In Honor of Dr. Karyn Purvis who died in April 2016

Dr. Karyn Purvis (The Child Whisperer) Interview with Bryan Post

You can not lead a child to a place of healing if you do not know the way yourself.

Post-Institute-Karyn-Purvis-The-Connected-ChildDr. Karyn Purvis was one of the most respected child advocates in the nation, developed effective research-based ways to help children with histories of trauma, abuse and neglect. She co-authored “The Connected Child: Bringing Hope and Healing to your Adoptive Family,” a best-selling book on adoption that’s one of the first resources our orphan care team recommends to families considering adoption. Over the course of her life and distinguished career, Dr. Purvis wore many hats: author, scholar, researcher, speaker and founder of Texas Christian University’s Institute of Child Development.

The-Connected-Child-Book-Dr-Karyn-PurvisDr. Karyn Purvis was the Rees-Jones director and co-founder of the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, the creator of Trust-Based Relational Intervention, co-author of a best-selling book in the adoption genre, and a passionate and effective advocate for children. She coined the term “children from hard places” to describe the children she loved and served, and those who have suffered trauma, abuse, neglect or other adverse conditions early in life. Her research-based philosophy for healing harmed children centered on earning trust and building deep emotional connections to anchor and empower them. Among academics, she was a respected researcher, demonstrating how a child’s behavior, neurochemistry and life trajectory can change given the right environment. Among parents, she was an authoritative speaker and writer and trainer. Many adoptive parents, who marveled at her innate ability to playfully connect and see the real heart of a child, revered her as a “child whisperer.” To the thousands of children whose lives she touched, she was warmly known as “Miss Karyn, the queen of bubble gum!” A mother, grandmother, foster parent, pastor’s wife and developmental psychologist, Dr. Purvis devoted her life to serving children. In the last decade, she and her team at the TCU Institute of Child Development taught and inspired tens of thousands of parents, professionals, foreign dignitaries, political leaders, orphanage and adoption workers, lawmakers, judges, and child advocates around the world about the need for trauma-informed care and trust-based interventions for vulnerable children. “If I could tell you my dream for every child in the world, it would be to imagine a world where the cry of every child is met by 11 compassionate adults,” she once told an interviewer. “Giving voice to children is the heart and soul of what we do.” Read More at

To us at The Post Institue, she was almost saintly in her compassion as passionate advocate. She has lots of research to back up her approach as well as data from her work at Texas Christian University. This is one of the sweetest interviews we have. Plenty of specific things to do to help your child or families if you are a professional. As the founder and director of the TCU Institute of Child Development and a passionate advocate for “children from hard places”, (a phrase that describes children with histories of trauma, abuse and neglect), Dr. Purvis and her mentor and colleague, Dr. David Cross, led the Institute in its triple mission of research, education and outreach on behalf of at-risk children.

For more from Dr. Karyn Purvis and David Cross. here is an article you might enjoy: Caught Between the Amygdala and a Hard Place By Karyn Purvis, PhD & David Cross, PhD

Listen to this interview here or download below