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Parent-Child Interaction Therapy to Heal Relationships

For families that are struggling to understand their children or children who feel they cannot behave for their parents should look into Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). This is a behavior-based, family oriented therapy that helps parents and their kids mend their relationship through interaction. This mode of therapy was created in the early 1970s by Psychologist Sheila Eyberg. This theory was based on Diana Baumring’s developmental research on authoritative parenting skills and Constance Hanf’s two stage behavioral program to train mothers with developmentally disabled children. Adults will be able to improve their parenting and language skills through PCIT and children will know how to better control their emotions.

Families seek out PCIT to help address concerns or improve relationships with each other. The idea is to turn negative behaviors into positive ones. How it works is the therapist speaks to the parents of key principles and techniques to strengthen their relationship with the children. Then, a one-way mirror is used to observe parents play with their kids and use skills and techniques that they were taught. Parent receive live coaching through an ear bug device so that they will be fed advice on what to do. Targeted behaviors are tracked over time to see the progress in both parents and children.

The relationship enhancement phase will help improve and strengthen the bond between parents and their kids. The child will decide which activities or toys to play with their parents and parents will use positive reinforcement skills while playing with their child. Parents will be able to learn about praising their kids for good behavior, communication, paying attention to their child’s activities, and demonstrating enthusiasm to them. There are no negative words, criticism, or sarcasm used. The discipline and compliance phase is when parents provide easy instructions to their child with clear consequences for obedience and disobedience. When children demonstrate good behavior, parents will thank them. If bad behavior is displayed, the children will get a timeout.

According to GoodTherapy, a study in 2011 showed that kids between ages 8 and 10 with language impairments were able to improve. Kids between ages 2 and 7 were able to address common behavioral issues like aggression, non-compliance, defiance, and short temper. This method will reduce the chances of physical and verbal child abuse as well as building a positive parent-child interaction. PCIT is beneficial for any family who is looking for help.

Castle Craig Hospital is a landmark of addiction and mental health treatment in Scotland, serving the UK, the EU, and patients from all over the world. Our commitment to long term abstinence has created a successful program of clinical and complementary therapies for mind, body, and spirit. Serving over 10,000 patients for more than 25 years, the Castle Craig model is proven in changing lives. Call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line for information: 0808 231 7723. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006

Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked | January 29, 2020