Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

For children ages 2 - 7

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an evidence-based dyadic treatment for families with children ages 2 to 7 who are exhibiting disruptive or challenging behaviors.

When to Refer a Child to PCIT

Consider referring to PCIT when a child is displaying any of the following:

  • Challenging behaviors
  • Disruptive behaviors
  • To help with parental stress, frustration, or skills

Find a PCIT Provider

Locate a PCIT provider in our PCIT Provider directory in your area that you can refer a family to.

Find a PCIT Provider

What Happens During PCIT

During PCIT sessions, the clinician actively coaches the parent on behavioral management techniques that help their child feel more secure.

  • The first phase of treatment – Child-Directed Interaction (CDI). Parents learn special play therapy skills to use while interacting with their child. 
  • The second phase of treatment – Parent-Directed Interaction (PDI). Parents learn a discipline protocol that helps their child to follow directions through simple, clear instructions and immediate consequences for compliance and non-compliance. 


  • PCIT is the preferred treatment method for young children who have other disorders with behavioral and/or attachment concerns.
  • PCIT is rated highly on California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse and Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse.
  • Over 400 studies nationwide on PCIT with children who have been maltreated or at risk, have experienced serious physical abuse, have serious mental health needs, and in ethnic minority populations.
  • PCIT has been shown to significantly reduce behavioral problems at home and at school.
  • PCIT has been found effective with physically abusive parents.


We train using the IoWA-PCIT model of PCIT. IoWA-PCIT can be utilized with families of young children with behavioral and/or attachment concerns, including children who have experienced attachment disruptions from trauma and/or loss. IoWA-PCIT integrates findings from attachment research into PCIT while maintaining the core defining features of PCIT. Both IoWA-PCIT and CPP are preferred treatment modalities for children in the child welfare system and other children with trauma histories.

NRPVYC also supports PCIT International training

In partnership with Dr. Lynne Clure of Children’s Nebraska, we also support the PCIT International model of PCIT through training recruitment and management support. Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a specialized therapeutic approach that teaches effective parenting skills through the use of live coaching. Therapist training gives clinicians an effective, evidence-based treatment to work with families who have young children (ages 2-7) with primary or secondary externalizing behavior problems. It also has strong research support for reducing rates of child maltreatment, and has been used extensively with children with histories of trauma and children with developmental delays, including Autism. PCIT International has an internationally-recognized certification program to promote effective dissemination of PCIT nationally and internationally.

PCIT Resources

Find guides, brochures, and videos on PCIT to support your work in serving young children across Nebraska.

View Other ECMH Resources

PCIT Informational Overview Webinars 

A free one-hour webinar to learn more about PCIT treatment:

  • Understand the general underlying theory of PCIT and the IoWA-PCIT model
  • Identifying children and families who would benefit from PCIT
  • Referral process and how to access PCIT providers in Nebraska

Become a PCIT Provider

You can become trained to provide Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) in your clinical practice.

View PCIT Training Information

Explore Other Available ECMH Services

Find information on the other evidence-based ECMH services in Nebraska.

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