Afro American father and son playing on the floor

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, or PCIT, is a treatment program that teaches caregivers the skills you need to better manage your child’s difficult behavior. PCIT is a well-researched treatment that can be applied to a variety of child behaviors.

  • PCIT can help you to address tantrums, misbehavior, irritability, refusal to follow directions, difficulty taking turns, difficulty playing quietly, anxiety, and more.
  • You can learn PCIT from home! Receive live support and coaching of parenting strategies with a bluetooth headset in the comfort of your own home via telehealth sessions. Your therapist will provide caring support as you master the skills. With telehealth your therapist can guide you through “real life” difficult situations at home, like disruptive behaviors during clean up, meal time, or play time with siblings.

PCIT has two phases of treatment:

  1. In the first phase of treatment, or Child-Directed Interaction (CDI), caregivers will learn therapeutic strategies that will first be used during play situations. These therapeutic strategies help reward prosocial, calm, and flexible behaviors, while also strengthening the bond between caregiver and child. Kids love this special time with their caregivers! Children usually do not even realize that this fun time is actually therapeutic and is helping teach them to stay calm and be more cooperative!
  2. In the second phase, or Parent-Directed Interaction (PDI), caregivers learn specific discipline techniques. These discipline techniques are age-appropriate and will teach your child to listen to directions and decrease problem behaviors.Throughout CDI and PDI, your therapist will help you apply these strategies to your child’s specific needs so that you are receiving personalized recommendations that best fit your family. 

PCIT is a great fit for children aged 2 to 7 years. In some cases, PCIT may be beneficial to some children aged 8-10 years, and your therapist can help determine the best treatment for your child.  If your child is 8 and older, we also offer well-researched behavior management training for parents to learn strategies to manage challenging behaviors for the older kiddos too! If you are interested in scheduling PCIT, please fill out our New Patient Inquiry and click PCIT.