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The Purvis Institute’s Global Mission

Trauma-healing techniques are reaching children around the world.

The Purvis Institute’s Global Mission

Trauma-healing techniques are reaching children around the world.

Amanda Purvis, a training specialist at the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development, hopes to help her colleagues implement Trust-Based Relational Intervention training to organizations in 25 countries and 25 states by 2025.

The goal “is to work systemically with any professional who’s touching the lives of vulnerable children across the globe,” said Purvis, who is not related to Karyn Purvis, “whether that means government institutions, churches, mental health professionals or courts.”

The Purvis Institute is an international leader in trauma-informed care. Getty Images

The institute has collaborated with governments in countries including Thailand, Colombia, New Zealand, Ethiopia and Paraguay to implement TBRI. These partnerships have created national systems that focus on helping children recover from trauma.

While such systems have been growing in the United States since the 1970s, Purvis said, they are a novel idea elsewhere. “Historically, children who are not cared for by immediate family members have gone into children’s homes — or what many people would call orphanages. … And growing up in these institutionalized environments can create trauma to the brain and the body in ways that are very detrimental to their long-term success.”

The growing need for trauma-informed interventions has led to global requests for the institute’s guidance, she said. “TBRI has spread in a grassroots kind of way. When caregivers say, ‘This is the only thing that works,’ governments begin to pay attention.”

Last year, Amanda Purvis and Daren Jones, the institute’s associate director of training & consultation services, traveled to Thailand to help develop guidelines for a national foster care system. The effort arose from a partnership between the Purvis Institute and the United Nations International Children’s Fund.

Purvis helped administer a four-day training regimen there. The first step was to train government workers on how to recognize trauma. Next, she taught methods to help them form attachments with children. The approach encourages emotional and mental development in the children going through the foster care system.

“Our connecting principles and empowering principles are all about understanding how sensory input and the brain and body can function properly after experiencing trauma,” Purvis said, “and then setting up an environment for kids to succeed.”

In June, the U.S. Department of State released its annual Trafficking in Persons report. It singled out the Purvis Institute as an international leader in trauma-informed care.

“The more systemic work that we continue to do globally, the more other countries are going to continue to seek guidance in terms of deinstitutionalizing and training their people to be trauma-informed,” Purvis said. “So I see [the institute] being a huge, huge deal as we continue to move forward.”