Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a highly effective treatment for young children (ages 2-7) with disruptive behavior. It has been repeatedly shown to reduce behavior problems, strengthen parent-child attachment, and improve child trauma symptoms. The PCIT therapist, rather than interacting directly with the child, “coaches” a caregiver in using new skills while the caregiver is playing with the child. PCIT is one of the most effective evidence-based treatments for children with these difficulties in this age range.
PCIT is done across two treatment phases. The first phase of treatment focuses on establishing warmth in your relationship with your child through learning and applying skills proven to help children feel calm, secure in their relationships with their parents, and good about themselves. The second phase of treatment will equip you to manage the most challenging of your child's behaviors while remaining confident, calm, and consistent in your approach to discipline. In this phase, you will learn proven strategies to help your child accept your limits, comply with your directions, respect house rules, and demonstrate appropriate behavior in public.
How long does it take to complete PCIT?
The average length of treatment typically varies between 12 and 20 sessions. Treatment length is variable based on each family's specific needs. Some families complete treatment in fewer than 12 sessions. Other families take more than 20 sessions to meet treatment graduation requirements. Treatment is considered complete when you have mastered both sets of skills and rate your child's behavior within normal limits on a behavior rating scale. The length of treatment is likely based on the following factors:
- Family's regular attendance to treatment
- The extent that caregivers engage in quality homework practice in between sessions
- The rate that caregivers display mastery of PCIT skills in session
- The intensity of the child's behaviors at the start of treatment
- The rate at which caregivers report reductions in children's behavior problems
- The extent that the child has other emotional or developmental concerns
- The fulfillment of a specific treatment or case plan if referred by child protective services.
Our clinic has 3 therapists certified to provide this type of therapy: