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Parent Child Interaction Therapy

The primary focus of PCIT is to address problematic behaviors (defiance, inability to follow directions, aggression) with children between the ages of 2-7. These behaviors are disruptive or impulsive enough to cause serious problems at home, at daycare, pre-school, kindergarten or elementary school.

Target population: 2-7 years of age
Who would benefit from services: Parents of children with behavioral problems.

Qualifying criteria and payment/insurance: Child must have Medi-Cal, all services are billed through Medi-Cal

How services are provided: At the main agency

Who provides the services: Licensed therapists and associate therapists registered with the Board of Behavioral Sciences

Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an intensive treatment program, designed to help both parents and children. This program works with parents and children together to improve the quality of the parent-child relationship and to teach parents the skills necessary
to manage their child’s severe behavior problems.

The PCIT program consists of two parts: a Relationship Enhancement component and an Improving Compliance component.


With the Relationship Enhancement component, parents are taught and “coached” how to decrease the negative aspects and increase positive and supportive communication with their child.


In the Improving Compliance component, parents are taught and “coached” the elements of effective child-management skills.


In both components of PCIT, parents are taught specific skills, given the opportunity to practice these skills during therapy and to continue practicing skills until goal criteria is achieved and the child’s behavior is improved.

PCIT is appropriate for children who:

  • Are between the ages of 2 and 7 years of age

  • Exhibit many of the following behavioral concerns:
    - difficulty in school, preschool, and/or daycare
    - aggressiveness towards parents, siblings, and/or other children
    - refusing to follow directions (defiance)
    - frequent temper tantrums
    - inappropriate language (swearing)

  • Are currently living with their parent (or will soon be reunited)

  • May be on medication to manage their behavior problems

  • Are currently in foster care or with adoptive parents (treatment can be conducted with biological, foster or adoptive parents)

  • For more information on this program email:

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