Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)


So What Exactly Is Parent Child Interaction Therapy?

In PCIT a therapist guides the parent during play interactions with their child. Through an earpiece, the therapist supports the parent by providing skills and strategies to enhance the parent-child relationship. Therapy can happen with the therapist in the room next door or virtually. Parents learn how to be present and learn the right balance between affirmation and correction. 

PCIT Helps You Find your “zone”

Do you feel like you just haven’t found your comfort zone as an authority figure? PCIT gives parents the tools they need to be an authority figure in a way that’s comfortable for them. With your therapist you’ll create a framework to reinforce positive behaviors and change negative ones. Parent Child Interaction Therapy is designed to help parents who feel they are out of control or otherwise lacking disciplinary structure. It’s most appropriate for children ages 2 to 7. PCIT is extremely effective at helping parents cope with tantrums, defiance, whining and aggressive behaviors. At the same time PCIT helps create a more rewarding relationship between parent and child.  Elizabeth Maybalian is a senior staff therapist at Teen Therapy Center. Text us or email Liz directly to find out more!

Date: 05/24/2023
Speaker 1
Hey, it's Brian at Teen Therapy Center, and I'm here today with senior staff therapist and supervisor
Elizabeth Maybalian. How are you doing today, Liz?
Speaker 2
Good, Brian. How are you?

Speaker 1
I am jolly well, thanks. We are here to talk to you a little bit about PCIT, Parent-Child Interaction
Therapy. Now, from what I know of PCIT, it's kind of like if you've ever seen the movie The Matrix,
when there's that scene where Morpheus is guiding Neo over the phone, but you don't see Morpheus,
and you don't know how, but suddenly, or somehow he knows everything that's going on in the room.
Is it a little bit like that Liz and if not what exactly is PCIT?

Speaker 2
So it is a non-traditionaltherapy kind of what you're describing Brian because I am not in the same room with the parent
and the child during the session. So the way it works is the therapist is in a separate room and
the parent and child are in a separate room And I am communicating with the parent over a screen,
so usually their computer, which is nice because we can also do this via zoom and it works really
well. And through an earpiece, so the parent will be wearing an earpiece, I wear an earpiece
and I am talking and guiding the parent while the parent and the child are alone in the room. So
the parent is directly working with the child, but less interference from the therapist.

Speaker 1
And so what are the parent and child doing during this time? Are they like making a sandwich,
you know, playing video games and you know, what kind of stuff are you telling, telling the parents?

Speaker 2
So what's happening is that the child, what the child is experiencing is that my parent is with
me playing with me one on one. And how special am I, that my parent is giving me all this attention
all to myself. But what's really happening under the surface is that the parent is actually
doing therapy, but all the child sees is that I have my favorite person with me giving me all this
wonderful attention all to myself.

Speaker 1
And so you're kind of coaching, coaching the parent along through this. Yes.

Speaker 2
I am speaking to them during your piece, coaching them through the process as the parent is working
with their child.

Speaker 1
And so if I'm a parent thinking about this, what kind of problems, uh, am I probably wanting to address that
I'm trying out PCIT?

Speaker 2
So the best age for this practice is age two to seven, and it's for families whose children are experiencing things like defiance, tantrums,
not listening to or following directions, aggressive behaviors. And it works really well
for families who are going through major transitions, such as things like divorce, where a
child now has to live in a two-family home. And so it's nice because this is a way to provide both
families with structure and discipline and boundaries that can be generalized into both homes,
which gives not only the child a sense of safety and security and cohesion, but also helps the
parents be on the same page and provide that for their child.

Speaker 1
If you're interested in finding out more about PCIT, check out the PCIT page at our website
And you can also get in touch with Liz there and ask her some questions and inquire. Thank you
so much, Liz, for telling us about PCIT today. We really appreciate it.

Speaker 2
Thank you, Brian. All right. Cheers. Bye.

A mother tenderly reassures a tearful child

If you have more questions about individual therapy or would like to discuss in more detail how Teen Therapy Center can help, we invite you to contact us for more information.