Parent–Child Interaction Therapy
For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories
In Parent–Child Interaction Therapy, Dr. Cheryl Bodiford McNeil demonstrates this approach to helping young children who present with conduct problem behavior. This empirically supported intervention focuses on improving the relationship between parent and child by teaching parents specific skills to develop a nurturing, secure bond with their child. Parents also learn specific strategies for improving child compliance through consistent limit setting.
In this session, Dr. McNeil works with a 45-year-old single mother of a 3-year-old girl who acts self-destructively when she does not get her way. Dr. McNeil watches the mother and daughter relate to each other and coaches the client through the use of an ear bug that allows her to guide the mother while she interacts with her daughter.
Parent–Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an empirically-supported intervention developed by Dr. Sheila Eyberg of the University of Florida for treatment of young children (2 to 7 years) with conduct problem behavior. The distinguishing feature of PCIT is that it focuses on improving the quality of the parent–child relationship by coaching parents in specific skills as they interact with their child.
There are two phases to the treatment program. In Child Directed Interaction (CDI), parents are coached in skills similar to those used by play therapists to establish a nurturing and secure relationship with their child. Goals of CDI include enhancing the child's self-esteem, promoting prosocial behavior in the child, and reducing the child's anger and frustration. In the second phase of treatment, Parent Directed Interaction (PDI), parents are coached in the use of behavior management techniques that promote child compliance and reduce aggressive and disruptive behaviors.
Throughout PCIT, parents receive immediate feedback in such areas as praising appropriate behavior, interacting at the child's developmental level, ignoring inappropriate behavior, giving good instructions, and teaching children to accept a timeout consequence.
PCIT originally was developed and evaluated for the treatment of disruptive behavior disorders in young children. A typical client would be a child between the ages of 2 and 7 years who is displaying defiance, aggression, temper tantrums, and hyperactivity. More recently, PCIT has been applied to a range of presenting problems including anxiety disorders, chronic pediatric illness, developmental disorders, and child maltreatment.
For further information, please see the PCIT Web site. In particular, please see the following article on that Web site:
Herschell, A. D., Calzada, E., Eyberg, S. M., & McNeil, C. B. (2002). Parent–child interaction therapy: New directions in research. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 9, 9–16.
Cheryl B. McNeil, PhD, is an associate professor of psychology in the Clinical Child program at West Virginia University. Her clinical and research interests are focused on program development and evaluation, specifically with regard to abusive parenting practices and managing the disruptive behaviors of young children in both the home and school settings. In addition to numerous research articles, Dr. McNeil has coauthored two books (Parent-Child Interaction Therapy and Short-Term Play Therapy for Disruptive Children), a continuing education package (Working with Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Children), and a classroom management program (The Tough Class Discipline Kit).
- Boggs, S. R., Eyberg, S. M., Edwards, D., Rayfield, A., Jacobs, J., Bagner, D., & Hood, K. (2004). Outcomes of parent–child interaction therapy: A comparison of dropouts and treatment completers one to three years after treatment. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 26(4), 1–22.
- Brestan, E. V., & Eyberg, S. M. (1998). Effective psychosocial treatments for children and adolescents with disruptive behavior disorders: 29 years, 82 studies, and 5272 kids. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 27, 179–188.
- Capage, L. C., Bennett, G. M., & McNeil, C. B. (2001). A comparison between African American and Caucasian children referred for treatment of disruptive behavior disorders. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 23, 1–14.
- Chaffin, M., Silovsky, J. F., Funderburk, B., Valle, L. A., Brestan, E. V., Balachova, T., et al. (2004). Parent–child interaction therapy with physically abusive parents: Efficacy for reducing future abuse reports. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, 500–510.
- Choate, M. L., Pincus, D. B., Eyberg, S. M., & Barlow, D. H. (2005). Parent–child interaction therapy for treatment of separation anxiety disorder in young children: A Pilot Study. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 12, 126–135.
- Eisenstadt, T. H., Eyberg, S., McNeil, C. B., Newcomb, K., & Funderburk, B. (1993). Parent–child interaction therapy with behavior problem children: Relative effectiveness of two stages and overall treatment outcome. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 22, 42–51.
- Eyberg, S. M. (1988). Parent–child interaction therapy: Integration of traditional and behavioral concerns. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 10, 33–46.
- Eyberg, S. M., Funderburk, B. W., Hembree-Kigin, T. L., McNeil, C. B., Querido, J. G., & Hood, K. (2001). Parent–child interaction therapy with behavior problem children: One and two year maintenance of treatment effects in the family. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 23, 1–20.
- Funderburk, B. W., Eyberg, S. M., Newcomb, K., McNeil, C., Hembree-Kigin, T., & Capage, L. (1998). Parent–child interaction therapy with behavior problem children: Maintenance of treatment effects in the school setting. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 20, 17–38.
- Gallagher, N. (2003). Effects of parent–child interaction therapy on young children with disruptive behavior disorders. Bridges Practice-Based Research Syntheses, 1, 1–17. Retrieved August 25, 2005, from http://www.evidencebasedpractices.org/bridges/bridges_vol1_no4.pdf
- Hembree-Kigin, T., & McNeil, C. (1995). Parent–child interaction therapy. New York: Plenum.
- Herschell, A., Calzada, E., Eyberg, S. M., & McNeil, C. B. (2002a). Parent–child interaction therapy: New directions in research. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 9, 9–16.
- Herschell, A., Calzada, E., Eyberg, S. M., & McNeil, C. B. (2002b). Clinical issues in parent–child interaction therapy: Clinical past and future. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 9,16–27.
- Herschell, A., & McNeil, C. B. (2005). Theoretical and empirical underpinnings of parent–child interaction therapy with child physical abuse populations. Education and Treatment of Children, 28, 142–162.
- Hood, K., & Eyberg, S. M. (2003). Outcomes of parent–child interaction therapy: Mothers' reports on maintenance three to six years after treatment. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 32, 419–429.
- McNeil, C. B., Capage, L. C., Bahl, A., & Blanc, H. (1999). Importance of early intervention for disruptive behavior problems: Comparison of treatment and waitlist-control groups. Early Education & Development, 10, 445–454.
- McNeil, C., Eyberg, S., Eisenstadt, T., Newcomb, K., & Funderburk, B. (1991). Parent–child interaction therapy with behavior problem children: Generalization of treatment effects to the school setting. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 20, 140–151.
- Schuhmann, E. M., Foote, R., Eyberg, S. M., Boggs, S., & Algina, J. (1998). Parent–child interaction therapy: Interim report of a randomized trial with short-term maintenance. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 27, 34–45.
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