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Parent-child interaction therapy helps to increase positivity between parents and children, while improving a child's behavior and empowering the parent to effectively parent.

Benefits of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

If your young child is experiencing behavioral problems, you have likely tried many methods to attempt to correct these behaviors. Some of these methods may include punishment techniques or positive reinforcement methods. However, if you are not seeing any change in their behavior, you may begin to wonder what you as a parent are doing wrong.

Despite your best efforts to remain calm and composed, parents can become tired and irritable when they are subjected to the same behaviors from their child over and over. When this happens, you may not act in such a way that we are making a positive impact on our child as they are disciplined. Unfortunately, your child can then pick up on your bad habits and mirror them, which may be part of the reason that they are acting out, because they see you doing so when you are frustrated. A parent’s frustration and stress directly relate to our children’s ability to process and react to their feelings and behaviors. If you are in this situation, parent-child interaction therapy, or PCIT, may be ideal for you.

Parent Child Interaction Therapy

Parent-child interaction therapy is a form of therapy for you, the parent. You receive coaching from a child psychology specialist on how to decrease your negative behaviors while improving upon your relationship with your child. This can help to curb behavioral problems in a child. PCIT is a specialized 15-20 session treatment program designed for parents or caregivers and their children aged 10 or younger who may be experiencing behavioral and/or emotional issues. Sessions are an hour long and are done weekly.

Helps Children Manage Aggressive and Defiant Behaviors

Parent-child interaction counseling helps target a wide range of aggressive and defiant behaviors in children. Some of those behaviors include:

  • Swearing
  • Fighting
  • Temper tantrums
  • Refusal to obey rules
  • Arguing
  • Low self-esteem
  • Low frustration threshold
  • Lying
  • Blaming others for one’s actions

With such a wide array of behaviors, you may be wondering how this type of counseling can help to solve all of these problems. In order to properly solve behavioral issues, you have to get to the root of the issue with the child. Most of the time, the behavior is one that is learned from the parent and the parent may inadvertently be doing so. For example, when you discipline your child, and they talk back, you may engage with them and argue. If you let them get away with this a couple of times, the habit is formed and it is hard to break without outside assistance. Learning how to break some of these bad habits, and learning techniques to follow yourself when you feel frustrated, will help your child see how to behave in situations. Over time, they will learn by your positive example.

Research has shown that, as a result of PCIT, parents learn more effective parenting techniques, the behavior problem of children decrease, and the quality of the parent-child relationship improves.(U.S. Department of Human and Health Services, 2015)

Helps Improve Parent-Child Relationships

One of the biggest benefits to parent-child interaction therapy is that you can improve upon your relationship with your child. Many parents would love a better relationship with their child, but they simply don’t know how. This type of program teaches you how to communicate with and respect your child, while still asserting your parental position. Creating and establishing a positive relationship is much easier in younger children, so the earlier you start, the better.

Helps Reduce Child Abuse

The last benefit to parent-child interaction therapy is that it helps to reduce child abuse. When parents are frustrated, they can say things that can be hurtful and emotionally abusive to a child. Unfortunately, they may not even realize because that’s how they were disciplined as a child. PCIT breaks the cycle of abuse and teaches you how to parent without emotionally or physically abusing your child.

Pathways Real Life Recovery offers Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

Parent-child interaction therapy helps to increase positivity between parents and children, while improving a child’s behavior and empowering the parent to effectively parent. This is an evidence-based program that can benefit both you and your child, if your child is acting out and you are feeling frustrated. Pathways Real Life Recovery offers this form of counseling at our Sandy, Utah and Tooele, Utah locations. Visit our contact page to learn how you can get started with PCIT today.

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Michelle Amerman

Founder & Professional Therapist at Pathway Real Life Recovery
I love being given the opportunity to teach people how to love themselves and feel empowered on a daily basis. Pathways is the real solution to addiction and other habitual issues.
Michelle Amerman

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