What is Trust-Based Relational Intervention®?


Trust-Based Relational Intervention® is a holistic approach that is multi‑disciplinary, flexible, attachment‑centered, and challenging. It is an evidence‑based, trauma‑informed intervention that is specifically designed for children who come from hard places, such as maltreatment, abuse, neglect, multiple home placements, and violence, but the principles apply to all children.

Dr. Karyn Purvis

It was developed by a team of child development researchers at Texas Christian University under the leadership of the late Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross and consists of three sets of harmonious principles: Connecting, Empowering, and Correcting Principles, which are defined below.

Connecting Principles

TBRI® Connecting Principles are the heart and soul of TBRI®, as they help children build trust and meaningful relationships. The two components of TBRI®’s Connecting Principles:

  1. Mindfulness Strategies, which provide caregivers with important tools regarding awareness of what they bring to interactions with their children, such as being conscious of their own relationship histories.
  2. Engagement Strategies, which provide tools for connecting with children non-verbally, such as with eye contact, behavior matching, and playful engagement.
Empowering Principles

TBRI® Empowering Principles are designed to facilitate change in children by supporting their physical needs and teaching them self-regulation skills. Self-regulation skills, managing behavior and emotions, are important for children’s success in the classroom, with peers, and in interactions with adults. There are two sets of strategies used to empower children.

  1. Physiological (Physical/Internal) Strategies support children by teaching them how to regulate their bodies and meeting their physical needs through hydration and nutrition.
  2. Ecological (External/ Environmental) Strategies support children by building “scaffolding” around them throughout their daily routines and life transitions.
Correcting Principles

Correcting Principles are guides for changing behavior, but Connecting Principles are the foundation of relationships. While the underlying goal of everything we do with children is to connect, the explicit goal of correction is to teach, mentor, coach and correct. The goal of correction should always be connection.

  1. Proactive Strategies are designed to teach social and behavioral skills.
  2. Responsive Strategies are designed to aid caregivers in handling
    challenging behavior.

Taken from: Purvis, K., Cross, D. R., & Hurst, J. R. (2013). Trust-Based Relational Intervention® Caregiver Training: TBRI® Introduction and Overview (Participant Workbook). Fort Worth, TX: Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development.

If you are interested in more information regarding Tbri® please contact me!

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