PARENT CHILD INTERACTION TRAINING (PCIT)
During the second stage of the program parents are taught skills in how to direct their children, and are coached in how to provide safe and effective discipline in response to non-compliance. PCIT provides, on average, once weekly contact in the client’s home and in the community.
The program has been used extensively with families referred by child welfare social workers. PCIT can be used as part of a reunification plan when the parents and child have daily contact.
These positive outcomes have also been shown to generalize to daycare, preschool and elementary classroom settings. Teacher report measures have shown clinically significant improvements in noncompliance and disruptive behaviors in the classroom, such as disobeying the teacher, talking back, teasing, hitting, whining, yelling, and breaking rules.
A PCIT Client Story
During the initial stage of PCIT, the parents began learning how to focus on their children’s positive behaviors, and practiced these skills in play sessions. This helped build a bond between the parents and children and to create a warm and trusting relationship after being separated for two years. The parents learned strategic attention giving, or shaping the children’s behavior by only giving attention to those behaviors they wanted to improve. They learned to ignore the whining and crying that the children often used to get attention. The parents practiced these skills daily in play sessions with the parent coach and the children. The coach taught the parents in what to say and how to play with the children. Eventually the skills the parents learned in the play sessions were used throughout the day with the children.
David and Karen soon developed competence in these skills and graduated to the discipline portion of the program. They then learned safe and effective means of handling unacceptable behaviors of the children that could not be ignored. The children learned to follow their parents’ directions and rules. With commitment to practicing the skills they were learning, David and Karen developed confidence in handling the children.
David and Karen expressed an appreciation for PCIT, as it taught them effective skills and helped them practice the skills with real life problems in the home. This gave them confidence to repeat what they practiced with the family coach on their own. With the help of PCIT, the reunification of the children with their parents was a successful.
*Client names have been changed to protect their identity.
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