- Associated Diagnoses
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Parent Child Interaction Therapy
- Signs and Symptoms
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an empirically-supported treatment for young children with emotional and behavioral disorders that places emphasis on improving the quality of the parent-child relationship and changing parent-child interaction patterns.
PCIT is for children whose problematic behaviors—defiance, inability to follow directions, aggression–fall outside the range of what’s typical for their age. By restructuring interactions between parents and child, it reduces disruptive behavior and improves the child’s relationship with his family. Parents learn specific skills to increase positive attention to behavior they want to encourage, and specific disciplinary techniques to respond to undesired behaviors.
PCIT has been shown to effectively move disruptive behavior in these children back into the typical range. Children learn how to control their problematic behavior, and parents experience much less stress in handling challenging children. T
The program is effective for children between the ages of 2 and 7, and usually takes 12 to 17 weekly sessions.
What happens during a PCIT session?
During many sessions, parents and children are seen together. Parents receive live coaching from their therapists behind a one-way mirror via wireless earbud, as they lead the child through a series of tasks, and practice specific responses to both desired and undesired behavior.
What happens outside of sessions?
Parents are asked to complete regular, brief practice sessions with their child under the guidance of their therapist. Home practice facilitates skill-building and confidence in using PCIT techniques and strategies.
PCIT is evidence-based
Outcome studies of PCIT have consistently demonstrated increases in positive parenting behaviors and decreases in negative parenting behaviors after treatment. Children demonstrate significant reductions in noncompliance and other disruptive behaviors, with gains maintained long after treatment ends. In addition, parents report much less stress managing their children’s behavior.