Parent-Child Interaction Therapy | UC Davis CAARE Diagnostic and Treatment Center | UC Davis Children's Hospital

CAARE Diagnostic and Treatment Center

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a positive and intensive treatment program designed to help both parents and children. The program works with parents and children together in order to improve the quality of the parent-child relationship and to teach parents the necessary skills for managing children’s behavioral problems.

PCIT consists of two components:

Relationship enhancement

In the relationship enhancement component of the program, parents are taught and “coached” on how to decrease the negative aspects of their relationship with their children and then to develop consistently positive and supportive communication.

Strategies to improve compliance

In this compliance component of the program, parents are taught and “coached” the elements of effective discipline and child management skills.

In both components of this program, parents are taught specific skills, and are given the opportunity to practice these skills during therapy until mastery is acquired and the child’s behavior is improved.

PCIT is appropriate for children who:

  • Are between the ages of 2 and 8 years of age
  • Are exhibiting chronic behavioral problems at home, school, preschool, or daycare such as:
    • Acting out and disruptive behavior in school settings
    • Aggression toward parents, siblings, and/or other children in the home
    • Sassing back to their parents
    • Refusing to follow directions
    • Frequent temper tantrums
    • Swearing
    • Defiance
    • Oppositional behaviors
    • Currently living with one or both of their parents (the program is also suited for foster and adoptive parents)
  • May be on medication to manage their behavioral problems
  • Are currently in foster care (treatment can be conducted with biological, foster, or adoptive parents)

Contact information

Lindsay Armendariz (née Forte)
Phone: 916-732-8983