Posted by: icmadoptionnetwork | October 4, 2011

Empowered to Connect Conference

Empowered to Connect

On September 23-24, 2011, I had the joy of attending the Empowered to Connect Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.  If you are unfamiliar with Empowered to Connect, it is an organization founded by Dr. Karyn Purvis, one of the leading psychologists in child development in correlation with trauma, abuse, and neglect.  Dr. Purvis is the Director of the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University.  Dr. Purvis is known internationally for her work with at-risk children.  The majority of the children she works with have been adopted or been in the foster system.  If you cannot tell, I hold Dr. Purvis in very high regard. If you would like to learn more about Dr. Purvis and her work, visit

The conference centered around parenting of these vulnerable children, as many of these children come with past hurts and with walls already built up around their tiny hearts. Dr. Purvis believes strongly in the power of communication, and many of her techniques revolve around teaching your child to vocalize his/her needs and emotions. I’m sure most of you have experienced a child that wants something throwing a tantrum, because they do not know how to vocalize their needs. Dr. Purvis always praises children for using their words to express themselves.  She will frequently praise, “Those are good words.”  I had the joy of taking my husband with me to the conference. Now every time I vocalize an emotion, my wonderful husband states, “Those are good words honey.” I’m glad he took something away from the conference as well!

I would encourage all of you to visit Dr. Purvis’ website, and look into her research.  The most beneficial thing that you can do is to pick up her book, The Connected Child, and read it.  You will be blown away by her techniques and excellent words of wisdom!  I am trying to decide whether or not to make this required reading for families during the home study process.  If you have any comments, please share!

God bless you all this week!

Maria Gocke, MSW

Director of Adoption Services



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