The reasons why parent child interaction therapy is considered important and necessary

One of the most significant relationships in life is the parent-child relationship. While growing up nearly every person wishes to find a soulmate, marry, settle down, and start a family on your own. A child whether a boy or girl inherits not only the genes but many similar qualities from both the mother and father. The parents are responsible for feeding and taking off the child from infancy to childhood and adolescence. In the early age since childbirth, the child is dependent on the support of the parents who are responsible to not only give food but groom the child and give him/her ample opportunities to play and socially interact.

The upbringing and education of a child start at home well until a certain age. Then parents administer the child in a school where they not only learn education on different things but interact with other children of the same age. A good communication and healthy social interaction between a child and parent are key in the growth and development of a child. The young children learn everything from their parents such as sharing, respecting elders, cooperating with others, and knowing right from wrong. Young children also learn to develop their motor skills and cognitive abilities as they grow.

There is always a huge contribution to the parent-child relationship in the way most people think and act. Many psychologists believe that relationships between parents and child is vital in determining who we will become and how we live our lives. The health and socioeconomic conditions of the parents also have a huge influence on the upbringing of a child. A child who grows up in an affluent house will have a different perspective of things as compared to a child who has grown up modestly. Every parent wishes to have a loving and stable relationship with their child but there are ups and downs, disagreements, and even difficulties through which both the parents and the child need to address and solve. There are certain therapies that can help both parents and children to improve their relationship.

Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) is a therapy that was developed by Sheila Eyberg in 1988 to help children from ages 2 -7 who were having disruptive behavior issues. PCIT is an evidence-based therapy for young kids going through emotional and behavioral problems and disorders. The emphasis of the parent child interactive therapy is on improving the parent-child relationship and developing different interaction patterns between the parent and the child. PCIT is most suited to children who have experienced abuse, and have difficulty socially interacting with their parents and other people around them. PCIT helps the parent to manage their child’s behavior, set limits, calmly discipline them, and restoring feelings of love and care. The PCIT approach is regarded as a gold standard in helping families to stabilize their relationships. The highlight of PCIT therapy include

  • The gains last for a lifetime
  • The gains are generalized for siblings and school settings
  • Teaching parents emotion communication skills and positive interaction skills.
  • Teaching and reinforcing parental consistency

PCIT is giving by a therapist or a mental health professional in coaching sessions where the parent and the child are in the playroom while the therapist observes from another room. The therapist can observe through a one-way mirror or a live feed from a camera. The parents are given a listening device in the ear so that the therapist can provide live techniques and suggestions to manage the child’s behavior.

Disruptive behavior is quite common in kids and must be addressed quickly to help the child find balance and keep the family together. The disruptive behavior is usually categorized as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Conduct Disorder (CD), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD),

PCIT therapy is administered in two phases with one hour sessions once a week, and there are a total of 10-14 sessions. The first one focuses on establishing warmth and love in the relationship to help the child feel secure and comfortable. The parent must teach certain skills and make the children feel good about themselves. The desired outcomes of the first phase include

  • A decrease in frequency and duration of tantrums
  • A decrease in negative attention-seeking behavior
  • Increase feelings of attachment with a parent
  • Increased self-esteem and social behavior

The second phase enables the parent to manage the more challenging behavior of their child while staying calm and composed. The techniques will help the parent to easily direct their child to comply with the instructions, respect the house rules, and accept their limits. The desired outcomes of the second phase in PCIT are

  • A decrease in frequency and duration of aggressive behavior.
  • A decrease in destructive frequency such as breaking toys
  • Increase in obeying parents instructions and commands
  • Improve behavior in the house and public
  • Increase in parental calmness

Author Bio:

Mandy Johnson is a qualified psychologist and usually give counseling sessions to both parents and children. The focus of her work is to help children with disruptive behavior and help parents to control their kids in a loving and comfortable manner.

About Amelie J