Trust-Based Relational Intervention®

What is it?

TBRI® is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. 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.


“When you connect to the heart of a child, everything is possible.”

– Dr. Karyn Purvis


Who is it for and who should use it?

TBRI® is designed to meet the complex needs of children who have experienced adversity, early harm, toxic stress, and/or trauma. Because of their histories, it is often difficult for these children to trust the loving adults in their lives, which often results in perplexing behaviors. 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 highest potential.


Why use it?

Because of their histories, children who have experienced trauma have changes in their bodies, brains, behaviors, and belief systems. While a variety of parenting strategies may be successful in typical circumstances, children with histories of harm need caregiving that meets their unique needs and addresses the whole child. That said, we’ve found that any child benefits from a nurturing, trusting relationship with a safe adult.


Where is it used?

TBRI® is used worldwide in homes, residential facilities, group homes, schools, camps, schools, juvenile justice facilities, courts, with survivors of sex trafficking, in faith communities, courts, with law enforcement, in clinical practices and beyond.


How do you do it?

If you’d like to get started right away, we encourage you to look around our site for more information and resources. Reading our book, The Connected Child, or viewing any of our DVDs are both great places to start. TBRI® 101: A Self-Guided Course in Trust-Based Relationships also provides nearly eight hours of instruction on TBRI®.  Parents can learn to implement Trust-based parenting in a variety of ways and we offer a few ideas on where to start on our parent resource page. Professionals can apply to attend our TBRI® Practitioner Training.

Where can I read about it?

Purvis, K. B., Cross, D. R., & Sunshine, W. L. (2007). The Connected
Child: Bringing hope and healing to your adoptive family. New York, NY:

Purvis, K. B., Cross, D. R., Dansereau, D. F., & Parris, S. R. (2013).
Trust-based relational intervention (TBRI®): A systematic approach to
complex developmental trauma. Child & Youth Services, 34(4), 1-28.

Purvis, K. B., Cross, D. R., & Pennings, J. S. (2009). Trust-based
relational intervention: Interactive principles for adopted children with
special social-emotional needs. Journal of Humanistic Counseling,
Education, and Development, 48, 3-22.

Purvis, K. B., Parris, S. R., & Cross, D. R. (2011). Trust-based
relational intervention: Principles and practices. In Rosman, E. A.,
Johnson, C. E., & Callahan, N. M. (Eds.), Adoption factbook V (pp.
485-489). Alexandria, VA: National Council for Adoption.