What Families Are Saying About HALO

98% of Participants Who Have Completed The HALO Project Report Needing No Further Therapy Services

Here’s what actual parents who have completed The HALO Project have to say about their experiences: 

“HALO taught us a new language to communicate with our child.”

“We are finally bonding with our child instead of feeling helpless.”

“I feel capable, full of hope, compassion, able to love them and understanding how they are.”

“Family life has been become a lot less chaotic, because I have better tools to work with.”

“HALO has given us tools to parent with and in return gives me the confidence to raise this sweet girl.”

“It is the best way that I have found, in all my years of fostering, to understand and be able to help the kids.”

Family horsey riding

See how The HALO Project helped a child heal and a family grow closer

Healing through The HALO Project:
The Guntz Family’s Story

Father holding daughter's hand

     My husband and I have been fostering  many children off and on over a period of twenty five years. We have a  blended family and have adopted five of our ten children.  I am a  licensed social worker and have worked with children and youth since 1984. My husband  was a middle school and high school teacher for seven  years, so we have worked with many different  children in different capacities. 

     Most recently we fostered and  adopted two sisters that had been through a great deal of trauma in  their young lives.  Although the youngest was only 18 months old, she  had witnessed drug abuse, domestic violence, police activity, fighting, her biological mother being arrested, living in a car in January, and  then three placements in less than three months before she ended up in  our home.  

     Her behaviors included head banging, violent tantrums,  lashing out at other children, screaming and crying and her referral  sheet stated “inconsolable”.  We were successful in helping this little  girl come a long way in the first three years with our family. However,  we reached a place where our traditional methods of parenting and all of  our training and experience were no longer meeting her needs.  Some of  her behaviors we were identifying and labeling included impulsiveness  and hurting/ lashing out towards others, unable to accept “no”, extreme  separation anxiety and clinginess, and deliberate defiance. As her  mother, I became increasingly frustrated with her behaviors and with my  inabilities to parent her “correctly”.  Nothing seemed to be working and  my level of stress was beginning to affect my entire family and my health.

    We knew of TBRI and had attended some of the trainings.  We heard that the intensive 10 week therapeutic program HALO was being  offered and we felt that it was something we needed to try.  Although we  honestly could not imagine ever fitting this weekly session and therapy  into our busy lives, we believed that if there was any chance it could help us to parent our daughter better, then we had to do it.

     We  are so pleased to say that even after our first week at HALO we began  to see a slight difference. Not only were we learning to parent in a new  and effective way, our child was learning a new language that included  “stick together”, “no hurts”, “permission and supervision”, asking for a  compromise, and asking for a “do over”.  
All of these things were  taught while connecting and giving our child a feeling of safety and  being cared about.   By the end of the ten weeks we were seeing such  changes in our home as less screaming and crying, accepting no,  and  much less separation anxiety. We continue to try and use the principles  we have learned and our daughter often comments that she misses HALO.   We believe that this program was responsible for permanently changing  the course of our lives in terms of how we parent and consequently  changed our daughter’s life.   We highly recommend this program to  anyone that is parenting children that have had trauma in their lives,  and we encourage the support of this program.

    We are so thankful  to the Salvation Army for investing in TBRI and particularly in the HALO  project. Thank you to the staff and support staff that have sacrificed  and gone above and beyond for the sake of all of our children who need  this kind of understanding and chance for success in their lives.

Susan and Harold Guntz 

Growing Trust and Confidence:
Bella’s HALO Story

Child making heart silhouette in the sun

We completed the HALO program with our 4 year old daughter, Bella. She  was adopted from Ethiopia and came home at 7 months old. Before Bella came home, my husband had I read the Connected Child and were familiar  with some of the teachings of Dr. Purvis. Our family always emphasized  connection, however, as our Bella got older, we noticed that she was really struggling with separation anxiety and with sensory input.

     Before  the HALO  program, Bella would not participate in outside activities, play alone in a room by herself, or attend a preschool activity. She  preferred to be held or touching me all day and had a ton of energy that we struggled to show her how to express in appropriate ways. 

     The first  night of HALO, Bella screamed and clung to me, totally fearful of  leaving with her special buddy. Instead of forcing separation from me and my husband, the facilitators allowed Bella to come into our room  with us and sit on my lap. Her special buddy was patient and loving and  sat on the floor beside us and played with some toys. After a few  moments, Bella got off of my lap and sat on the floor with her buddy to  play. Little by little, Bella and her buddy got closer to the door, until she eventually decided to go down the hall to see what activities were going on. It was the first time in her life that Bella went and participated in activities without my husband or myself! We were amazed and this continued. By the end of the program, Bella would happily bounce over to her special buddy and say, “bye mommy and daddy!” Bella and her buddy developed a special relationship and she helped to teach her that it is okay to be away from mommy and daddy. 

     The  most valuable lesson that we learned at HALO was the concept of felt safety. We learned how to create a feeling of safety for Bella, both at home and in new situations. Before HALO, we would get frustrated when Bella exhibited fear in new situations or at home. Throughout the program, we learned to read Bella’s signals and to be patient with her need to feel that safety, and to feel connected to us in new situations.  As a result of HALO, Bella now happily participated in Sunday School at  church, allows babysitters to watch her in our home, plays independently at home, and is excited about attending preschool this  fall!! If you had told me that Bella would be doing all these things  this time last year, I would not have believed it! 

    HALO  taught us how to put into practice the concepts that we had been  familiar with since before she came home. Before HALO, we felt lost as to how to appropriately deal with Bella’s anxiety; after HALO we now  have the tools to address her anxiety, create felt safety, and help her to feel confident. The confidence that we now see in our girl is priceless!  

    HALO also helped us to learn some sensory activities to help meet Bella’s sensory needs. We have sensory bottles, a mini trampoline, and a sensory suit that Bella uses to help regulate herself. We have her “engine” clock hanging on our wall and now Bella uses that clock to express how she is feeling, and knows what to do to  get herself back into the “green” or calm zone. It is wonderful to watch our girl be able to express how she is feeling and to know what to do  to help herself feel better. Before when Bella would go down a road of  anxiety or sensory needs, we felt like we were up a creek without a  paddle, unable to get back. HALO has given us a paddle, a tool to help  guide our girl back to calmness.

We are so thankful for this program and for the ways that it blessed our family! 

–Heidi, foster and adoptive mother who attended HALO