Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an evidence based treatment model for families with children ages 2-7. It is effective in improving children’s behaviors, including tantrums, defiance, aggression, destruction, and misbehavior in public. PCIT can be effective for children who have experienced trauma or have symptoms of ADHD. It also works to build a bond between parent and child and strengthen parents’ discipline skills.
If your young child is struggling with listening to directions, playing well with others, using manners, and participating in time-out, PCIT may be effective. In PCIT sessions, parents will participate with their child to practice skills to improve positive behaviors through play. Treatment is done in two phases – Child Directed Interactions (CDI) and Parent Directed Interactions (PDI). In CDI, parents will be coached to use play therapy skills to improve connection with their child, improve children’s self-esteem and encourage positive behaviors. During this phase of treatment, you will see an increase in positive behaviors such as sharing, paying attention, and manners, and a decrease in attention seeking negative behaviors such as taking toys and arguing.
In the PDI phase, parents will implement discipline skills, such as effective time out, and learn ways to address misbehavior in public and implement house rules. Each phase includes homework to play with your child for five minutes a day. The entire treatment typically takes about 12 to 20 sessions.
Courtney Lauver, LCSW at Creative Family Counseling, Prospect offers PCIT to families with children ages 2 to 7. It is a family therapy, and parents will be expected to attend sessions with their children and participate in daily homework. PCIT can be used in conjunction with individual therapy for your child if needed.