by Mary Peterson, Housing Specialist
The pregnancy help movement has long been a advocate of relationship being the central aspect of ministry. Heartbeat developed this principle into a method they refer to as The LOVE Approach which has been taught in countries across the world.
In recent years, brain science and trauma-informed care research has further validated this idea. This area of study is providing new findings and strategies to further develop connection with clients with deep compassion.
Debbie Simmons of Anchor Point has introduced one trauma-informed method, Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI), into her life-saving work. She was so convicted about the impact that TBRI was having in her ministry that she become a trainer on the topic.
"TBRI has revolutionized our ministry and seeing that transformation, you can't help but get excited," Simmons said with passion. "It has taken our ministry to the next level of impact." She continued that TBRI has not only changed the way that she does ministry but also the way that she parents and approaches all relationships.
Debbie furthered described the impact saying, "Our clients are 'kids from hard places' and without a radical difference in their lives, they will raise 'kids from hard places.'" Simmons described how practical differences–things like layout of the building, discipline strategies, and communication tools–can shift a client from having a "fixed mindset" to having a "growth mindset."
"In taking our focus on connection to a whole new level," Debbie described, "our staff needed to have eyes of compassion at a whole new level." For Anchor Point, adopting a TBRI framework provided the training and methods allowed that shift to take place. "It allowed us to see our clients in a whole new light."
Valerie Harkins, Program Director of LifeHouse, has also integrated the TBRI model in the daily functioning of their maternity homes. "The new approach allowed us to move away from power struggles to shared decision making," She continued, "We still maintain authority but do so in a way that respects the woman's deep need to feel safe and in control." For further reading on TBRI, Harkins recommends The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis.
Organizations that are interested in learning more about Trust-Based Relational Intervention can join Debbie Simmons as she presents an In-Depth Day at the Heartbeat Conference in Anaheim, CA on April 10, 2018.
Simmons invited organizations to invest in impact. "These are life and death issues...eternal issues," Simmons asserted, "we want to get them right!"