Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) Questions and Answers 

PCIT works with parents and children and teach parenting strategies to improve the quality of the parent-child relationship. Reaching Resolution can help parents acquire more effective parenting skills. For more information call us today or book an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 9719 Northeast Parkway, Suite 100 Matthews NC 28105

Parent Child Interaction Therapy Near Me in Matthews, NC
Parent Child Interaction Therapy Near Me in Matthews, NC

Table of Contents:

What is Parent-Child Interaction Therapy used for?
What can I expect from Parent-Child Interaction Therapy?
What are the benefits of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy?
When to see a specialist for Parent Child Interaction Therapy?

What is Parent-Child Interaction Therapy used for?


Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an evidence-based, family-centered treatment used to help children aged 2 to 7 years with disruptive behavioral issues, along with their caregivers – birth parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, or kin caregivers. Since its introduction in the 1970’s, PCIT has been successfully adapted for use with children who have experienced trauma due to child abuse or neglect, and it also helps parents gain increased confidence in managing their child’s behaviors at home and in public settings.

What can I expect from Parent-Child Interaction Therapy?


During a PCIT session a therapist coaches the parent while they interact with their child, using a one-way mirror and live communication with the parent using a wireless earpiece. The therapist works with both the parent and the child to manage the child’s behavior as it occurs during the session and in this way the parent is able to work one-on-one with the child without the therapist being present, but while still being supported and coached.  This helps parents to become more aware of what they are saying, increases their attention and motivation, provides support to the parent in actual difficult situations, encourages parents to see it through and shows that change is possible.

PCIT involves two treatment phases, the first is called the child-directed interaction, or CDI, and the second is the parent-directed interaction or PDI.

The first phase of treatment focuses on strengthening the connection and relationship between the parent and the child. Through play therapy parents are taught how to be a calm and supportive presence and to show positive reinforcement. They learn how to ignore negative behaviors and to hear the child and follow their lead. The skills learned and applied during this phase include Praise, verbal Reflection, Imitation, behavioral Description, and Enjoyment and are often collectively referred to as the PRIDE skills

The second phase of treatment teaches the parent to remain calm, confident, and consistent in their approach to discipline whilst managing the most challenging of the child’s behaviors. They will learn how to help their child accept and respect limits, comply with directions, respect house rules, and demonstrate appropriate behavior in public. ​ A PCIT program takes an average of 12 to 20 weekly hour-long sessions to complete, depending upon the needs of the family.

What are the benefits of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy?


Backed by 20 years of clinical research, PCIT has shown to strengthen the parent-child bond, reduce parental stress, and improve child co-operation, mood and behavior through the use of consistent discipline. Each phase of treatment has its own benefits:

For the first phase of treatment (CDI) benefits include:

⦁ Fewer tantrums
⦁ Less hyperactivity
⦁ A reduction in negative attention-getting behaviors such as whining or bossiness
⦁ Decreased parental frustration
⦁ Increased feelings of safety and security towards the parent
⦁ A stronger bond with the parent
⦁ Increased attention span
⦁ Improved self-esteem
⦁ Better social behaviors such as sharing and taking turns

For the second phase of treatment (PDI) benefits include:

⦁ Less frequent or severe aggressive behavior
⦁ Less destructive behavior such as deliberately breaking toys
⦁ Decreased defiance
⦁ Increased obedience
⦁ Increased respect for house rules
⦁ Improved behavior in public
⦁ Increased calm and confidence of the parent during discipline

Overall, results show significant decreases in disruptive and non-compliant behaviors of the child along with a reduction in parental stress, and an increase in the child’s self-esteem. These effects were also found to positively impact siblings that had not undergone treatment, and the home and school settings.

When to see a specialist for Parent Child Interaction Therapy?


Children undergoing PCIT will often have one or more behavior disorders such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), anxiety disorders or selective mutism.  Regardless of the reason, the decision to undergo a PCIT program is a personal and individual one and will be made between the parent and their mental health professional. If you would like to know more about Parent-Child Interaction Therapy call Reaching Resolution today! Call us today or book an appointment online. We are conveniently located 9719 Northeast Parkway, Suite 100 Matthews NC 28105. We serve clients from Matthews NC, Charlotte NC, Mint Hill NC, Indian Trail NC, Pineville NC, and Stallings NC.

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9719 Northeast Parkway, Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105