Most every parent has experienced a young child’s occasional temper tantrum, but when meltdowns, testing limits, throwing things, hitting, and shoving begin to make life impossible, it’s time for an intervention.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) can be just the ticket. It’s a short-term treatment that has consistently worked wonders in this country and abroad for more than 30 years. Soon, PCIT will be available to Delaware Guidance Services clients statewide.

Tiffany Jester, DGS Chief Clinical Officer, is certified by PCIT International to train staff members and leading the effort to make this option available to clients in all parts of Delaware by training clinicians in key concepts and skills.

“PCIT is different because it uses live coaching (for parents) and because it is the only evidenced-based practice in which the parent and child are treated together” explained Tiffany. “PCIT changes behaviors of both parent and child. Parents get more effective parenting skills, children’s behavior improves, and together they have a better relationship.”

Typically for children aged two to eight with moderate to severe behavioral problems, the live coaching in PCIT happens while parents are playing with their child. Sitting behind a one-way mirror, a therapist coaches the parent through an audio device and guides him or her to reinforce their child’s positive behavior. It’s during these playtimes that parents learn valuable skills such as labeling praise (“You drew a pretty tree!”), reflecting (“You’re having fun playing with cars.”), imitating ( “I’m drawing a house, just like you.”), and more.

Beyond this, parents learn a consistent approach to discipline—giving clear, direct commands with consistent rewards and consequences.
Check out the highlights from a PCIT client’s testimonial to see just how much this approach can improve a parent-child relationship.