Parenting a young child with behavioral, emotional, or social difficulties can be stressful and challenging. Oftentimes, caregivers are unclear whether their child’s behaviors are “normal” for their age and adopt a “wait and see” approach hoping that the behavior will eventually resolve as their child gets older.
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy or PCIT is a therapy for families with children between the ages of 2 and 7 who have trouble listening, are impulsive, hyperactive, or even aggressive and destructive. (For children under the age of 2 check out our PCIT-Toddler page). PCIT uses live coaching by a therapist over a bug-in-the-ear device to help caregivers manage problem behaviors in the moment. PCIT is divided into two phases. The first phase is designed to help children calm down, improve their attention and focus, feel less angry, and help caregivers strengthen their relationships with their child which often gets strained when children misbehave. The second phase helps caregivers to reduce and manage problem behaviors and helps children to accept consistent consequences and limits. On average families are able to complete PCIT in 12-20 sessions; however, PCIT is not time limited.
Over 30 years of research has demonstrated that PCIT is effective at helping improve behavior problems and reduce parenting stress. As a child’s problem behaviors decrease, parenting skills improve, and the quality of a parent-child relationship is enhanced. PCIT can improve behavior in other settings, such as school, day care, and with siblings.
In the graph to the left you’ll see that Internet-delivered Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (I-PCIT) had a higher percentage of patients rated as Much Improved and Very Much Improved. The % rated as Excellent Responders was significantly higher in the Internet group!.
Check out this video from Child Mind Institute describing PCIT.