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Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a behavior management therapeutic treatment for children ages 2 ½ through 7 with emotional and behavioral disorders. PCIT combines behavioral therapy, play therapy, and caregiver training.

The goals of PCIT are:

  • To increase positive, nurturing interactions between caregivers and their child
  • To increase the child’s positive social behaviors and self-esteem
  • To improve the child’s frustration tolerance and anger management skills
  • To boost parents’ skills in disciplining their child 

If you are a parent with a child age 2 ½ through 7 who exhibits the following behaviors, PCIT could be helpful:

  • Doesn’t listen to adults
  • Has temper tantrums
  • Takes or breaks other’s things
  • Hits or kicks others
  • Can’t sit still
  • Can’t play alone
  • Has difficulty taking turns
  • Changes in family/living situations
  • May be diagnosed with ADHD/ADD, ODD, or victim (or witness) of abuse or trauma


You will learn the skills of PCIT from direct coaching by your therapist during sessions. As you and your child play in the session, your therapist will give feedback and direction to you. You will be given activities to practice the skills at home.

Part of PCIT’s success in helping parents and children is the learn-by-doing approach that drives the program. Live coaching helps parents learn what they are doing well and provides in-time support with skills they might need help with mastering. 

Relationship Development:

Child-Directed interaction Parents learn to:

  • Follow the child’s lead in play
  • Use PRIDE skills (Praise, Reflect, Imitate, Describe, and Enjoyment)
  • Ignore annoying behavior
  • Control dangerous behavior

Discipline Training:

Parent-Directed Interaction Parents learn to:

  • Help their children behave
  • Help their children listen

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy is an evidence-based treatment that helps to improve the challenging behaviors of young children. This therapy has been researched for over 20 years and is used throughout the country and the world.

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