Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
The therapists at Mind, Body, and Soul can help parents and children who are struggling with behavioral issues that are presenting at home, in school, or with their peers. One counseling approach we offer is parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT). This research-supported therapy method was developed with the goal of creating stronger parent-child bonds and teaching more effective discipline skills, which lead to improved child behavior and better relationships between parents and children.
What Is Parent-Child Interaction Therapy?
Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) is an evidence-supported therapeutic practice geared toward helping parents develop the necessary skills to curb challenging, destructive, and problematic behaviors in children. PCIT is a versatile and adaptive form of therapy, but it is generally considered to have two treatment phases. During the first phase of PCIT, parents are supported by a therapist in creating a warm, loving, secure attachment with their child. This increased feeling of stability and safety creates greater calm and comfort for the child, and it reduces parental stress, allowing caregivers to provide discipline more effectively when needed. The second phase of treatment is all about exploring ways to discipline calmly, confidently, and consistently. The discipline skills you learn during this phase of PCIT increase your child’s willingness to comply with your limits and directions and decrease the number and severity of behavioral problems.
How Does PCIT Work?
The goal of PCIT is to help improve the child’s behavior by enhancing a strong parental bond and developing specific parenting skills. During an initial session (or a few sessions), the therapist will teach the parent discipline and parent-child relationship building skills based on the child’s specific behaviors the parent is working to correct. Then, the parent and child will practice these skills during therapy sessions while the therapist observes. This unique form of therapy involves conducting sessions in a room with a two way mirror. The parent and child will be on one side of the mirror. The therapist will observe from the other side and provide ongoing feedback to the parent through headphones. After the observation session, the therapist and parent will select one skill the parent will practice five minutes a day until the next session. Over time, the parent and child form a deeper attachment, discipline becomes more consistent and effective, and the child’s behavior should improve.
Should I Consider PCIT?
PCIT can be an impactful therapy option for parents of children who struggle with problem behaviors at home, in school, or during social interactions. In most cases, this type of therapy is recommended for children over two years of age and under the age of ten, but a therapist will make specific recommendations based on the needs of individual parents and children. Some of the specific reasons parents give for deciding to move forward with PCIT include:
- They’re frustrated with the child’s challenging behaviors at home
- Current methods of redirecting and disciplining are ineffective
- Their child’s teachers, coaches, parents of peers, and other adults are also experiencing challenges with the child
- The parents love their child, but they don’t feel close to them because of the challenging behaviors
- The child is destructive of property
- Their child throws tantrums anytime things don’t go their way
How Do I Start?
If you’re interested in learning more, don’t hesitate to reach out via email at [email protected], or use our online contact form to request a session.