Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

mom and daughter

What is PCIT?PCIT is a short-term, specialized behavior management program designed for young children experiencing behavioral and/or emotional difficulties and their families. PCIT teaches caregivers to manage their child’s difficult behaviors while increasing their positive behaviors. PCIT works with the child and caregivers together to improve behavior and reduce parenting stress.

Who is PCIT for?Jackson County Mental Health offers three different PCIT programs:

PCIT-Toddlers: Children 12-24 months old, with age developmentally adjusted. The main goal is to improve attachment and
emotional regulation:

  • Big emotions (commonly described by caregivers as “tantrums”): hitting, biting, pinching
  • Fussiness: whining, crying, screaming
  • Anger/frustration/head banging
  • Attachment challenges: rejection of caregiver, difficult to comfort/console
  • Separation anxiety
  • History of child abuse or neglect
  • Developmental concerns such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, language problems
  • Parental stress such as anxiety, post-partum depression, difficult attachment to the child
Standard PCIT: Children ages 2.5-6.5 years of age who may display the following:

  • Anxiety or depression
  • History of trauma
  • Easy loss of temper, tantrums
  • Not listening, oppositional and/or defiant behavior
  • Aggressive behavior towards self or others
  • Challenging behavior in the classroom or daycare such as difficulty staying seated, playing quietly or taking turns
  • Parent-child relationship problems
  • Purposeful annoyance of others
  • Destruction of property
PCIT-Older Child for children: Children ages 7-10 years old, who may display challenging behaviors similar to those presented by younger children; however, this is adapted to meet the developmental needs of older children.

Who are the appropriate caregivers for PCIT?
  • Biological Parents
  • Foster/Resource Parents
  • Adoptive Parents
  • Legal Guardians
  • Grandparents
  • Kinship Caregivers
How It Works
Families may call Jackson County Mental Health to start the process, or they may be referred by the child’s pediatrician or primary care provider, schoolteacher, daycare provider, or any agency working with them. PCIT is a trauma-informed practice that begins with a mental health assessment to ensure that it is a good fit for the family. PCIT requires weekly appointments and five minutes of daily home practice, and it can be successfully completed in 18-24 weeks on average.

PCIT is also available in Spanish and provided by two native Spanish speakers.


Jackson County Mental Health
Business & Scheduling Line: 541-774-3333