The Connected Parent


by: Ashley West

We’re thrilled to announce the release of The Connected Parent, co-authored by Dr. Karyn Purvis, the Institute’s late Founder and Director. This book is Dr. Purvis’ last written work, and we at the Institute are overjoyed that families everywhere  will continue to benefit from her words and wisdom.

As the release of The Connected Parent draws closer, I sat down with co-author Lisa Qualls and Emmelie Pickett, the book’s contributing writer and institute Communications Coordinator to talk about the process behind writing The Connected Parent and the book’s upcoming release.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your introduction to Dr. Purvis and her work:

Lisa: My name is Lisa Qualls and I’ve been married to my husband Russ for 36 years. I have 12 children altogether by birth and adoption. We have also been foster parents as well. I live in North Idaho.

Before we adopted, I had a background in mental health and worked for a group home, so when we adopted, I thought I was really prepared having been a mother for almost 20 years. This thinking completely changed due to some of the challenges and behaviors we experienced after our adoption. I was desperately looking for help when a reader of my blog asked if I had heard of Dr. Karyn Purvis and suggested I read The Connected Child. I read the book and watched a couple of videos Dr. Purvis had created. I remember watching the videos and thinking,  “If she can have hope for my kids, I can too”. The Connected Child deeply impacted our family. I then started writing for and speaking at the Empowered to Connect Conference and that was where I really got to know Dr. Purvis. In the summer of 2011, both myself and my husband were invited to attend TBRI® Practitioner Training.

Emmelie: I began working for the institute as Dr. Purvis’s assistant in 2009.My first week on the job was during a Hope Connection Camp, and I quickly became smitten with this work. I served as Dr. Purvis’s right hand until 2014 when I transitioned to focusing on the institute’s media and communications efforts.


Can you tell us about how the book came to be?

Lisa: I was at an Empowered To Connect Conference in 2012 and shared my idea for a book with Emmelie. The book I wanted to create was a book with all of Dr. Purvis’ wisdom and knowledge and also the voice of a parent who was actually utilizing the tools. She encouraged me to ask Dr. Purvis if she would be interested in writing it with me. So, I did and Dr. Purvis agreed to co-author the book with me. From there, we began the very long process of writing the book from Texas and Idaho, respectively.


What was it like to write a book with Dr. Purvis?

Lisa: We laid out the titles of each chapter and then tackled them one by one. We knew that the structure of each chapter would begin with a real-life story from me, then a whole section from Dr. Purvis about why I was using certain therapeutic parenting strategies and to explain the scientific piece, and then it would end with another story from me. The goal was for practical application and research-based knowledge to be woven together throughout.


How did that process change when Dr. Purvis passed away in 2016?

Lisa: While almost all of the chapters were completed in at least a draft form when Dr. Purvis passed away, I was concerned that the book might never be completed. I knew I needed to finish this book and I wanted to represent Dr. Purvis well. I was having conversations with her son about the project and we decided to reach out to see if Emmelie would be willing to help us see the book to completion.


Emmelie: This book was one of the last things Dr. Purvis worked on before her death, so I knew it was important to her and I was committed to helping get it published. As far as content goes, I used Dr. Purvis’s actual words whenever possible when making edits or additions we made to the original manuscript. I mined video transcripts, written communications, and even meetings I’d recorded on my phone to complete chapters with Dr. Purvis’ words. It was such an honor to complete her parts of the book.


How is this book different from The Connected Child?

Emmelie: Both books are about Trust-Based Relational Intervention® but when The Connected Child was written TBRI® did not yet have a name. In The Connected Parent we of course used the updated language and organization of the principles. There is also a strong foundation of attachment in The Connected Parent. The first of the book’s three parts is solely dedicated to attachment. Another major difference is the story-telling is from the perspective of a parent who has been there. The stories you read in The Connected Parent are Lisa’s stories which I think makes them highly impactful.

Lisa: In the part on attachment, we also focus on making sense of our own attachment history as adults. I think that is a strong start to the book. We also included a chapter dedicated to adapting TBRI® for teens.


What do you hope parents will gain from The Connected Parent?

Lisa: I hope they walk away with a deep understanding and compassion for themselves and their child. We are all doing the best we can. We all have our own histories and our children come to us with their own histories and we need to have compassion. When we have compassion for ourselves, our spouses and our children, it gives us the ability to say “I’m going to learn more. I’m going to try more.”

In The Connected Parent we offer some really great practical skills. Each chapter ends with key takeaways as well as a list of things you can try today. I hope that parents find it very useful, practical, and encouraging. I hope that they learn there are tools and strategies they can use and that they know they are not alone on this journey.


What do you hope professionals will gain from the book?

Lisa: I hope professionals will see the value of a parent speaking to parents. Professionals bring so much help and support to families, but the voice of a parent who is on this journey is also powerful. I hope professionals will be able to encourage those they serve by saying here is a book that has both the scientific knowledge and the voice of a mom who is doing this work as well. My dream is that this book will be used for trainings, support groups and really for everyone who is working with children.


The Connected Parent releases on July 7, 2020.

Pre-order from your favorite book seller.

Download a free chapter of The Connected Parent.

Want to help spread the word about The Connected Parent? Join the launch team! 


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