Essential Skills and Beliefs for TBRI

This is entry 3 of the blogchain TBRI.


After working my way through an online TBRI course, I’ve concluded that there is an essential set of skills and beliefs that TBRI rests on. I doubt the importance and veracity of a few things it promotes, and I think TBRI neglects the most important element of bad behavior: Sin. But I find the following list of core skills and beliefs that TBRI promotes to be true and very beneficial.

  • For kids, you should normally aim for a connected, playful level of engagement. (I’d guess something similar is probably true for adults.

  • Achieving and maintaining this kind of engagement requires both proactive and responsive strategies.

  • Care for the whole person. This is related to mercy and empowerment. A person’s needs are physical and non-physical. Responsive correction is most effective when a person is empowered and connected. 

  • It is important to be present and mindful of your own needs, as well as the needs of the person you are trying to help. Long-term success depends on it.

  • Learning works well in a calm, alert state. Respond to bad behavior, but use proactive strategies too.

  • Be deliberate and clear about your level of expectations; be ready to raise and low the bar as needed.

  • Teaching how to use words to solve conflicts is a good idea. Learning to use words well empowers us to solve conflicts in good ways and reduces dependence on ineffective and destructive strategies.

  • Remember that with people from hard places, co-regulation is often necessary before self-regulation is possible.

  • Remember that just because someone is safe doesn’t mean they feel safe. Stress hormones, for example, don’t magically disappear just because someone hears “get over it.”

  • Learn and use I.D.E.A.L responses, which requires knowing how to escalate the level of response and how to get back to connected, playful engagement.

This list is a high bar for those who aim to be helpers. And it doesn’t even include the spiritual needs of a person, which must also be considered. But putting these things into practice is important and worth the effort.

Christopher Chelpka @christopherchelpka