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Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

An evidence-based treatment for young children ages 2 to 7 with behavioral problems

Father and Son Playing

How does it work?

  • PCIT sessions are conducted through coaching with your child’s therapist

  • During sessions, you are guided through play techniques and interactions with your child as your therapist observes through a live video feed

  • You wear an earpiece that allows your therapist to give in-the-moment coaching on skills/techniques you are learning to manage your child’s behaviors  

  • This allows your child to view YOU, the parent, as a confident and calm parent when faced with discipline


How long does it take?

PCIT is implemented across two treatment phases:

  • The first phase of PCIT treatment focuses on strengthening the relationship between you and your child. This is done by increasing your child’s sense of security, establishing warmth and using the skills you’ve learned to encourage calmness in your child

  • Goals of this phase include:

    • Decreasing tantrums, defiance, and aggressive behavior 

    • Decreasing whining and attention-seeking behavior

    • Decreasing parental frustration

    • Increasing attention span and self-esteem

    • Increasing positive social behaviors (i.e: sharing, taking turns, using manners)

  • ​The second phase of PCIT treatment focuses on managing your child’s most challenging behaviors while remaining confident, calm, and consistent in your responses. In this phase, you will learn how to help your child accept your limits, comply with your directions, respect house rules, and demonstrate appropriate behavior in public

  • Goals of this phase include:

    • Decreased aggression/aggressive behavior (i.e: hitting, biting)

    • Decreased destructive behavior (i.e: breaking toys)

    • Increased compliance with adult directives/commands

    • Increased respect for rules of the house (i.e: no running in the house, washing hands before eating)

    • Improved public behavior

    • Improved parental confidence and calmness in discipline

  • PCIT is generally completed in 15 to 20 sessions depending on session attendance and consistency, though treatment is not time-limited

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