Parent-Child Interaction Therapy
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an evidence-based behavioral program designed to train parents with children who are 3-6 years of age and diagnosed with a Disruptive Behavior Disorder. PCIT effectively manages behavioral difficulties commonly associated with these diagnoses.
PCIT is a time-limited therapeutic technique most often demonstrating clinical gains within approximately 12 one-hour weekly sessions. However, the length of treatment varies across individual families. During PCIT a therapist works with the child’s parent(s) or caregiver(s) as a coach during real-time interactions until parents are able to demonstrate mastery of pre-determined skills as assessed through a standardized coding system. Most often the therapist coaches from behind a one-way mirror through the utilization of a bug-in-the-ear device. However, PCIT can also be provided in the home as the therapist can coach while directly observing and providing verbal feedback to the parent. During PCIT, parents and children progress through 2 phases of therapy during which parents learn two pre-established sets of skills. During the Child-Directed Interaction (CDI) phase, the therapist focuses on coaching the parent to learn and implement skills in accordance with play therapy in order to improve the parent-child relationship. Throughout the Parent-Directed Interaction (PDI) phase, parents are coached to utilize compliance training skills including the use of a research supported time-out intervention. Children and families are eligible for successful discharge once the parent has demonstrated mastery of skills in both the CDI and PDI phases, and the child’s behavior is within normal limits as verified by the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory assessment.
Many staff across the teams at Family Behavioral Resources have participated in the initial 40 hour training with Dr. Cheryl McNeil at West Virginia University, and are moving on to receive advanced, extensive yearlong training in PCIT. Staff and families who receive PCIT may also in take part in research efforts with West Virginia University and AERI.