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Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an evidence-based therapy approach for children, age 2 to 7. PCIT is taught to the child's parents to help them learn specific strategies to deal effectively with decreasing their child's aggressive behaviors, increasing the child's compliance, and 

increasing positive responses by the parents. Parents also learn effective discipline strategies. PCIT has been proven, through extensive research, to be effective at improving the child's behavior not only in the home but in the school environment, as well.


There are two phases to PCIT: Child-Directed Interaction (CDI) and Parent-Directed Interaction (PDI). In the first phase (CDI), the parent learns how to improve their relationship with their child while improving the parent's ability to manage the child's desire to comply. In the second phase (PDI), the parent learns to teach the child to comply with parental demands, which reduces behavior problems as the child learns to listen and follow the parent's instructions.

The goals of these two phases are achieved while the parent and child interact/play together while being observed by the therapists through a one way mirror (where available). The PCIT therapist coaches the parent through an earpiece microphone. The parent is also coached to practice these skills with the child at home for five minutes a day.​

The length of PCIT depends upon each individual case but generally takes 15 sessions as well as practicing the skills every day in the home environment. 

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Children between the ages of 2 and 7 years old who are experiencing one or more of the following issues:

  • Aggressive behaviors towards parents, siblings, or others

  • Refusal to follow directions

  • Difficulties at child care, preschool, or kindergarten 

  • Frequent or excessive temper tantrums 

  • Defiant attitude

  • Are unable to or won't cooperate 

  • Disciplines that work with other children do not work with them

To set up an appointment, contact Siouxland Mental Health Center 
(712) 252-3871

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