Interaction Therapy for Parent and Child in Brighton and Plymouth, MI.
PCIT is an empirically-supported type of therapy that is both behavior-based and family-oriented to help young children with behavioral problems as well as help improve the caregiver-child relationship through positive and predictable interactions. Through PCIT, the goals are decreasing externalizing behavioral problems (e.g., meltdowns/tantrums, aggression, defiance, negative attention-seeking behaviors) as well as primary caregiver frustration, meanwhile increasing pro-social behaviors, self-esteem, cooperation, compliance, respect for rules and promoting secure and healthy attachments between caregiver and child.
PCIT is typically conducted in 2 phases:
1) Child-Directed Interactions and 2) Parent-Directed Interactions. The first phase is about enhancing the relationship between caregiver and child and reducing the child’s frustration through warmth and positive praises. The psychologist will teach caregivers how to minimize any existing negative characteristics within the relationship to assist the child in feeling calm, safe, and secure in both relationships – with themselves and with their primary caregivers. Caregivers are taught positive reinforcement skills (i.e., PRIDE skills) and are coached to actively ignore negative behaviors that are not dangerous during a designated special playtime (e.g., 5-15 minutes per day). The second phase is about caregivers regaining back control through direct commands with clear, predictable, and consistent consequences for disobedience (e.g., time-out) during times of noncompliance. This phase is the phase that parents are most excited about; however, it is important to master the skills in phase 1 before moving onto phase 2.
It involves coaching and teaching sessions, consistent attendance sessions, and homework completion to ensure mastery of skills. These empirically supported strategies from both phases are generally taught to the caregivers first during the teaching sessions before it is practiced/implemented at home with the child. During the coaching sessions, the psychologist will observe the caregiver and child’s interaction and provide immediate feedback and recommendations to the caregiver if certain skills are in need of modification and/or additional practice!
This wonderful intervention helps build positive and warm caregiver-child interactions, increases communication skills within the family, decreases child behavioral concerns, and promotes self-confidence in both the child and their caregivers! If you have a young child who is demonstrating oppositional/challenging issues and/or other behavioral concerns, PCIT may be the most appropriate and beneficial treatment intervention for you and your family. At McCaskill Family Services, our trained psychologists will help provide you with the opportunity to learn and use specific skills that can assist you in fostering a more structured, yet caring and nurturing environment for your child.