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Mom and a Child

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a specialized, evidence-based treatment for ages 2-7 years old. However, it has also been adapted to be used with children up to age 11. It is designed for children with behavioral challenges, attachment issues, trauma, autism spectrum disorder, and anxiety. Research has shown that there are many therapeutic benefits from the treatment such as a strengthened relationship between parent and child, increased ability for child to focus and be in the present, a reduction in negative attention seeking behaviors (tantrums, whining, bossiness), and increased social skills. Parents will also gain tools to improve child’s compliance and be able to set effective age appropriate limits.


PCIT therapy requires parent participation. During sessions, parent interacts with child in the playroom and therapist observes from observation room. While in the moment, parent is coached by therapist via a “bug-in-the-ear” to practice implementing skills from the therapy to manage and improve child’s challenging behaviors. There are two phases to the treatment. Here are some benefits you are likely to experience during each phase:

Desired outcomes of the first phase of treatment in PCIT include:

Decreased frequency, severity, and/or duration of tantrums

Decreased activity levels

Decreased negative attention-seeking behaviors (such as whining and bossiness)

Decreased parental frustration

Increased feelings of security, safety, and attachment to the primary caregiver

Increased attention span

Increased self-esteem

Increased pro-social behaviors (such as sharing and taking turns)   

(PCIT International, 2015-2018)

Desired outcomes of the second phase of treatment in PCIT include:

Decreased frequency, severity, and/or duration of aggressive behavior

Decreased frequency of destructive behavior (such as breaking toys on purpose)

Decreased defiance

Increased compliance with adult requests

Increased respect for house rules

Improved behavior in public

Increased parental calmness and confidence during discipline

(PCIT International, 2015-2018)

Sessions are currently being offered online.

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