What is TBRI?

Trust-Based Relational Intervention

What is Trust-Based Relational Intervention or TBRI®?

TBRI® is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. It was developed by the late Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross at Texas Christian University and is based on years of attachment, sensory processing, and neuroscience research. TBRI® is listed on the California Clearinghouse for Evidence Based practices.

TBRI® is designed for children from “hard places”. These “hard places” may have included neglect or abuse, in utero or birth-related trauma, early hospitalization, exposure to domestic or community violence, and/or other relational trauma. Because of their histories, children from hard places have changes in their bodies, brains, biology, behaviors, and belief systems. They may find it difficult to trust the loving adults in their lives, which often results in perplexing behaviors. While a variety of parenting strategies may be successful in typical circumstances, children from traumatic backgrounds need care-giving that meets their unique needs and addresses the whole child.

TBRI® offers practical tools for parents, caregivers, teachers, or anyone who works with children, to see the “whole child” in their care and help that child reach his or her highest potential. TBRI® uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors. It is used in homes, residential treatment facilities, group homes, schools, court rooms, camps, medical practices, international orphanages, etc. TBRI® is taught and utilized across 45 states and 14 countries.

The TBRI GA Collaborative for Children: Network for Collective Impact

The TGCC is an effort to train professional care providers, parents, and community members who interact with children in the TBRI® model and to assist organizations involved in child welfare in the implementation of trauma-informed best practices. The resulting network of trauma-informed partner agencies and individuals will dramatically increase the quality of life and prospects of our children who have experienced trauma.

An Innovative Approach to Trauma Informed Care

The TGCC effort is grounded in an evidence-based intervention (i.e. TBRI®) and informed by collective impact, whereby all community sectors in contact with children are targeted.  Although writing trauma-informed policies are valuable, they are only helpful when coupled with and carried out through action.  Furthermore, they are most effective when consistently reinforced throughout the child welfare system.  State-wide, cross-sector, trauma-informed care is the culture we desire and TBRI® provides the research, information and action steps needed to get there, as it addresses all major issues linked with complex developmental trauma in a holistic manner and is applicable across diverse cultures and continents. It is not a clinical model, but a care-giving model, so any nurturing caregiver can be trained. This makes TBRI cost-effective, as caregivers are equipped with tangible strategies and tools that provide healing from the impacts of trauma.

TGCC Key Objectives

  • Equip and support foster, adoptive, kinship care, and at-risk/reunifying birth families in implementation of TBRI® as part of a trauma-informed nurturing approach to care
  • Identify vital stakeholders in the GA child welfare and related systems and assist them in becoming trained and equipped in TBRI® principles and practices
  • Establish an effective, ongoing support and continuing education system for this network of caregivers, volunteers and professionals
  • Provide consistency and competency across the community in trauma-informed intervention with emphasis on caregivers, schools, DFCS, court system, law enforcement, medical and mental health providers, and churches
  • Promote changes in public policy and court practice that support the infusion of TBRI®-informed principles and practices into child placement and related decisions
  • Develop a model of collaboration and necessary tools to support the spread of TBRI® throughout the state

The TGCC Network of TBRI® Implementing Agencies

What is expected of Trauma-Informed Organizations?

  • Realizes the impact of trauma on emotional and physical health and behavior. Individuals and organizations understand: a) behavior in the context of coping strategies that are designed to survive adversity, b) the need for trauma-informed responses as integral to all organizations involved in a child’s life, c) a pharmacological response and/or reducing the risk of repeat trauma alone cannot meet the needs of vulnerable children, and d) building relationships, community, and the feeling of safety are necessary for healing from early trauma.
  • Equipped to recognize the signs of trauma. Consistently incorporates trauma screening and assessment into all aspects of work, including interactions with children, families, staff and volunteers.
  • Responds by applying the principles of a trauma-informed approach to all areas of functioning. This includes leadership, staff, and volunteers. System policies include the three pillars of trauma-informed care:
    • Connection: focuses on relational needs, with special attention on building and strengthening secure attachments between caregivers and children.
    • Safety: creates an environment of physical, social, and psychological safety and meets physiological needs; this includes good nutrition, adequate sleep, attention to sensory needs, and regular physical activity.
    • Regulation: proves structured experiences to enhance emotional and behavioral self-regulation in children; enhancing caregivers’ mindful awareness and their ability to use proactive strategies for behavioral change.
  • Avoids re-traumatizing.  Recognizes how  practices such as punitive discipline, placement disruptions, seclusion (time-outs), restraints, and abrupt transitions can cause additional harm and interfere with healing. Relationships and nutrition are not used as part of any rewards/consequences system.