What is PCIT?
Considered the gold-standard, PCIT is a combination of play therapy and behavioral therapy for young children and their parents or caregivers. PCIT was developed for children ages 2-7 years, and has shown to be effective in treating disruptive behavior and with children on the autism spectrum. PCIT is conducted through two treatment phases and through "coaching" sessions in which the therapist will guide you and your child while engaging in play. Desired outcomes of PCIT include: 1) increased pro-social behaviors (i.e. sharing, taking turns), child's social skills and cooperation, 2) increased feelings of security, safety, and attachment to the primary parent or caregiver; 3) increase parental confidence; and 4) decreased frequency and severity of aggressive and/or defiant behavior.
What do parents and children learn in PCIT therapy?
This type of intervention teaches parents and caregivers specific skills and techniques to build a better relationship with their child. PCIT will teach parents how to reinforce positive child behavior, reduce negative behaviors, and encourage new ways of communication. When practiced consistently, there can be a marked increase in both the parents and child's confidence, reduced anger and aggression, and overall increased compliance with adult requests.
How long does PCIT therapy last?
The length of PCIT treatment varies, but families remain in treatment until parents or caregivers have demonstrated mastery of the treatment skills and rate their child's behavior as normal. The average length of treatment is 14 to 16 weeks with weekly meetings.