Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) is the heart and soul of much of the teaching here at The Connecting Space. We know that every person has an inborn need to connect, but for some of the children we serve, this need has been overshadowed by fear caused by negative early experiences which make lasting connections so very hard for them.

Trust-Based Relational Intervention ® (TBRI®), is a parenting and intervention model developed by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross at the Texas Christian University (TCU) Institute of Child Development.

TBRI ® is based on a solid foundation of neuropsychological theory and research, tempered by humanitarian principles. It is a family-based intervention that is designed for children who have experienced relationship-based traumas such as institutionalization, multiple foster placements, maltreatment, or neglect.

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.

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

– Dr. Karyn Purvis

TBRI® is designed for children from “hard places” such as abuse, neglect, and/or trauma. Because of their histories, children from hard places have changes in their bodies, brains, behaviors, and belief systems.

While a variety of parenting strategies may be successful in typical circumstances, children from hard places need caregiving that meets their unique needs and addresses the whole child.

TBRI® is used in homes, residential treatment facilities, group homes, schools, camps, and international orphanages.


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.