Talking TBRI® 101 with Dr. David Cross

by: Emmelie Pickett

We’ve had an exciting week here at the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development. On May 9 we launched TBRI® 101: A Self-Guided Course in Trust-Based Relationships, a new resource that we’ve had in the works for quite awhile. Although this resource just became available, TBRI® 101 has an interesting history. Dr. David Cross, who created the TBRI® 101 video lessons with Dr. Karyn Purvis, tells us more. 

How did TBRI® 101 come about? What was the original use for these videos? 

The “whiteboards” (the original name for these videos) were developed for a project we were doing with a school district in another state several years ago. We were training the staff at small number of elementary schools and the school leaders (principals, vice-principals, counselors) felt it would be good to have some resources they could use during weekly staff meetings. They felt they could dedicate about 30 minutes each week to TBRI® training, so we tried to make the whiteboards 20-30 minutes long. We also wanted to cover all of TBRI®, as well as the impact of trauma. The goal was to create a distance learning opportunity for elementary school staff, that would fit their busy schedules.

Who can benefit from TBRI® 101?

Although the videos were designed for elementary school staff, it turns out that they are suitable for a wide range of contexts. The TBRI® 101 videos were used in an intervention study with adoptive parents, with good results, so we know they are accessible to parents. We actually believe the TBRI® 101 lessons are suitable for almost any context, including homes, schools, clinics, and residential settings, because the emphasis in the whiteboards is on the fundamentals of TBRI®, and not on any particular application or implementation of TBRI®.

How is TBRI® 101 different than the other products offered from the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development?

TBRI® 101 is different in a number of ways. I will mention just three: One is that these video lessons are not as highly produced as are most of the Purvis Institute video and digital products. At the time we didn’t have the resources or the time to produce them at a high level, and we weren’t producing them to be a product for sale. That said, the content of the TBRI® 101 video lessons goes deeper into the workings of TBRI® than any of our other resources, aside from TBRI® Practitioner Training — this makes TBRI® 101 a great follow-up course for those who have viewed our Healing Families videos, or attended an overview training. Finally, Dr. Purvis and I had a our deepest, most fruitful, and most intense conversations about TBRI® while we were making the TBRI® 101 videos. For this reason this resource reveals some of our best thinking about what TBRI® is and how it works.

What are your goals for those who take TBRI® 101?

I like to say that TBRI® is like DNA — it is inert until someone brings it to life. TBRI® is a great model of trauma-informed care, but it is made great by those who implement it, who bring it to life. So, my hope is that TBRI® 101 will be a useful and engaging resource for those who are trying to bring TBRI® to life, whether they are caregivers, clinicians, educators, or case workers.

Is there anything else you want to tell us about TBRI® 101?

One of the things I love about TBRI® 101 is that Dr. Purvis is the speaker. It is like listening to an extended lecture by the master of trauma-informed care. Further, her voice itself is an embodiment of TBRI® (think of the Engagement Strategies – Total Voice Control). I speak for the kids, and myself, when I say that her “authoritative voice” could both calm and command, bringing both nurture and structure to those of us who come from hard places.

Thanks so much, Dr. C.! 


Dr. David Cross is the Rees-Jones Director of the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development and a Professor in the TCU Department of Psychology. He leads the KPICD in its triple mission of research, education, and outreach to improve the lives of children from hard places. Together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, Dr. Cross created Trust-Based Relational Intervention®, (TBRI®) a holistic, attachment-based, trauma-informed, and evidence-based intervention for children who have experienced relational trauma. 



For more information about TBRI® 101, click here.

To purchase TBRI® 101, click here. 




2 Responses to “Talking TBRI® 101 with Dr. David Cross”

  1. Rhonda Littleton

    I would like to purchase two copies of TBRI 101 download.
    When I tried to order it said there was a problem.
    Can you help?

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