What is Parent–child interaction therapy?

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a form of therapy that focuses on improving the relationship between a parent and their child while addressing behavioral and emotional difficulties in the child. It is typically used with young children (ages 2-7) who are experiencing behavioral problems such as defiance, aggression, and temper tantrums.

In PCIT, a therapist works with both the parent and child together. The therapist coaches the parent in specific skills to improve communication, increase positive reinforcement, and set clear limits with their child. The therapist also provides real-time feedback and guidance to the parent during interactions with the child.

PCIT typically consists of two stages: the child-directed interaction (CDI) phase and the parent-directed interaction (PDI) phase. During the CDI phase, the therapist guides the parent in playing with their child in a way that encourages positive behaviors and strengthens the parent-child bond. During the PDI phase, the therapist guides the parent in managing their child’s behavior and setting appropriate limits.

PCIT has been shown to be effective in improving behavior problems in children and strengthening parent-child relationships. It can be conducted in-person or via telehealth.

Shervan K Shahhian

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