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Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is the gold-standard, evidence based treatment for children experiencing behavioral struggles. PCIT focuses on providing parents or caregivers with skills to help manage their child’s disruptive behaviors more effectively and to help control their emotions. In PCIT, we work with each parent to strengthen their relationship with their child and build their ability to guide and direct their child’s behavior, set limits, calmly discipline, and restore positive parent-child interactions.


PCIT is regarded by national expert panels as a gold standard treatment for children who have any of the following challenges:

·    Frequent temper tantrums

·    Defiance - refusing to follow directions

·    Verbal and/or physical aggression

·    Destruction of toys and/or family belongings

·    Backtalk or sassing adults

·    Whining or crying for no apparent reason

·    Constantly seeking attention

·    Hyperactivity

·    Interrupting others

·    Short attention span

·    Difficulty with behaviors at school, preschool, and/or daycare​


A hallmark of Parent Child Interaction Therapy is the use of constructive, positive, live coaching of caregivers. Therapists typically coach from an observation room with a one-way mirror or with a room equipped with a video camera into the playroom, using a “bug-in-the-ear” system for communicating to the caregivers as they play with their child. 


Live coaching of caregiver skills has five advantages over the more traditional methods of caregiver training (e.g., parenting groups, modeling, rehearsal):

1.  Immediate, positive feedback by the coach can prompt, shape, and reinforce the caregiver’s appropriate skill usage.

2.  Live coaching allows the therapist to adapt the skills being taught to manage specific behavior problems as they arise.

3.  Direct coaching provides a unique opportunity for therapists to quickly correct errors so caregivers do not repeatedly practice incorrect techniques.

4.  Direct observation and coaching decreases the need to rely on caregiver self-reports of skill utilization at home.

5.  As caregivers become more adept at using the newly trained skills, the therapist can fade out prompts. 


For additional information visit

Quality Time
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