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Parent Child Interaction Therapy

PCIT is an empirically supported treatment for children between the ages of 2 and 7 with disruptive behaviors and their parents. PCIT gives equal attention to the parent-child relationship and to parents behavior management skills. The goals of the program are to enhance parent-child interactions, improve child behavior, and empower parents to use consistent, predictable, effective parenting strategies in an Outpatient setting. 


PCIT places emphasis on improving the quality of the parent-child relationship and changing parent-child interaction patterns. In PCIT, parents are taught specific skills to improve the "playful" relationship with their child while increasing their child's pro-social behavior and decreasing negative behavior. This treatment focuses on two basic interactions: Child Directed Interaction (CDI) is similar to play therapy in that parents engage their child in a play situation with the goal of strengthening the parent-child relationship; Parent Directed Interaction (PDI) resembles clinical behavior therapy in that parents learn to use specific behavior management techniques as they play with their child.


The PCIT "lab" consists of a play room, time-away room, and an observation room. The observation room has a two sided mirror to enable the therapist to "coach" the parent using a microphone/earpiece. This is a proven method of empowering parents and helping the parents regain control of strong-willed children.

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