Preparation for Child Psych PRITE and Boards
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Parent–child interaction therapy (PCIT) is an effective intervention for treatment of young children (2-7 y.o.).

It is effective in helping parents of conduct-disordered children, as well as abusive parents.

Important elements

Parent–child interaction therapy involves

  • Child-directed interaction
    • based on attachment theory
    • involves play therapy to facilitate healthy attachment and foster warm and responsive relationship with the child
  • Parent-directed interaction
    • based on social-learning theory and behavioral theory
    • involves parent-training therapy that teaches parents to recognize negative behaviors and consistently apply appropriate consequences


In a randomized trial of 110 abusive parents with median 850-day follow-up, PCIT-treated families had a reduction in physical abuse reports (19% re-reported) vs. 49% of parents who received standard parenting group. (1)


1. Chaffin, Mark; Parent-Child Interaction Therapy With Physically Abusive Parents: Efficacy for Reducing Future Abuse Reports. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 72(3), Jun 2004, 500-510

2. Eyberg, Sheila M. Parent-child interaction therapy: A psychosocial model for the treatment of young children with conduct problem behavior and their families. Psychopharmacology Bulletin, Vol 31(1), 1995, 83-91