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What is Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)?

PCIT is an evidenced-based therapy for families with children ages 2-8, to reduce externalizing behaviors  (i.e. aggression, anxiety). After treatment parents show significantly better parenting skills, improved parent emotional availability, and decreased child negative attributions.

Who is PCIT Best for?

PCIT is an intensive parenting intervention program and is most appropriate for parents and/or children with:


-moderate behavioral problems (i.e. whining, disobeying)

-serious behavioral problems (i.e. hitting, biting)

-parents at risk for child maltreatment

-parents who suffer from externalizing behaviors (i.e. anxiety, depression)

-parents with limitations (e.g., limited substance abuse, limited intellectual ability, mental health problems)

I am a foster parent/caregiver, will PCIT work for our blended family? 

Yes! PCIT teaches foster parents behavior management skills and is a recognized therapeutic way to help support foster parents caring for children with behavioral problems. This behavioral therapy enhances the relationship between foster parents and foster children.

Who is PCIT not for?

While PCIT is very effective in addressing certain types of problems, there are clear limitations to its use. PCIT may not be appropriate and/or specific modifications to treatment may be needed: 


  • Parents who have limited or no ongoing contact with their child 

  • Parents with serious mental health problems that may include auditory or visual hallucinations or delusions 

  • Sexually abusive parents

  • Parents engaging in sadistic physical abuse

  • Parents with extreme substance abuse issues 

How does PCIT reduce behavioral problems in young children and improve Parent-Child interaction?

Parents learn to model and reinforce constructive ways of dealing with emotions, such as anger and frustration through in the moment, live coaching. Our therapists use a teach-the-teacher model, passing skills off to parents. Children, in turn, respond to these healthier relationships and interactions in positive ways by listening and following their parents. 

What Makes PCIT Unique?

During PCIT, the parent wears a listening device, such as a Bluetooth, which allows the therapist to provide in the moment feedback to help parents as they interact with their child. Live coaching helps ensure parents receive tailored, appropriate support when learning new interaction skills and mitigating (get rid of) old behaviors.

Do I attend remote therapy sessions with my child?

YES! During PCIT, the parent and child are treated together throughout the course of all sessions. This way you will know exactly what’s going on during therapy and what your role is. 

What is live coaching?

Live coaching is when skilled professionals provide immediate, in the moment, feedback.

What does PCIT address? 

Through PCIT, parents learn to bond and communicate differently with their children, developing new parenting styles that better meet their children’s needs. 

What insurance is accepted?

We are in the process of working with insurance companies.

Check back for updates.

How long does therapy last?

Therapy typically lasts 14 weeks for 60 minutes each session. However, since our therapy is live coaching, sometimes therapy runs over. We don’t want to stop a session just because the clock hit 60 minutes and your kiddo is throwing a tantrum. Don’t worry. We will stick by your side until the end! 

What does PCIT originate?

PCIT draws on both attachment and social learning principles (human relationships) to produce permanent improvements in the parent-child dyad as well as reductions in the child's disruptive behaviors. 

What are PRIDE skills and why do parents learn them?

PRIDE skills are a creative way to remember to engage with your child.  


PRIDE stands for Praise, Reflect, Imitate, Describe, and Enjoy.

What does praise mean?

The general rule behind praising is any behavior that is rewarded will increase. 

For example, if we tell our child “I love it when you help me clean up” our child will help clean up more. 


Another example: Usually we show our child attention when they are doing something wrong (i.e. Child running around the pool, we tell them to stop running).


However, during praising, we want to “catch our child being good” (i.e. child is walking. We say “I like it when you walk around the pool”).


Praising and attending to positive behaviors has the benefit of increasing your child’s self-esteem.

What are some examples of praising? 

example 1: Wow! You are doing a great job.

example 2: I like how quietly you’re sitting. 

example 3: I am really proud of you for eating all your food. 

example 4: Terrific counting!

What does reflect mean? 

Reflecting helps us feel understood and heard. It also helps to increase speech.

For example, imagine you and your child are playing with blocks and your child says, “I built a tall building”.

You could respond with “Yes! Your skyscraper is really big!”


This response 1) teaches your kiddo a new word 2) tells your child that you accept his/her behavior by mimicking actions and adding to the conversation.

What does imitate mean? 

Reflecting, copying, or simulating. 

Most of us have asked someone a question, told a story, or generally chatted with someone whose eyes were glued to a screen (i.e. cell phone, computer) when they were supposed to be listening to us. When this happens, most of us feel unheard, not respected, and not very appreciated. Even if the person didn’t intend to “blow us off” their body language isn’t engaging.


The same goes for us when we are with our child. Most of the time, our children are reflecting us in some shape. During imitation, our job is to reflect them.

What are some imitation examples?

Example 1:

Child playing

Child: I am going to cook food. 

Parent: Good idea! It is about time for me to make dinner too. 


Example 2:

Parent-child playing together

Child: I am drawing a sun in my picture. 

Parent: Wow! Your sun is very bright. I will add one to my picture too! 

What does describe mean? 

By describing, we are communicating our interest in our child’s behavior, modeling proper speech, and helpfully organizing the child's thoughts. Describing makes both the parent and child aware of in the moment behaviors.

What are some examples of describing? 

Example 1: 

Child playing with blocks.

Parent: "You're putting the blue block next to the yellow block..." 


Example 2: 

Child practicing spelling: “L-I-B-R-A-R-Y, Library!”

Parent: "You spelled library!"

What does enjoy mean? 

Enjoyment/enthusiasm shows that you are happy with your child’s behaviors and models emotions.

What are some examples of enjoy? 

For example, if we show our child appropriate positive emotions during play  (i.e. smiling, interest in our child’s task), they will exhibit the same excitement during play and other similar situations.

What degrees do Amygdala Co's therapists have?

All of our therapists have a Master’s degree and/or higher degree (MD/PhD) in therapy or a related human health field and completed post-masters parent child interaction therapy training. 

Have a question? 

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