Parent Child Interaction Therapy
What is Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)?
Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a treatment program where behavioral issues of children ages 2-7 are addressed such as anger outbursts, temper tantrums, oppositional defiance or aggression that are causing disruption and tension with their parent(s)/caregiver(s). It is an evidenced based practice (EBP) meaning it is a proven treatment program meant to help and support the parent(s)/caregiver(s) and their children to develop a positive relationship and interaction and how to apply effective parenting strategies/techniques. This program has helped treat a variety of families under various types of circumstances, such as those children and families exposed to trauma, those who have gone through adoption, foster care and more. Therapists have also been able to provide this program in other languages such as Spanish.
How does the treatment work?
In PCIT, the treatment begins by the therapist supporting the parent(s)/caregiver(s) to build/enhance the relationship with their child. During this portion of the treatment, the parent(s)/caregiver(s) are taught and coached by the therapist on how to reduce the negative interactions within their relationship with the child and how to begin incorporating a style of communication that is positive and consistent with the age and development of the child. Through a series of worksheets, the therapist is able to track their progress and/or lack of progress towards achieving this first part. Next the parent(s)/caregiver(s) begin the Strategies for Compliance and here they are taught and coached by the therapist to implement effective discipline strategies/skills while continuing to use the previously learned child management skills. These skills are to be practiced in and out of therapy sessions. When the parent(s)/caregiver(s) and their child demonstrate mastery, they graduate from the program.
How long does PCIT take to complete?
Typically, the treatment can last anywhere from 12 to 20 sessions; however the length of treatment can depend upon the specific needs for that particular family. It is possible for some to successfully complete the program in less than 12 sessions while others may take longer than 20 to reach mastery/graduation.
Factors that may play a role in length of treatment include but are not limited to: (1) regular/consistent attendance, (2) parent(s)/caregiver(s) completing homework exercises given in and out of sessions, (3) the parent(s)/caregiver(s) display of mastery of PCIT skills in the session, and (4) other potential emotional or developmental concerns of the child.
Ready to start PCIT services?
If you are looking to start services in PCIT, you will need a therapist who has certification or is currently under training from a certified PCIT therapist. Currently at Talk Therapy Center (TTC), Angelica Ramirez-Diaz, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) #122193 has this certification. Angelica obtained her training and certification when she was working for the non-profit organization of Child Abuse Listening Mediation (CALM) in Santa Barbara, CA. Through her work at CALM, she had been able to attend the 18th annual conference on Parent Child Interaction Therapy for Traumatized Children and learn further how to best support families with the latest research provided in 2018. Angelica is passionate about supporting children and families and believes in early prevention/intervention.
If interested in starting services for PCIT, to make an appointment with Angelica please call the office at Talk Therapy Center (TTC).
This article was written by Angelica Ramirez-Diaz, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) #122193