TBRI Mantra: Part I

by Emmelie Pickett

What words do you find yourself repeating in your mind — or out loud — when you feel stressed or anxious? We often encourage caregivers to use mantras to stay focused and calm while working with children. Here are a few mantras we’ve heard from caregivers over the years:

“This too shall pass.”

“Serenity now.”

“It is my job to help you regulate.”

In the spirit of keeping things real, we’ve also heard a few that are slightly less zen, but you get the idea. Any short, repeatable phrase that helps you stay mindful and connected can be used as a mantra.

Recently Dr. David Cross developed his own TBRI Mantra for parents and professionals to use when working with their children.

Stay calm no matter what.

See the need behind the behavior.

Find a way to meet the need.

Don’t quit. If not you, then who?


“I was channeling Karyn when I wrote it,” says Cross. “Basically I was thinking, ‘how did Karyn work?’ She was always calm, she would see the need behind the behavior, she would find a way to meet the need – especially at that first camp when she didn’t exactly know what was going on with the kids, and she never quit.”

Over the next few weeks we’ll break down each section of the TBRI Mantra and Dr. Cross will share his thoughts on each segment.

Use your words:

Do you use mantras in your work or personal life?

Which part of the TBRI Mantra do you find most challenging? Which part is easiest for you?


7 Responses to “TBRI Mantra: Part I”

  1. Lynda Willie

    Would it be possible to distribute this to teachers in my district? I train at my service center and would love for my teachers to see this.

  2. Brad

    This is straight from Page 8 of The Connected Child. (Line breaks and numbering is mine.)

    “Instead, we
    1) calmly and firmly interrupt bad behavior,
    2) identify the need that drives this behavior,
    3) show the child how to achieve his or her goals appropriately, and then praise the child for doing so.”

  3. Tomi

    Does anyone recall the quote and if so, where can I find it via Purvis videos?

    It was something similar to “You cannot punish away bad behavior” or negative behavior perhaps? I cannot remember.

  4. Doon

    My Mantra
    Whilst working With adolescent (12-18yr) youth in a 90 day residential AOD and Mental health treatment program was:

    Young people who often the 3rd generation of complex family trauma and disadvantaged
    Sentenced to 90days in a youth residential treatment facility to educate
    harm reduction life choices and provide support into independent living, everytwo inches from my nose

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>