Parent Child Interaction Therapy

Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an evidence-based treatment that works to strength child- caregiver relationships, increase caregiver skills, and improve child behavior in children ages 2.5 to 7 years. PCIT is supported by 40 years of extensive research, a strong theoretical base, and clinical innovations.

PCIT is a nationally-recognized, evidence-based parent training program for families who have children with challenging behavior. It also has been identified as a Best Practice for treatment of child physical abuse. The program is unique in that it involves coaching parents as they interact with their young child (ages 2.5 up to 7 years).  There are two phases to PCIT: Child-Directed Interaction (CDI) and Parent-Directed Interaction (PDI). For each phase, parents attend one teaching session without their child present during which the PCIT therapist reviews with the parent specific skills that will be ‘coached’ in subsequent sessions. This teaching session is used to build rapport as well as to provide detailed descriptions and rationales for each skill. In fact, each skill is modeled for and role-played with parents to facilitate learning. Following the initial teaching session, parents attend weekly sessions with their child and they are coached in how to apply the skills taught.

It often helps to see PCIT in action:

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