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Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

PCIT stands for Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, and is the gold-standard, evidence-based treatment for behavioral struggles in young children. The treatment focuses on providing parents with skills to help manage their children’s behaviors and emotions more effectively. PCIT utilizes in-the-moment parent coaching to help parents develop these skills. During sessions, parents will engage in play activities with their children, while receiving live coaching from the therapist via a two way mirror and earpiece. PCIT is suitable for children ages 2-6, who are struggling with behavior and defiance issues. PCIT typically lasts between 12-20 sessions, and is broken down into two parts:

Benefits of PCIT:

  • Increases warmth and connection within the parent-child relationship
  • Develops positive child-rearing strategies
  • Reduces child behavior issues (anger, aggression, defiance, etc.)
  • Increases communication and interaction skills within the family
  • Decreases parental stress levels

Increases child and parent self-esteem

Part 1: The therapist will provide parents with education and coach them in using positive parenting techniques.

Part 2: The therapist will help parents set limits, conduct timeouts, and give effective commands.

Common Childhood Struggles Addressed by PCIT:

  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Acting defiantly and/or refusing to follow directions
  • Backtalk
  • Trouble adjusting to new situations or environments
  • Constantly seeking attention
  • Interrupting others
  • Short attention span
  • Engaging in power struggles with parents/caregivers
  • Difficulty behaving in school, preschool, and/or daycare

Aggressive behaviors: hitting or throwing things

For more information on PCIT you may visit http://www.pcit.org

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