One of the founding developers of trust-based relational intervention therapy (TBRI), Dr. David Cross, eloquently expressed his overarching vision for TBRI in his essay, “Little Victories.” In the essay, Cross writes “Victory is the light of compassionate action, taken on behalf of those who are afraid, angry, and hurting. Victory is not monumental change, but the incremental change that comes from thousands of small yet meaningful victories. Victory, in our case, comes from our commitment, our creativity, and our courage.”
In short, the objective of TBRI is to promote meaningful change through a commitment to small compassionate actions. TBRI practitioners use a gentle focus on facilitating expression and empowerment using attachment-based interventions. The aim is to build trust in a nurturing relationship with those who most need this type of relationship. This is done with hope and faith that the outcome will be mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual recovery.
Here at Clearview Girls Academy, we understand that not every form of therapy works for everyone. Considering that we have students from different backgrounds (including some more vulnerable populations), we feel grateful for the variety of specialists we have on staff and the therapeutic modalities we can employ. One of these special modalities is TBRI.
A Basic Overview of Trust-Based Relational Intervention Therapy
One of the first important aspects to understand regarding TBRI is that it is specifically designed to help adolescents in at-risk populations recover a sense of safety and connection. In fact, the lack of youth-risk-focused therapy was the primary reason TBRI was developed.
As explained in a paper written by the developers of TBRI, Dr. Karyn B. Purvis and David R. Cross for the journal Child & Youth Services, “Children and Youth who have experienced foster care or orphanage-rearing have often experienced complex developmental trauma, demonstrating an interactive set of psychological and behavioral issues. Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) is a therapeutic model that trains caregivers to provide effective support and treatment for at-risk children.” Here at Clearview Girls Academy, we are fortunate to have some of those trained caregivers on staff.
Our Clinical Director and TBRI specialist, Beth Loyd, has been a licensed practitioner of TBRI since 2015. In that time she has utilized her skills and knowledge to help our especially at-risk students recover and go on to live rich and fulfilled lives. In particular, she has employed her specialized skills in TBRI to help countless foster and adoptive students and their families to recover and grow.
The Benefits of Trust-Based Relational Intervention Therapy
To better understand the benefits of TBRI, it can be helpful to understand its three core principles: empowerment, connection, and correction.
The Benefits of Empowerment
Many of our students who come from at-risk populations have trouble adjusting to the belief that they are no longer “at risk.” For the caregiver, it is one thing to know that their child is no longer at risk. However, it is something else entirely to convey to that child that they are no longer at risk. Employing the empowerment principle here allows the student to take autonomy over their own safety and environment, which in turn creates confidence and growth.
The Benefits of Connection
Our students from vulnerable populations also often struggle with making positive connections. Often this is due to the lack of compassionate connection they had in their formative years. TBRI aims to “give voice” to these students so that they can then begin to make new connections and build stable and secure relationships.
The Benefits of Correction
Once the principles of empowerment and connection have been established, proactive behavioral training can really begin. The correction principle focuses on foresight rather than response. Instead of reprimanding students, the students are guided toward better behaviors. This principle helps our students make empowered decisions rather than learning from them after the fact. This proactive correction method can also improve a student’s social skills, problem-solving abilities, and conflict management.
Integrating Trust-Based Relational Intervention Therapy Into a Treatment Plan
Here at Clearview Girls Academy, we do not see a student body, we see a body of individual students. We do not see statistics, we see separate individuals. We see things this way because we have often seen kids lumped into broad mental health categories when their situation was much more complex than a simple diagnosis. We’ve found that practitioners see more results from a truly open-minded approach.
We take an individualized approach to all of our students, and that includes each of our students from traumatic situations and difficult upbringings. Many of our students will engage in the same activities and therapies, but for those who will benefit, we also employ TBRI.
Dr. Cross concludes his essay “Little Victories,” by stating, “Victory lives within us, it is part of our DNA, and we are needed now more than ever.” We second those sentiments exactly, and we are proud that we too are aligned with TBRI’s vision of victory.
When someone is struggling with issues of mental health, it is important to seek out all avenues of potential treatment or therapies. This may include emotional therapies, neuropsychological therapies, or more esoteric holistic therapies. Here at Clearview Girls Academy, we believe that an individualized plan that utilizes multiple options of therapies is best. This includes integrating trust-based relational intervention therapy (TBRI) if the situation calls for it. TBRI can be especially useful when it comes to more vulnerable populations of young women including girls with severe symptoms of trauma. If you feel that your child is struggling with their mental health, we can help. Call Clearview Girls Academy today at (888) 796-5484 for more information.