Little Victories

Editors note: At the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development, we strive to help children heal from the effects of trauma, abuse, and neglect through trusting relationships. This guiding principle informs all we do. It is the lens through which we view everything and the current news events stemming from violence and racism in America are no different. These events are traumatic and trauma-inducing. As we think about our piece in bringing solutions to these important issues, we humbly offer this perspective: relational problems can only be healed relationally.

by: Dr. David Cross

I am afraid. I can’t remember ever being more afraid than I am right now. But if I am afraid, what must the children be feeling? And what must all of the vulnerable ones be feeling? I am angry. I can’t remember ever being more angry than I am right now. But if I am angry, what must the bypassed ones be feeling? And what must those whose rights have been violated be feeling? I am hurting. I am hurting because so many of my fellow Americans are hurting. My pain has become unbearable, but if my pain is unbearable, what of the pain of the children, of the vulnerable, of the bypassed, of the violated? What must their pain feel like? (more…)

To the TCU Child Development Class of 2020

Dear 2020 Child Development Graduates,

Congratulations on earning your college degree, I am so proud of you!

Now, I have two questions for you.

  • What is your stress level on a scale from 1 to 10? With 1 being low and 10 being high AND
  • What are you doing for self-care?

I asked you these questions every time we met for class and I hope you continue to ask yourselves these questions and give voice to your bodies and spirits, especially in this strange time.  (more…)

Small Steps Make a Big Difference

by: Emmelie Pickett

As TCU students shelter in place in their respective homes, one child development student is taking the opportunity to give back to her hometown. Alexandra Reynoso, a graduating senior, saw a need for providing food for disadvantaged families in Houston, TX, and wanted to help.

TCU child development senior, Alex Reynoso, with donations for Small Steps Nurturing Center.


On Resilience and the Coronavirus

by: Dr. David Cross

I like newspapers, and my favorite newspaper is The New York Times.  A few weeks ago I read a column by David Brooks, titled “Mental Health in the Age of the Coronavirus.”  In it, he touched on the core principles of our work at the KPICD.  In just a few words, he captured the essence of trauma and connection.  Or at least he did so as much as anyone can capture the “essence” of such a complex topic in just a few words.

At the end of his column, David Brooks posed two questions, and readers were encouraged to submit written responses to each.  The first question was, “In what ways are the coronavirus and isolation affecting you psychologically?”  The second questions was, “What are you doing to stay mentally well?” (more…)

Thanking the Caregivers

Samantha Singer connects with a camper at Hope Connection 2.0

Beyond the threat of contracting COVID-19, the ripple effects of the virus impact every person, including the most vulnerable among us: children who are at-risk. Shelter-in-place orders have been established to keep us safe from the virus, but sadly, for many children this means staying home with an abuser. Samantha Singer, TCU Child Development alumna and master’s of developmental trauma student, wanted to help. (more…)

Connected in Crisis: Families

Our work at the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development is centered around connection. We study attachment between parents/caregivers and children and connections within communities. So much of Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI)  is based on the idea that we are hardwired to connect.

But what happens when connection in the traditional sense is cut off? With the growing threat of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and recommendations to self-quarantine or at the very least, practice social distancing, connection as we know it seems impossible. (more…)

On Staying Connected in Crisis

Editors note:This post is from our Founder and Director, Dr. David Cross in light of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). We hope you are all staying healthy, safe, and connected during this strange and uncertain time. 

Connected in Crisis

by: Dr. David Cross

When I was a child, we were asked to crouch under our desks during nuclear attack drills. We lived with the fear of nuclear attack, and we demonized the “Red Menace,” which included both Communist China and the USSR. My father fought in World War II, and during that conflict – especially in the period after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor – those who lived on the West Coast feared a Japanese invasion, and they demonized the “Yellow Peril.”  David Brooks, a correspondent for the New York Times, has researched the “Spanish Flu” pandemic of 1918-1920 (which, by the way, killed more humans than did World War I, and did not originate in Spain), and noted how poorly people – in general – treated one another. Similar social dynamics were in play during the “Black Death” (bubonic plague) that swept through the “Old World” in the 14th century. As adults, my generation experienced some of these same dynamics during the AIDS outbreak during the 1980s, when gay men were demonized.

Today we are faced with a new threat, COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus. (more…)

TBRI® Animate: The IDEAL Response©

When a child from a hard place doesn’t feel safe, the result is often behaviors that appear willful, baffling, and infuriating to caregivers. How we respond is critical.

Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) has developed a guideline to help. Watch as we walk through the IDEAL Response© for dealing with behaviors and building connection between the child and caregiver.

This TBRI® Animate was created in collaboration with Cognitive story-telling and animation studio, most known for their work with RSA Animate. Using animation to share TBRI® was a dream of Dr. Purvis’s, and we are especially grateful to Producer/Writer of this project, Cynthia Hall for her creativity and understanding of TBRI®. It is our hope that the TBRI® Animates will inspire parents and professionals across the world to bring deep healing to vulnerable children.

ALL RISE: For the Good of the Children

We are pleased to introduce a new documentary film featuring a TBRI® court in Tyler, Texas.

ALL RISE, For the Good of the Children, takes you inside the courtroom of an unconventional East Texas judge who uses a trauma-informed, trust-based approach to healing broken families in the child welfare system. Two families share how they transformed their lives through the support and intervention offered by Judge Carole Clark and her team of lawyers, mental health experts and child advocates.

ALL RISE will premiere at the 49th Annual USA Film Festival in Dallas, TX on April 28, 2019. The full film will be available for online viewing in May 2019.

A production of the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development and Cactex Media.

Director, Producer, Writer: Olive Talley

Editor: Jeff Hutton

Director of Photography: Guy Hernandez

Executive Producer:  Dr. David Cross


© Texas Christian University, Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development. All rights reserved.