Sometimes I get an idea and when I have one of these moments of enlightenment it’s the result of something that I personally experienced or something that is one way or another tied to a verse or verses of scripture.
While on a Walk to Emmaus weekend, a dear sister in Christ came to me and asked if I would have any interest in spending a weekend serving as a member of clergy for a Kairos Prison Ministry weekend. I said sure (I have a real tendency, so I have been told by my wife, that I really have a problem saying no). Now, I have never been to a prison before so as the days began to speed by, my anxiety started to bump up quite a few notches. To make a long story short, that weekend was one of the most incredible Spirit-filled weekends of my life. I won’t go into the details about what Kairos Prison Ministries are all about. I will just provide this link and you can read about it at your leisure Kairos Prison Ministry
It was not long after that amazing experience that I learned about Dr. Karyn Purvis of the Texas Christian University Institute of Child Development and her Trust Based Relational Intervention program. If you want to know more about Trust Based Relational Intervention or TBRI®, then check it out by clicking on this hyperlink What is Trust-Based Relational Intervention?
I read The Connected Child which was authored by Drs. Karyn Purvis and David Cross, attended an Empowered to Connect Conference, and began to use the TBRI principles as a Foster/Adoptive Home Development caseworker while I was employed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (CPS). Well, the impact TBRI had on my foster to adopt families was remarkable. Children placed in their home began to respond to the interventions and behaviors began to change for the positive.
I left CPS to pursue a practice as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor on a contractual basis. In this practice I will work with parolees who are under the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Substance Abuse Counseling Program (SACP). SACP was designed to reduce the recidivism rate of offenders who use alcohol or drugs while on parole supervision, have a history of drug and/or alcohol use, or who request assistance with drug and/or alcohol related issues during their parole. For more information, visit Substance Abuse Treatment Program
It occurred to me that the majority of parolees had suffered all kinds of trauma during their childhood. These were adults who never were given the opportunity to give voice to their pain when they were children which resulted in behaviors directly linked to those maladaptive experiences. So it only seemed logical to use TBRI principles in my practice.
I found that where TBRI was most effective was in group work.
To get a better understanding of how TBRI can work in these settings, listen and watch Judge Darlene Byrne talk about how TBRI has helped foster parents and their children who come from hard places.
I have been offered the opportunity to have research done on the use of TBRI in programs like SACP. I just have a feeling this idea will catch fire and just maybe, it might make a positive difference.