This evidence-based intervention for parents and young children experiencing behavioral and/or emotional difficulties is a fun and highly effective treatment based on over 20 years of research. Live coaching is the main method of training in PCIT.

Caregivers—parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, legal guardians, and even residential care-giving staff—are the heart of PCIT. They learn how to use PRIDE skills with their children: praise, reflect, imitate, describe, and enjoy. They also use effective commands and behavior management techniques as they play with their child. These skills all translate to the real world, not just therapy sessions.

Advantages of Live Coaching

Caregivers master skills much quicker because they learn by doing. Therapists can give immediate feedback to caregivers by observing the interactions between the caregiver and child. Caregivers become more confident and proficient in interactions with their child as a result and typically see marked improvement in just three or four sessions.

Through PCIT’s live coaching, children often enjoy an enhanced relationship with their caregivers. Children improve their listening skills and ability to comply with requests. They learn to manage frustration and anger in more positive ways and develop greater self-esteem and attention skills. Positive changes in children’s behaviors have been seen in home, school, and childcare settings as a result of this therapy. These changes have also been reported in siblings of children participating in PCIT.

What to Expect

PCIT is a short-term treatment model. Using an earpiece to communicate, therapists help caregivers encourage their child’s positive behaviors and ignore negative ones. The caregivers follow the child’s lead in play while controlling dangerous behaviors. Time out procedures and other real-world strategies are taught, as well. Caregivers are given a homework assignment after each session to practice their skills with their children every day for five to ten minutes.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy is designed for young children, aged two through seven. The techniques have been successful with:

  • children with oppositional behaviors, aggression, and tantrums
  • children with attention problems
  • children with anxiety and avoidant behaviors
  • children experiencing family disruption or other stressor
  • children in foster care placements and those with attachment disorders


Child Adult Relationship Enhancement (CARE) Workshops

If a family and/or professional is interested in learning the skills taught in PCIT but do not need therapy or are waiting for therapy to begin, they may benefit from attending a CARE workshop.  CARE is an evidence-based universal approach to help any adult interact with children or teens. CARE can be a complement to mental health treatment, but is not a therapy program. It uses skills designed to enhance child-adult relationships and to reduce mild to moderate behavior problems. Skills taught in CARE are based on several evidence-based parenting programs, including Parent Child Interaction Therapy. 


Contact our Client Information Coordinator by calling 412.741.4087 or using our convenient Contact Form.