I’ve read lots of books and tried many techniques. What makes PCIT different?

The two-way mirror and live-coaching through a blue-tooth-like electronic device allow therapists to intervene directly in the moment. Therapists are able to provide parents with immediate support, feedback and rationale as they are coached in the use of the PCIT interventions. Treatment is tailored to the specific needs of each child and parent based on clinical assessment. PCIT is a successful treatment that is strongly supported by decades of research. It has been proven that as a result of PCIT, parents learn more effective parenting techniques, the behavior problems of children decrease, and the quality of the parent-child relationship improves. Once parents learn the therapeutic skills, they can apply the techniques to all of their children throughout their lives.  

What if my child doesn’t misbehave during the therapy sessions?

No problem. Although some children are on their best behavior during the initial sessions, they soon relax and show their challenging behaviors. It is also important to note that during times when acting-out behaviors are not occurring therapeutic work is still being accomplished. It can actually be very helpful if your child behaves well during the first couple of sessions.  

My child has the problem, why do I need to participate in treatment?

Parents (or significant caregivers) are the most influential people in their child’s life. PCIT therapists provide parents with specific skills to effectively manage their child’s problematic behaviors. Long after treatment has been completed, parents are able to use the PCIT techniques in situations that come up as their children grow into new developmental stages.   

Can more than one parent or caregiver participate in PCIT?

Yes! This is the most ideal situation. The more consistently the skills are used with the child (by all caregivers involved), the more quickly behaviors will change. Additionally, many parents find it helpful to go through treatment together as they can support each other in the learning and use of the therapeutic skills. In two-home families, the participation of both parents helps to modify behaviors more quickly and to reduce parenting conflict between homes.  

I have more than one difficult child, can I bring both to the session?

PCIT sessions typically focus on one parent and one child at the onset of treatment, however once the basic therapeutic skills are acquired, other children or caregivers can join the sessions. The goal of treatment is for parents to eventually use the PCIT techniques in “real-life” settings as well as in the sessions. Including other family members in sessions is a part of this generalization process. 

Do I have to commit to the full course of treatment?

No. Families are free to end treatment, or take a break, at any time. However, it is strongly recommended that the full course of treatment be completed so that treatment gains can be maintained and to help prevent behavioral relapses.      

Is the cost of the PCIT sessions really worth it?

Consider the financial and emotional costs of your child's challenging behaviors. Many parents complain that disruptive behaviors cost them valuable time and energy, both at home with daily power struggles and at work with having to take personal time to address issues with their child’s school or daycare. PCIT is not only an investment in a better relationship with your child, but an opportunity to reduce your own level of stress. Compared to other therapeutic interventions, PCIT has been found to be more effective in a shorter amount of time. PCIT is typically completed in 15-20 sessions, unlike other treatments that may continue for over a year with unclear progress.