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Trust-Based Relational Intervention, or TBRI® is the prominent trauma intervention utilized by Nurturing Change. TBRI® is an evidence-based therapeutic model that trains parents and caregivers to meet the complex needs of kids from hard places. A child is from “a hard place” if they have experienced abuse, neglect, multiple foster care placements, substance abuse, domestic violence, or parental abandonment. Even kids from loving families who experience divorce, stress during pregnancy, a stressful birth, or an early medical intervention can be considered as being from a hard place, since any one of these events can cause changes in the developing brain and result in fear-based behaviors. While a variety of parenting strategies may be successful in typical circumstances, children from hard places need a trauma-informed caregiving approach that meets their unique needs and addresses the whole child.
TBRI® was developed as an intervention primarily for caregivers by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross at the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University. It is based upon attachment theory, how trauma affects the developing brain, and sensory needs. TBRI® uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors. While the intervention is based on years of attachment, sensory processing, and neuroscience research, the heartbeat of TBRI® is connection.*
TBRI® focuses on building a strong connection with a child to help them experience a sense of felt safety, since even when a child may be safe, their past adversity may cause their brain not to feel safe. By helping the child to feel connected and safe, fear-based behaviors can be eliminated, they can learn how to self-regulate, and learn how to get their needs met in appropriate ways (as opposed to lying, manipulation, and other survival-based behaviors). All behaviors are the result of a need that kids often cannot verbalize. By looking beyond the behavior to the need and then meeting that need, caregivers help kids learn to regain their voice and trust that a safe adult will meet their needs, thus reducing fear-based survival behaviors. TBRI® is not a permissive caregiving approach, yet teaches caregivers to maintain a balance between nurture and structure (although structure in TBRI® looks different than traditional, behavior-modification approaches since these can often be counterproductive).
TBRI® has been used successfully around the world with children and youth of all ages and risk levels in orphanages, courts, residential treatment facilities, group homes, foster and adoptive homes, churches, and schools, and with many children for whom other interventions have failed. When our nearby Williamson County Juvenile Detention Center switched from a boot camp approach to TBRI® several years ago, the results were so transformative that TBRI® is now being utilized in juvenile detention facilities across the state of Texas. (See http://www.advocatenewstx.com/juvenile-justice-setting-the-standard-again/)
For a comprehensive summary of TBRI,® see the following National Institute of Health article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3877861/
Recommended Books about TBRI®
Are you a parent whose child is in need of emotional healing and behavioral transformation? Be the first to hear about when Nurturing Change begins offering services to families.