Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an evidence-based therapy
for oppositional and defiant children ages 2 to 7. PCIT places an
emphasis on improving the quality of the parent-child relationship,
while teaching the parent to implement effective discipline techniques
in the home.
The treatment consists of two parts:
Child-Directed Interactions (CDI) - parents are taught specific behavioral play skills in order to nurture the parent-child relationship.
Parent-Directed Interaction (PDI) - parents are
instructed on how to give effective directives to their children and
follow these directives with clear, consistent consequences for
During PDI, parents are provided the opportunity to practice
discipline techniques with the coaching and supervision of a therapist.
Parents learn skills through direct coaching sessions, and then
implement these skills under therapist supervision with the use of a
one-way mirror and "bug-in-the-ear" receivers.
Research studies of the effectiveness of PCIT consistently find
clinically significant improvement in child compliance to parental
directives and decreases in disruptive behaviors.