Parent Child Interaction Therapy
The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways.
Parent Child Interaction Therapy is an evidence-based treatment intended to increase a child’s sense of self-control and cooperation by strengthening the child’s trust for and connection to his parent. In Phase I, the Child Directed Interaction phase, parents learn specific (P.R.I.D.E.) skills for building a strong connection with the child. Equally important, in Phase II, the Parent Directed Interaction phase, parents learn specific skills set (and maintain) clear expectations and limits for the child.
Phase I and Phase II together create that magical combination of kindness, firmness, and consistency that help children thrive. PCIT is designed to allow a parent to practice skills while receiving coaching for these skills in real time.
Who is PCIT for?
PCIT is designed for young children (ages 2.5 yo to 6.5 yo) who are struggling with disruptive, defiant, oppositional, or negative attention seeking behavior. If a parent or caregiver is concerned about how their child behaves in the home, with peers, at family or friends’ houses, at school, in your place of worship, in stores, or elsewhere in the community, PCIT may be helpful. If a parent or caregiver is feeling at the end of their rope and unable to cope with the child’s defiant or disrespectful behavior, PCIT can help!
“Parents” who may participate in PCIT may include an adult who is the child’s biological or adoptive parent, foster parent, legal guardian, grandparent, or other relative who may have primary custody of the child.
Does PCIT work?
PCIT has a 30 year long body of evidence for reducing aggressive, disruptive, and defiant behavior among 3-7 year olds. It is a therapy that may even be employed when a parent has lost all patience with the child or when the child seems totally out of control and beyond “repair”. PCIT is known to be highly effective for rebuilding the fractured parent/child relationship: rebuilding trust, safety, connection, and even JOY between the parent and child!
PCIT is conducted in weekly, hour long sessions. It can last for between 12 and 20 sessions. It is common to see results within three months’ time.
The child is praised for good or appropriate behavior.
The child’s words are repeated and expanded upon by parents, which encourages communication.
Parents teach and show approval by mimicking what their child is doing.
Parents describe what the child is doing in order to help their child build vocabulary and show that they (the parents) are paying attention to the child’s activities.
Parents demonstrate enthusiasm for the child’s activities.