Here you will learn exactly what Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is and what you can expect when working with a therapist trained in PCIT.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) involves the following steps:

1. Intake and assessment: The therapist conducts an initial assessment of the child and family to identify the child’ss behavioral problems, family dynamics, and other relevant factors.
2. Orientation: The therapist explains the PCIT treatment process to the parents and teachesthem basic communication and play skills to use with their child.
3. Child-directed interaction (CDI): The therapist observes and coaches the parent as they interact with their child in a play session, focusing on positive reinforcement and improving theparent-child relationship.
4. Parent-directed interaction (PDI): The therapist teaches the parent effective discipline techniques and coaches them as they practice using these techniques with their child.
5. Generalization: The therapist helps the parent apply the skills learned in CDI and PDI sessions to real-life situations, such as at school or in public places.
6. Maintenance: The therapist provides ongoing support and monitoring to ensure that the skills learned in therapy are maintained and that the child’s behavior continues to improve. Throughout the treatment process, the therapist may also address any underlying issues that may be contributing to the child’s behavior, such as trauma or anxiety. Additionally, the therapist may work with other professionals involved in the child’s care, such as teachers or doctors, to ensure consistent support and intervention.

Phase 1 CDI: Child Directed Interaction

Child-Directed Interaction (CDI) is the first key component of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) that focuses on improving the parent-child relationship by increasing positive interactions between the parent and child. CDI involves teaching parents how to actively engage in play with their child, following the child’s lead, and providing positive feedback and reinforcement for their child’s positive behaviors.

In CDI sessions, the therapist demonstrates how to use specific play skills, PRIDE skills, such as reflecting the child’s actions and emotions, imitating the child’s play, and labeling and expanding on the child’s language. The therapist also coaches parents as they practice using these skills in play sessions with their child. PRIDE skills are attachment-building approaches to play, which are appropriate to preschool and elementary school aged children. The attachment bond is the evolutionary mechanism for emotional regulation. Through PRIDE play and
enhanced secure attachment between child and parents, the parent is able to join the child and co-regulate, reducing unwanted behaviors or dysregulation. For this reason, parents are required to participate in therapy sessions with their child; the relationship between parent and child is the client, not the child or parent as individuals. Parents should prepare to devote 5-10 minutes of one-on-one PRIDE skills play each day between therapy sessions.

This helps parents develop a stronger bond with their child and improve their child’s social and emotional development. CDI also involves teaching parents how to use praise and positive reinforcement to encourage their child’s positive behaviors. The therapist helps parents develop a plan for using praise
consistently and effectively, which includes identifying specific behaviors to praise, using specific and descriptive language, and providing immediate and frequent praise.

Overall, CDI helps parents improve the quality of their relationship with their child and promote positive behaviors in the child. Through consistent practice and ongoing support from the therapist, parents can strengthen their bond with their child and improve their child’s social and emotional development.

PRIDE SKILLS

The PCIT PRIDE skills are a set of parenting skills taught in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) to help parents improve their relationship with their child and manage their child’s behavior effectively. The acronym PRIDE stands for:
1. Praise: Using positive reinforcement to encourage positive behaviors in the child.
2. Reflect: Acknowledging and responding to the child’s feelings and thoughts in a non-judgmental way.
3. Imitate: Engaging in play that reflects the child’s interests and following their lead.
4. Describe: Using descriptive language to label and expand on the child’s positive behaviors.
5. Enthusiasm: Showing enthusiasm and interest in the child’s activities and accomplishments. By using these skills consistently and effectively, parents can build a positive relationship with their child, increase their child’s positive behaviors, and reduce negative behaviors. The PCIT therapist provides coaching and feedback to help parents develop these skills and apply them in real-life situations.

Phase 2 PDI: Parent-Directed Interaction

PDI is the second key component of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy that focuses on teaching parents effective discipline techniques to manage their child’s negative behaviors. PDI aims to help parents learn how to set clear boundaries, provide appropriate consequences, and establish consistent routines to reduce negative behaviors in their child. In PDI sessions, the therapist teaches parents specific skills, such as using clear commands, giving praise for positive behaviors, and ignoring minor misbehaviors. The therapist also coaches parents as they practice using these skills in role-play scenarios with their child. This helps parents develop confidence in their ability to manage their child’s negative behaviors in
real-life situations. PDI also involves teaching parents how to use time-out as an effective consequence for their child’s negative behaviors. The therapist helps parents develop a plan for using time-out consistently and effectively, which includes identifying a specific time-out location, setting clear rules and expectations for behavior, and implementing a time-out routine that is appropriate for the child’s age and temperament.

Overall, PDI helps parents develop the skills and confidence needed to manage their child’s negative behaviors in a positive and effective way. Through consistent practice and ongoing support from the therapist, parents can enhance attachment security within the parent-child relationship and reduce the frequency and severity of negative behaviors.

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