our behavior as adults, we make it possible to change how we interact with kids. It is not always easy, but we are worth it, and so are the kids.

If you are interested in learning more about Trust Based Relational Intervention, head over to our website! https://child.tcu.edu/#sthash.l7o6bSKA.dpbs , Or our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=karyn+purvis+institute+of+child+development.

We also have a digital course called TBRI 101, which is nearly eight hours of instruction on TBRI. The Empowered to Connect website is a great faith-based TBRI resource as well.  https://empoweredtoconnect.org/resources/

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