Parent Child Interaction

Parent Child Interaction


Parent Child Interaction Therapy is a treatment type for children and parents who suffer from behavioral and emotional conflicts. Disorders may have an effect on the relationship dramatically. PCIT helps bring the two together by using researched based techniques and training. Therapy improves the behavior by illustrating behavioral and disciplinary skills. The methods used have the capacity to reduce the child's need to display disruptive behavior. PCIT helps children who act out as a result of abuse or neglect. The therapist uses techniques that cater to both of the patient's needs which can result in a communicative and wholesome relationship.

Goals of Parent and Child Interaction Therapy

Parent Child Interaction Therapy covers the growth necessary and conducts research based activity throughout the session after analyzing both patients' behavior. The goal of PCIT is to make progressive changes so that the treatment results in a nurturing relationship between the parent and child. These methods can make the relationship more secure and cooperative. The child will learn how to interact with other parental figures and children. This is meant for not only improving the lives of the parent but the future life of the child. PCIT is structured so that it treats the clients before they act out too aggressively and destroy a relationship. Structure is given to the parent as well by providing them with the skills that they need to maintain the disciplinary action.

When is Parent Child Interaction Therapy Used?

PCIT is used for children between the ages of two and eight. The patient may live with an adoptive, foster or biological parent. PCIT is necessary for children who act out defiantly. They may respond aggressively toward kids their age, adults and objects. The patients often display acts of anger and aggression while disobeying rules and directions. Children who are fit for this therapy have a difficult time in school and in making friends. Therapy can dictate whether or not the patient needs medication for behavioral management. The therapist will look at the reason behind the behavior and attempt to fix the trauma or anger associated with it. This direct form of coaching can be implemented when the child and parent are reuniting. Research shows that therapy significantly improves behavior and the patient's inability to follow interventions associated with treatment. This is recommended during therapy for parental stress and for children who suffer from self esteem issues or internal conflict. It has the potential to help those who suffer from language development issues. The clients fit for treatment may act out by hitting, yelling, whining and constantly disobeying other structural figures. Teachers have reported that PCIT improves the noncompliance behavior in the classroom after treatment has been conducted.

How Parent Child Interaction Therapy Works

Parent Child Interaction Therapy or PCIT is provided in a room that gives the therapist an opportunity to analyze the child and guardian through a one-sided glass mirror. The parent wears a wireless receiver so that the therapist can provide them with guidance while interacting with the child. An activity will be provided which gives the therapist an opportunity to test new behaviors as a part of the treatment plan. Sessions are given weekly for up to an hour. There are some treatments that can be provided as an in-home session with specialized counselors. There are two phases during PCIT. The first phase is based on creating a connection between the child and parent. The secondary phase has to do with behavior management techniques and how the guardian can use disciplinary action when the child acts out.

If the strategies are working the child will begin to display focused attention toward the parent, other adults and students. It is necessary that the parent figure praises them when they have acted appropriately. A supportive communication tone between the two needs to be direct and clear every time it is executed. The parent must learn how to respond to aggressive behavior every time that the child acts out.

Parent Child Interaction Therapy is unique in the way that it teaches both figures in the family. It is difficult to know how to react toward children when using disciplinary actions. The treatment sessions actively educate both patients so that there is communication and consistency within the relationship. It's common that there are challenges in caring for a child. The reason why they are acting out may vary and PCIT works to acknowledge the inner conflict by resolving it and creating a new respective relationship.


Parent-child interaction therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Parent-child interaction therapy (pcit). (n.d.). Retrieved from

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