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Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a form of psychotherapy for children ages 2-7 and their caregivers. It uses a unique combination of behavioral therapy, play therapy, and parent training to teach more effective discipline techniques and improve the parent-child relationship.It is appropriate where parent child relations have broken down, where parent child interaction is poor or where parent child communication is problematic.

Stages of PCIT

PCIT is divided into two stages: relationship development (Child-Directed Interaction) and discipline training (Parent-Directed Interaction).

Child-Directed Interaction

The Child-Directed Interaction portion of PCIT aims to develop a loving and nurturing bond between the parent and child through a form of play therapy. Parents are taught a list of "Dos" and "Don'ts" to use while interacting with their child. They will use these skills during a daily play period called Special Play Time.


Parents are taught an acronym of skills to use during Special Play Time with their children. This acronym varies from therapist to therapist, but is generally either "DRIP" or "PRIDE." DRIP stands for the following:

D - Describe R - Reflect I - Imitate P - Praise

Likewise, PRIDE stands for the following:

P - Praise R - Reflect I - Imitate D - Describe E - Enthusiasm

These acronyms are reminders that parents should describe the actions of their child, reflect upon what their child says, imitate the play of their child, praise their child's positive actions, and remain enthusiastic throughout Special Play Time.

Parent-Directed Interaction

The Parent-Directed Interaction portion of PCIT aims to teach the parent more effective means of disiplining their child through a form of play therapy and behavioral therapy.

See also

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