College of Science and Health | DePaul University > About > Centers & Institutes > DePaul Family and Community Services > Services > Services Offered > Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a time-limited, specialized behavior management program designed for young children experiencing behavioral and/or emotional difficulties and their families.  PCIT works with the child and caregivers together to improve overall behavior and to reduce parenting stress.

Goals of PCIT

  • Improve parent/caregiver-child relationships
  • Improve children's minding and listening
  • Increase children's abilities to manage frustration and anger
  • Increase children's appropriate social skills
  • Improve children's attention skills
  • Build children's self-esteem

Deciding if PCIT is right for your child

PCIT is designed for young children between the ages of two and seven years.

PCIT has been successful with:

  • Children with oppositional/defiant problems
  • Children with aggressive behaviors
  • Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Children experiencing adjustment problems

PCIT requires a 12-20 week commitment by the parent/caregiver and child with one session per week.

Benefits of PCIT

Children with challenging behaviors often have difficulty in home, childcare, and school settings. Parents/caregivers report problems going out in public such as to stores and restaurants. Stress levels are high for the parents/caregivers and also between them and their children. Unfortunately, children rarely outgrow many of the difficult behaviors. Should their behaviors continue or increase, they are likely to interfere with the children's learning abilities and development of appropriate social skills.

The overall effectiveness of PCIT has been well-established through scientific research. Positive changes in the children's behaviors have been seen in home, school, and childcare settings. These changes have even been noted in siblings of children participating in PCIT. At the completion of PCIT, parents/caregivers generally report a high level of satisfaction and decreased stress levels.

Referrals and Information

For more information about PCIT, please contact DePaul Family and Community Services at (773) 325-7780. 

The PCIT program is located within DePaul Family and Children Services on the 3rd floor of Byrne Hall, 2219 N. Kenmore Ave. (corner of Kenmore and Webster Avenues) on DePaul University's Lincoln Park Campus in Chicago.


PCIT Chicago