Parent-child interaction therapy, or PCIT, is a short-term, specialized behavior management program designed for young children experiencing behavioral and/or emotional difficulties and their families. PCIT teaches caregivers to manage their child’s difficult behaviors, while increasing their positive behaviors. PCIT works with the child and caregiver together to improve behavior and reduce parenting stress.

PCIT is an exceptionally effective treatment backed by over 30 years of research. Live coaching is a hallmark of PCIT. The provider observes the caregiver and child together, then provides coaching on the PCIT skills. Caregivers and providers work together to manage challenging child behaviors.

Advantages of live coaching:

  • Skills are acquired rapidly by caregivers, as they practice in the moment with provider support.
  • Providers offer support as caregivers gain confidence and master their skills.
  • Providers give immediate feedback about strategies to manage the child’s challenging behaviors.

PCIT is for children ages 2 ½ to 6 who display any or all of the following:

  • Parent-child relational problems
  • Refusal and defiance of adult requests
  • Easy loss of temper
  • Purposeful annoyance of others
  • Destruction of property
  • Difficulty staying seated
  • Difficulty playing quietly
  • Difficulty taking turns

PCIT consists of weekly sessions conducted in two treatment phases.

PHASE I: Child-Directed Interaction (CDI)
Caregivers are taught the PRIDE skills:
Praise, Reflect, Imitate, Describe and Enjoyment.
These skills promote positive child behaviors.

PHASE II: Parent-Directed Interaction (PDI)
Caregivers learn to use effective commands and discipline procedures. The PCIT provider helps caregivers manage their child’s behaviors in many settings.

Jessica R. Bradley, PsyD

Clinical Interests:


Allissa N. Caudill, PsyD

Clinical Interests:


Marshall Psychiatry

A provider-based department of Cabell Huntington Hospital
20th Street Professional Building
1115 20th Street, Suite 205
Huntington, WV 25703
Phone: 304.691.1500

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