Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

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Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a therapeutic treatment designed to improve the relationship between caregivers and their children, and decrease behavior problems in children through interactive parent coaching.  PCIT’s 16-20 session treatment model is one of the most effective, evidence-based treatments known for children with behavior problems between the ages of 2 and 6 years.

What are the goals of PCIT?

  • Enhancing the relationship that you have with your child
  • Improving your child’s self-esteem
  • Teaching your child new ways to manage and reduce his or her frustration and anger
  • Helping your child develop new strategies for attending and organizing his or her work or play
  • Helping your child mind you the first time you tell him or her to do something
  • Teaching you alternative ways to manage your child’s behavior now, and helping you problem solve ways to effectively manage your child’s behavior in the future

How does PCIT work?

There are two treatment phases in PCIT. The first phase focuses on enhancing the relationship between you and your child, increasing your child’s self-esteem, reducing your child’s frustration, and helping your child with organizational skills. The second part focuses on teaching your child listening and minding skills, using age-appropriate parenting techniques to deal with your child’s behavior, and teach him or her adaptive behavior and problem solving.

PCIT is different from other parent training programs because it uses live coaching to provide immediate prompts to caregivers while they interact with their children. During the course of this hands-on treatment, caregivers are guided to implement specific relationship-building and discipline skills. Ultimately, PCIT focuses on increasing effective parenting skills, decreasing child behavior problems, and improving the quality of the parent-child interaction.

How do I know if PCIT is the right fit for my family?

After learning more about PCIT, you will be the best person to decide how well PCIT fits your family. Here are some important things to consider:

  • At this time, PCIT sessions are only offered in the morning hours (before 1:00). Sessions are weekly, and will last 60-90 minutes. Sessions can be conducted in person, or via teletherapy.
  • PCIT requires an investment of 12-20 weeks, including weekly therapy sessions and daily homework practice for 5-15 minutes.
  • Most PCIT sessions focus on parent-child play and therapist feedback on your use of skills.
  • PCIT ends when you are confident in your parenting skills and demonstrate them with your child in sessions.

More information on PCIT can be found at

If you are interested in this treatment, we will first schedule an assessment (based on parent interview) to determine if it is the right fit.