Parent Child Interactive Therapy PCIT

Interact More Effectively with Your Child

Love your child but some days you don’t like your child?

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • Your child just threw a tantrum in the store, and you feel embarrassed and impotent to stop it.
  • Friends don’t invite your child to play dates anymore.
  • The school called yet again today to complain about your child’s behavior.
  • Last night, she looked you directly in the eye and broke her sister’s favorite toy.

If your child’s behavior is frustrating, then a research-based child therapy may be for you: Parent-Child Interactive Therapy.

This type of counseling is done with the parent and child interacting (playing) at home. They are observed via phone or webcam by a PCIT child therapist. The parent is wearing an earbud. Through this earbud, the parent gets direct advice and coaching from the therapist regarding how to respond to the child at that very moment.

Parents learn to improve their skills with challenging behaviors. Children love it because they are interacting with their parents in fun ways. Results can often be seen pretty quickly.

parent interactive child therapy

There are two phases to PCIT therapy. The first phase of treatment is designed to improve the parent and child’s connection in a warm, loving way.

This warmth is accomplished by the parent learning and applying new skills that help the child feel secure and good about themselves. As the child feels better about themselves and more secure, the child is more equipped to self-soothe, interact better with others, and increase their attention span. As the child does so, the parents feel less frustrated, and the child often has less (and less intense) tantrums due to feeling more secure and calmer.

parent child interactive therapy

In the second phase of PCIT, the goal will be to help the parent have the confidence and skills to manage the most difficult of their child’s behaviors.

At this point, parents will learn proven tactics to help their child accept limits, follow directions with more compliance, respect house rules, and act appropriately in public. ​

As long as the parent and child regularly attend (preferably weekly), PCIT can be completed within twelve to twenty sessions, although every family is unique in their needs. Treatment is considered complete when parents and children have mastered these skills, and the child’s behavior is rated “within normal limits.”

Outcomes are measured at regular intervals to assess progress and adjustments made as needed.

If you long for the day that you are not worried about your child’s behavior, PCIT might be right for you.

So if you have tried timeouts, reward (star) charts, and are still struggling with your child’s emotions or behavioral problems, please reach out. Let the expert child therapists at Orange Counseling Center be there for you.