Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a training intervention that teaches caregivers specific behavior management techniques as they play with their child.

PCIT focuses on improving the caregiver-child relationship and increasing children’s positive behaviors.

PCIT is appropriate for children who:
  • Are between the ages of 2 and 7 years
  • Exhibit many of the following behavioral concerns:
    1. Difficulty in school, preschool, and/or daycare
    2. Aggression toward parents, siblings, and/or other children
    3. Refusing to follow directions
    4. Frequent temper tantrums
    5. Swearing
    6. Defiance.
PCIT is also for caregivers:
  • Parents
  • Foster parents
  • Adoptive parents
  • Legal guardians
  • Residential caregiver staff.
Caregivers are the "heart" of the program. PCIT cares for caregivers.

PCIT consists of about 20 sessions and five minutes of home practice per day. It focuses on two basic interactions:
  • Child-Directed Interaction (CDI): caregivers are taught the PRIDE skills: Praise, Reflect, Imitate, Describe, and Enthusiasm. Caregivers follow the child’s lead. They ignore annoying or obnoxious behavior and control dangerous behaviors.
  • Parent-Directed Interactions (PDI): caregivers learn to use effective commands and specific behavior management techniques as they play with their child. Caregivers are taught effective time out procedures and how to manage children’s behaviors in real-world settings.
How it Works
PCIT is an exceptionally effective treatment backed by 20 years of research. Live coaching is the primary method of caregiver training in PCIT. Caregivers are coached in specific play therapy and discipline skills by the therapist through an earpiece while the therapist observes the caregiver and child.

Advantages of Live Coaching

Skills are acquired more rapidly because the caregivers learn by doing. The therapist supports caregivers as they learn PRIDE skills. Caregivers quickly become confident and proficient in skills with the child. The therapist provides immediate feedback to the caregivers.