Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)


Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is designed to support parents with managing defiant and oppositional behaviours in children aged 2 – 7 years. PCIT is conducted with the child and parent in a therapy room while a PCIT specialist coaches the parent with real-time feedback.

There are two phases to PCIT. The first phase is referred to as Child-Directed Interaction (CDI). In this phase parents are coached to use play-therapy skills with their child. CDI aims to improve the quality of the parent-child relationship and improve pro-social behaviours in the child.

The second phase is referred to as Parent Directed Interaction (PDI), which aims to increase the child’s compliance. In PDI the parent is coached to provide clear and effective commands while setting appropriate limits to behaviour in order to increase compliance in the child. PCIT usually takes approximately 12 – 14 weeks with the parent and child attending 50minute sessions on a weekly basis.

PCIT has been extensively researched across the globe with over five decades of research behind it. PCIT has consistently been shown to result in a wide number of improvements for families including; increased attachment with caregiver, decreased severity/ duration of tantrums, decreased hyperactivity, decreased negative attention-seeking behaviours, improved compliance with adult requests, improved caregiver confidence, decreased defiance and aggressive behaviour, improved self-esteem, sharing, taking turns and improved attention span.

Additional Information

Dowload current flyer – Play therapy coaching for parents with children aged 2-7 years.  


Would you like to start the process?

The Shellharbour Clinic delivers tailored, personalised treatment. The first step of exploring which of the above treatment approaches best suit your specific needs is a conversation with our therapists. For more information about our services, the people we work with or to simply start the process of treatment, please contact us.

Please note – the above information about different treatments is general in nature and is for information only.
Your psychologist or treating professional will provide more detailed information that is relevant and tailored to your specific circumstances.