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Our Why in Embracing TBRI®

A Show Hope Adoption Aid grant recipient family hug and smile

“We love because he first loved us.”

1 John 4:19

God created us to be in relationship—at peace within ourselves, with him, and with others. And yet, with the fall of mankind into sin, we now experience the pain of broken relationships and the vulnerability of isolation. This is the painful reality for many children who have been impacted by abuse, trauma, loss, and/or neglect. However, as only God could design, the human brain is pliable and can be rewired. Dr. Karyn Purvis once said, “Our children were harmed in relationship, and they will experience healing through nurturing relationships.” When we step into the journey of caring for children who have been impacted by early loss and trauma, an incredible invitation is extended. We have the opportunity to help rewrite the narrative … to help lead our children to places of emotional, physical, and neurological healing by being the hands and feet of Christ. In other words, to love as we have been loved. And for us at Show Hope, TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention®) is a beautiful expression of Christ’s love—his gospel—here on earth. 

At the core of who we are exists a desire and need for connection, belonging, and security found only within relationship. This truth can be traced back to the beginning of time, when God said, “‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ … So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them’” (Genesis 1:26-27). This mutual exchange of love between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is imprinted on the human soul—we bear the Imago Dei, “image of God.” And as the creation narrative unfolds, God reflects on his creation of Adam, remarking, “It is not good that man should be alone …” (Genesis 2:18). God’s response to Adam’s solitude is the creation of Eve, Adam’s partner. The height of joy and depth of trust experienced through loving relationships and secure attachment are fundamentally God’s idea and his design. 

Trust-Based Relational Intervention is designed to meet the relational and developmental needs of children and teens impacted by trauma as well as the needs of the parents and caregivers who are seeking to help them thrive and flourish. TBRI considers the whole child—his or her brain, biology, behavior, body, and beliefs—and provides parents and caregivers with practical tools and insights to help their child(ren) reach his or her highest potential. And, perhaps most integral, TBRI has connection at its core—the truth that connection builds trust, and trust builds healthy relationships. 

For some, TBRI may be perceived as clinical in nature as it does involve the complexities of science, we, at Show Hope, again, see it as an opportunity to express our shared faith in Jesus Christ. In “Created to Connect: A Christian’s Guide to The Connected Child,” Dr. Purvis, with Amy and Michael Monroe, writes, “The longing of the human heart is to connect and belong. We long to connect with our Creator, in whose image we have been made, and by God’s grace such a connection is possible. As relational beings, we also have a deep need and desire to connect with those around us. One of the most important and meaningful human conditions is undoubtedly between a parent and child.” 

We’ve heard it said that TBRI is the “gold standard” in holistic care for children impacted by trauma. With a keen balance of nurture and structure, the care model works to promote trust and connection between parents or caregivers and children by addressing physical and emotional needs while also disarming fear-based behavior—something, we at Show Hope, see as a reflection of our relationships with God the Father through Jesus the son. As Dr. Purvis points out in “Created to Connect,” “Using a balance of both nurture (his tender mercies) and structure (his guiding hand directing and correcting), [God] kindly, yet firmly, leads us into a right relationship with him. I love the way ‘The Message’ reflects the words of Paul in describing how God handles us, his children: ‘God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness, he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change’ (Romans 2:4). As parents, we too must lovingly, intentionally, and firmly take our children by the hand and lead them into a relationship of trust and healing. It is through this process, and as a result of this renewed relationship, that we and our children will discover real, life-changing hope.”

To learn more about TBRI and our faith in our care for children and teens, please join us for the annual Hope for the Journey Conference.   

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