Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a behavioral intervention for children ages two to five and their parents. For parents, the program teaches parents positive discipline techniques, play-therapy skills, and the importance of consistency and predictability. Through these practices, parents increase their confidence in managing their children’s behaviors. Parents practice these skills with their children in a playroom while a therapist provides immediate feedback on their parenting skills. PCIT is time unlimited and families can remain in treatment until parents have demonstrated mastery.
Parents that participate in PCIT demonstrate improvements in parenting skills, a decrease in physical abuse, and a reduction in negative parent behavior and parent stress. Children that participate show a decrease in externalizing behaviors and fewer disruptive behaviors.