“For kids that have gone through trauma, they need an impactful relationship with a reliable and trustworthy adult that cares for and loves them. This will then start to create a healing experience.” – Derek Clark
What Derek describes in this quote is a model known as TBRI or trust-based relational intervention. This holistic approach is a trauma-informed intervention method that can help children who have experienced childhood trauma in the form of abuse, neglect, maltreatment, multiple home placements, violence, etc. to find healing. Let’s take a look at why this is necessary and how the goals of TBRI align with helping children in need.
Where is TBRI used?
TBRI is an effective approach in homes, schools, orphanages, residential treatment centers, and other places that serve youth affected by childhood trauma. The goal of TBRI is to give caregivers the tools they need to help guide children back to their natural developmental trajectory.
What are the goals of TBRI?
- To create an environment of physical, social, and psychological safety
- To meet the physiological needs of children (hunger, hydration, etc.)
- To build and strengthen secure and resilient attachments between caregivers and children
- To provide caregivers with proactive strategies for behavioral change
- This is shown through the IDEAL (Immediate, Direct, Efficient, Active, Leveled) Response
- To structure experiences to enhance emotional and behavioral self-regulation
Why does it work?
At its core, TBRI builds a trusting relationship with children who have been impacted by trauma. It’s based on three principles: Connecting, Empowering, and Correcting. These principles look at the child as a whole. It goes back to the first year of life where children learn important concepts like, “I can trust.” When they cry, someone will come to comfort them. However, in trauma-related situations, this connection is often disrupted for the children, and as a result, their brain chemistry is dramatically altered.
TBRI seeks to change the wiring of the brain by forming a connection with the child and building a safe and secure relationship. Actions like making eye contact, touching, and listening can help to facilitate this. Empowering principles in this model are used to address the physical needs that have sometimes been neglected as well. Correction is also a part of this process. You must show a child the right behavior – without fear or shame – and praise him/her when he/she gets it right.
This method provides the caregiver with proactive strategies to act as the external regulator that the child needs to learn how to self-regulate. Through this self-regulation, the child can begin to feel the safety that they didn’t feel due to the childhood trauma that they experienced.
This trauma-informed care method aims to help children regulate their emotions, change their behavior, and learn to trust caring adults. All three of these things can be incredibly challenging for children from traumatic backgrounds. Yet, a single impactful relationship with a trustworthy adult can truly make a difference.
Looking childhood trauma-related training or how to build a relationship of trust with a grieving child? Contact Derek Clark to have him deliver an inspiring keynote speech at your next conference or event.