TBRI® and Empowered to Connect

Foster care and adoption is marked by many joys, but also by the many challenges of trauma and attachment. As we continue in our series of April blog posts related to National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we’d like to share with you about Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®) and why it is fundamental in the way we care for children at Coyote Hill.  

Children who have experienced trauma such as abuse, neglect, displacement from parents, hunger, homelessness, etc. experience life very differently than children who have not experienced these traumas. For this reason, parenting strategies for children coming from difficult circumstances need to differ from traditional strategies. TBRI® is “based on years of attachment, trauma, and neuroscience research. This intervention has grown out of hands-on work with children who have experienced trauma. Children from ‘hard places’ have changes in their bodies, brains, behaviors, and belief systems. While a variety of parenting strategies may be successful in typical circumstances, children from ‘hard places’ need caregiving that meets their unique needs and addresses the whole child. Although TBRI® was designed for children who have experienced some type of abuse, neglect and/or trauma, it has proven to be effective with all children.” http://www.anchorpoint.us/etc.html

The needs of foster and adoptive children are complex. TBRI® is a holistic approach to parenting children, created by Drs. Karyn Purvis and David Cross of the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development. To better understand TBRI® it is helpful to hear directly from the late Dr. Purvis herself: 

Our Home Parents and Parent Aides go through training for TBRI®, known as Empowered to Connect. “ETC Parent Training equips parents with a holistic understanding of their child’s needs and development while empowering them with the tools and strategies to effectively meet those needs, build trust, and help their child heal and grow. The training is taught from a Christian perspective and focuses on a wide range of topics and issues relevant to adoptive and foster parents, including helping parents understand the impact of their child’s history, what they themselves bring to the parent-child relationship, the fundamentals of attachment, the impact of fear, and the importance of meeting their child’s sensory processing, nutritional and other physiological needs” http://empoweredtoconnect.org/training/

Rachel Howell, one of our Therapists who is also an adoptive parent and a former Home Parent, concludes, TBRI® has significantly impacted how we connect with our children as parents. It has shifted the way we view their behaviors, in light of the trauma they have experienced. It helps us equip them with skills to regulate their own emotions more successfully. TBRI® is all about building relationships with children, so they’re able to heal from the trauma that has occurred within relationship(s). It is especially beautiful to watch Home Parents implement these strategies and lifestyle within their homes and to see the growth both they and their kids experience as a result.”  

For more information on TBRI® and the Empowered to Connect Training, please check out the following resources.

Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development https://child.tcu.edu/resources/videos/#sthash.NkqxHCLv.dpbs

Empowered to Connect http://empoweredtoconnect.org/

dad sits with child on porch | coyotehill.org

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