PCIT is the acronym for Parent-Child Interaction Therapy. PCIT is an evidence-based treatment model utilized primarily for children with behavioral difficulties ages 2-7, but in some cases can be utilized with children up to age 12. PCIT is highly specified, including live coaching sessions requiring both the child and the caregiver(s) present. PCIT is typically completed between 12-20 weekly 90-minute sessions but is dependent upon parental mastery of skills. Throughout live-coaching sessions between caregiver(s) and child, parents will be coached to learn specific skills as they are interacting in specified play with the child. Typically, PCIT is structured utilizing a “bug-in-the-ear” device in which the therapist will provide moment-to-moment coaching from behind a one-way mirror.
The goals of PCIT are to improve and repair negative parent-child patterns and aims to lead towards:
- a decrease in child behavioral problems and attention-seeking behaviors
- an improvement in the quality of the parent-child relationship
- an increase in parenting skills and parent confidence
- increase in the child’s prosocial skills, self-esteem, and healthy attachment to caregiver
PCIT sessions begin with relationship-enhancing skills and will then move into positive discipline skills upon mastery of foundational relationship-enhancing skills. Typically stage one of PCIT can last between 6-10 weeks before moving into stage two. Relationship-enhancing skills are taught first in order to improve the parent-child relationship, the child’s respect for the parent, the child’s self-esteem, the child’s attention-span, and to decrease parental frustration and stress to prepare both parent and child for learning new discipline strategies.
Stage two of PCIT will comprise of learning evidence-based disciplinary strategies to assist the child in accepting limits, complying with directions, respecting and following rules, and to demonstrate expected, prosocial, appropriate behaviors in a variety of settings. This stage prepares the parent in setting limits, giving understandable and manageable commands, and engaging in a specified, proven time out procedure.
PCIT requires weekly attendance by both child and caregiver(s) as well as daily homework of 5-10 minutes. PCIT requires a secure commitment of an average of 12-20 weeks of weekly, 90 minute sessions and cannot be terminated mid-way. PCIT ends upon mastery of both stages of skill sets and parental report that the child’s behavior is within typical limits on a child behavior rating scale.
PCIT has been highly researched and has displayed both clinically and statistically significant improvements in negative behaviors in children ages 2-7. In addition to significant improvements in the child’s behaviors, PCIT has also demonstrated significant improvements in the parents’ interaction styles with their children.
To learn more about PCIT or to schedule an intake with Julianna for PCIT, call our front desk at 425-598-8800.
Developing Minds Clinic