Parent Child Interaction Therapy
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an empirically-supported treatment for conduct disordered young children that places emphasis on improving the quality of the parent-child relationship and changing parent-child interaction patterns. In PCIT, parents are taught specific skills to establish a nurturing and secure relationship with their child while increasing their child’s pro-social behavior and decreasing negative behavior.
This treatment focuses on two basic interactions:
- Child Directed Interaction (CDI) is similar to play therapy in that parents engage their child in a play situation with the goal of strengthening the parent-child relationship.
- Parent Directed Interaction (PDI) resembles clinical behavior therapy in that the parents learn to use specific behavior management techniques as they play with their child.
The treatment involves a basic didactic component, but primarily uses direct moment by moment coaching of the parent as they interact with the child. The parent is scored each session on the use of their skills. Completion of therapy is based on acquisition of skills in each section at “Mastery” level, not on duration of therapy.
It is appropriate for children between the ages of 2 & 7 years who exhibit:
- whining, swearing, sassing
- low self-esteem
- anxiety withdrawn
- It is not appropriate for children who are experiencing:
- acute trauma
- a parent who is unwilling/unable to change his/her parenting