Information for Parents

OUHSC has several therapists available to work with families to provide PCIT services for families who are having difficulty managing their child's behaviors.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a short-term, specialized behavior management program designed for young children experiencing behavioral and/or emotional difficulties and their families. PCIT works with the child and caregiver together to improve overall behavior and to reduce parenting stress.

Our Goals

  • Improve the parent/caregiver-child relationship

  • Improve children's minding and listening skills

  • Increase children's ability to manage frustration and anger

  • Increase children's social skills

  • Improve children's attention skills

  • Build children's self-esteem

  • Improve parents' use of appropriate discipline strategies

  • Help parents set developmentally-appropriate expectations for their child.

Is PCIT Right for Your Family?

PCIT is designed for young children between the ages of 2 and 7 years and has been successful with:

  • children with oppositional/defiant problems

  • children with aggressive behaviors

  • children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

  • children experiencing adjustment problems

  • children impacted by substance abuse

  • children impacted by abuse/neglect

  • children in foster care placement

  • children recently adopted

  • children reunited with parents

PCIT requires a 14-18 week commitment by the parent/caregiver and child with one session per week.

Non-custodial parents should have visitation with their child at least three times per week (in addition to their weekly PCIT session) in order for PCIT to be successful.

Benefits of PCIT

Children with challenging behaviors  often have difficulty in home, childcare, and school settings. Parents/caregivers report problems going out in public such as to stores and to restaurants. Stress levels are high for the parents/caregivers and also between them and their children. Unfortunately, children rarely outgrow many of the difficult behaviors. Should their behaviors continue or increase, they are likely to interfere with the children's school progress and social development.

The overall effectiveness of PCIT has been well-established through scientific research. Positive changes in children's behaviors have been seen in home, school, and childcare settings. These changes have even been noted in siblings of children participating in PCIT. At the completion of PCIT, parents/caregivers generally report a high level of satisfaction and decreased stress levels.

Most importantly, children participating in PCIT with their parents/caregivers increase their ability to reach their full potential.

For more information about PCIT, or to locate a PCIT provider in your area, please contact the Child Study Center at (405) 271-5700.