What is PCIT?

PCIT at Lukin Center: Proven Strategies for Tough Behaviors

Improve family dynamics between parents and children.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) helps parents and caregivers learn to successfully address behavior issues in young children ages 2-7. The practice involves family sessions where you interact with your child in a playroom setting while your Lukin Center therapist observes and coaches.

PCIT helps parents of young children improve parenting techniques, reduce behavior issues, and strengthen family bonds.

Lukin Center is one of the only treatment centers in Northern New Jersey to offer PCIT. Whether your child is dealing with anxiety, adjusting to an autism or ADHD diagnosis, healing from trauma, or simply exhibiting challenging behaviors, we find that any family can benefit from positive PCIT strategies. PCIT is an effective, proven method for helping kids accept limits, respect family rules, follow directions, and behave appropriately in public.

PCIT at a Glance

  • Parent-Child Interaction Therapy
  • Family-centered therapeutic intervention
  • Effective for children 2-7 years old
  • Therapist observes and coaches parent-child interactions in real time
  • Strengthens relationships between parent and child
  • Establishes positive parenting strategies and techniques
Mother and young child work together using Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

PCIT helps parents learn new skills for dealing with challenging child behaviors.

What Can You Expect from PCIT at Lukin Center? 

In a PCIT session, you and your child will interact while your Lukin Center therapist observes you, usually by phone or online connection. As you play together, you’ll receive real-time guidance from your therapist that can help shape your communication in the moment and in the future.. 

This “hidden observer” format gives you an opportunity to practice new dynamics and behaviors with in-the-moment guidance. Together, you’ll try new ways of communicating (both verbally and nonverbally) and learn proven strategies for reducing negative behaviors through positive interactions. 

PCIT is typically divided into two phases: the first phase focuses on helping kids feel secure and confident within the parent-child relationship. The second phase of PCIT teaches you to manage challenging behaviors with consistent, calm discipline. 

Like many other types of therapy, your Lukin Center therapist might assign homework between sessions, or ask you to keep a log of behaviors, feelings, and events. Your therapist will help you track behaviors and chart your family’s progress over time. 

There is no set duration for PCIT treatment; you and your therapist will determine when your goals have been met. Most families complete PCIT in 10-20 sessions. 

Want to see how PCIT works? Watch this demonstration or this interview with Dr. Lukin.

Is PCIT Right for You? 

At Lukin Center, we know PCIT to be an effective, proven intervention for strengthening the relationship between parents and children. Your Lukin Center therapist might suggest PCIT techniques to help you and your child deal with:​

  • Aggression (Physical and Verbal)
  • Non-compliance
  • Short Temper/ Frequent Outbursts
  • Defiance
  • Foster and Adoptive Family Difficulties
  • Negative Attention-seeking
  • Communication Difficulty

You’re in Great Hands Here

When it comes to family interventions, it’s important to find an experienced therapist both you and your child feel safe and comfortable working with. With PCIT in particular, it’s important to work with someone who is specifically trained and licensed by PCIT International.

Lukin Center is one of the only psychotherapy practices in New Jersey with PCIT certified therapists on staff. Like all of our clinicians, our PCIT professionals are dedicated to ongoing training and education to make sure you get the best treatment experience possible.