As parents and caregivers, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with our children’s behavior on even the easiest days. With tantrums, calls from school, and other behavioral difficulties, sometimes challenges extend beyond what is manageable on our own, and our relationship with our children starts to fray. In these instances, it is often recommended that caregivers seek treatment. But where to start? Parent-Child Interaction Therapy is an evidence-based treatment for young children, ages 2-7 years old, which has been shown to dramatically decrease problematic behaviors and to significantly improve the relationship between children and caregivers.
PCIT is conducted in two treatment phases over a period of a few weeks or months during which time you are coached minute by minute by a therapist on managing behavior in a playroom using a “bug-in-the-ear” device. The first treatment phase includes focusing on reestablishing the relationship between the caregiver and child, learning to enjoy playtime, and helping the child feel safe and heard. The second phase of treatment involves imparting strategies for caregivers to help them feel confident about their children accepting limits, complying, and showing appropriate behavior. Once both phases are mastered, it has been shown that there is a significant decrease in the the frequency, severity, and duration of aggressive and/or destructive behavior, and there is a significant increase in compliance. Caregiver confidence and enjoyment of their children has also been shown to increase substantially after completion of PCIT.
If you think that your child’s behavior is beyond your control or that your relationship with your child may be affected, please feel free to contact Intercommunity Action for a consultation at 215-487-1330!
Author: Alexandra Reed, M.A.
Lyon, R., & Budd, K. (2010). A community mental health implementation of parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT). Journal of Child and Family Studies. 19 (5): 654-68