PCIT Therapy:
Frequently Asked Questions

Kid smiling with question marks and a light bulb behind him

Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) by caregivers. The list below represents the most commonly asked questions about PCIT therapy. However, the following questions/answers may not address your specific questions.

If you have a PCIT therapist, we encourage you to ask questions during every session. If you do not have a PCIT provider, and you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to call or email. We are happy to help!

Common PCIT Therapy Questions

What is Parent Child Interaction Therapy?

Parent Child Interaction Therapy (or PCIT) is a short-term, specialized treatment for children 2-7 years of age with emotional and behavioral challenges. Please visit our PCIT for Families page for more detailed information about Parent Child Interaction Therapy.

 

How do I know if PCIT is the right fit for my child or family?

You obviously know your child (and family) best. Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) might be a great fit for your family if your child is having significant difficulties with any of the following emotional or behavioral challenges:

  • Frequent temper tantrums

  • Defiance - refusing to follow directions

  • Verbal and/or physical aggression

  • Destruction of toys and/or family belongings

  • Backtalk or sassing adults

  • Whining or crying for no apparent reason

  • Constantly seeking attention

  • Hyperactivity

  • Interrupting others

  • Short attention span

  • Difficulty with behaviors at school, preschool, and/or daycare

 

Where can I find a PCIT therapist?

Click here to see a comprehensive map of Certified PCIT Therapists from around the world. To find a PCIT therapist near you, click on the state-searchable PCIT Therapist List for the United States, or our International PCIT Therapist List to find PCIT clinicians from around the globe. 

 

How long does PCIT therapy take?

The average length of PCIT therapy is 14-16 sessions, with PCIT services most frequently delivered once per week (60-minute weekly sessions). Some families complete PCIT therapy in less than 12 sessions, while other families take more than 20 sessions to meet treatment graduation requirements. 

 

Is PCIT covered by insurance?

Medicaid and most private insurance companies cover PCIT as family or individual therapy. Please consult with your PCIT therapist for more details.

 

How much does PCIT therapy cost?

The average cost of PCIT therapy is $150 per session, but the cost of therapy varies across treatment providers. PCIT therapy is covered by Medicaid and most private insurance companies. Please consult with your PCIT therapist for more details.

 

How is PCIT different from other therapies?

Before starting PCIT therapy, caregivers are often frustrated and stressed because they have taken their child to therapy before with limited success. Caregivers have also received advice from a wide range of sources (family, friends, coworkers) that has not been helpful.

PCIT is different from other therapies in many ways including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Both the child and caregiver(s) are present throughout the session (not just at the beginning and end of the session)

    • Research has consistently demonstrated that treatment is most effective when parents and children participate together.

  • Caregivers learn, practice, and master behavior management skills

    • PCIT is a skill-based, family therapy where caregivers (not the therapist) utilize behavior management strategies with their children which significantly improves long-term success. 

  • Live coaching of behavior management skills

    • PCIT therapists provide immediate, positive feedback to help caregivers manage behavior problems in the moment (rather than saying "Next time that happens, try this").

  • Short-term, evidence-based treatment

    • The average length of PCIT therapy is 14-16 sessions.