PCIT is an emprically- supported treatment for conduct-disordered young children that place emphasis on improving the quality of parent-child interaction patterns. This treatment is indicated for children with behavioral disorders and families with a substantiated or self reported history of physical and verbal abuse. Children as young as 2 can be assisted with this specialized therapy. The younger the child is when therapy is initiated, the better the outcome. All main caretakers are required to participate in the therapy.
In PCIT, parents are taught specific skills to establish a nurturing and secure relationship with their child while increasing their child's pro-social behavior and decreasing negative behavior. This treatment focuses on two basic interactions: Child Directed Interaction (CDI) & Parent Directed Interaction (PDI). CDI is similar to play therapy in that the parents engage their child in a play situation with the goal of strengthening the parent-child relationship. PDI resemble clinical behavior therapy in that parents learn to use specific behavior management techniques as they play with their child.
PCIT therapy requires a large time commitment from parents. Sessions include assessment sessions, teaching session and coaching sessions. Video cameras are used for observation of parents implementing techniques in the office as well as a two way bluetooth device for providing confidential feedback and direct coaching to the parent. Parents are required to attend therapy alone, other times, they bring their children for implementation of techniques. Homework is a requirement.