Participants engage in trauma training held at Andrews University. Photo credit: Darren Heslop

April 7, 2022

Message of Restoration Centers Trauma Training at Andrews University

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich.—On Friday, Feb. 18, the Andrews University International Center for Trauma Education & Care held its first Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®) training of the year.

This 24-hour training was divided into three full sessions on Feb. 18, 25, and March 4, all held in Griggs Hall. The training was led by Ingrid Slikkers, LMSW, assistant professor of social work and executive director of the Trauma Center, and Charity Garcia, PhD, associate professor of curriculum & instruction and the director of K–12 education initiatives.

Slikkers described the training sessions as “pretty cool God moments.” “It’s always exciting to not only have students and faculty from different disciplines come together but with the added community professionals, all eager to serve children, it was amazing to hear the conversations and the community that was being developed. Because of the connections that were created, those present have asked that we organize quarterly meetings. Supported by funds from CASA of Southwest Michigan through a Spectrum Lakeland grant, we will implement this initiative, calling these meetings ‘Connect & Collaborate’.”

TBRI® is an approach to child intervention developed and promoted by the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development. Slikkers explains that TBRI® is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. TBRI® addresses children’s physical needs, attachment needs, and correction needs to disarm fear-based behaviors. It is based on extensive research on attachment, sensory processing and

neuroscience, and the primary focus is the connection between a child and the caregiver. This training has been used successfully in orphanages, courts, residential treatment facilities, group homes, foster and adoptive homes, churches and schools, and has been used with children and youth of all ages and risk levels.

Attendees included faculty and students from the School of Social Work and Department of Teaching, Learning & Curriculum, as well as leadership from the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) of Southwest Michigan, the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Michigan, Sylvester Elementary School, area therapists from Bridges of Courage Counseling, Psychological Associates and Child & Family Psychological Services, staff from Berrien County Health and Human Services as well as pastors who work with children.

Garcia shared, “It was fantastic to have students and faculty from the Department of Teaching, Learning & Curriculum in the training along with others in the education field, like the Sylvester Elementary leadership team. It was wonderful to have us all working across experience levels and sectors within education but also with others in social work and other disciplines.”

James Mello, a social work student, shared his experience, “The TBRI training was a great experience for me both as a parent and as a professional in social work. I learned even more about the way kids process their emotions and how to help them learn the necessary skills for emotional regulation. Doing this for young people enables resiliency to occur so that they can grow up to be well-adjusted adults. I’m really grateful I am learning these skills and am already applying them in many settings!”

The International Center for Trauma Education & Care is growing in its ability to train and empower caregivers around the world, most recently training leaders in Ukraine and Poland. The Center officially opened in September of 2019, and its message of hope and healing has already had a tremendous impact on the lives of many individuals. The educational approaches used at the Center are holistic, spiritually informed, culturally sensitive, and long-lasting. The

Center’s primary goal is to help facilitate long-term healing from trauma and offer trauma-informed awareness, education and tools to support healing in organizations, churches and communities across the world.

To learn more about the Center, visit the School of Social Work in Nethery Hall or go to

Founded in 1874, Andrews University is the flagship institution of higher education for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and offers more than 160 areas of study, including advanced degrees. Its main campus is in Berrien Springs, Michigan, but the University also provides instruction at colleges and universities in more than 25 countries around the world.


Pearl Parker, University Communication student writer