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Parent-Child Interaction Therapy with Toddlers (PCIT-T)

What is PCIT-T?

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy with Toddlers, or PCIT-T, is an adaptation to PCIT that aims to meet the unique developmental needs of toddlers ages 12 to 24 months presenting with behavioral concerns. It can be used for toddlers slightly older or younger based on a child's development. PCIT-T focuses on areas of social and emotional development, including emotion regulation, behavior management, teaching listening skills, and promoting language. Treatment has been successful for a variety of concerns such as tantrums, separation anxiety, and language issues.

Since we know that children learn best through play, the entire intervention takes place in play-based  interactions between the parent and their toddler. You and your toddler will be in a playroom while the therapist is in an observation room watching you interact with your toddler through a one-way mirror. You wear a "bug-in-the-ear" device through which the therapist provides in-the-moment coaching on skills you are learning to respond to your child when they become emotionally dysregulated and to manage their behaviors.


PCIT-T is done across two treatment phases. The first phase of treatment focuses on establishing warmth in your relationship with your toddler, promotes positive child behaviors and emotion regulation, and helps caregivers manage their child's big emotions in many settings. During the second phase of treatment caregivers encourage language development as well as learn how to teach listening skills to their toddler through Tell-Show-Try Again-Guide.

With consistent attendance and homework completion, PCIT-T can be completed within 12-18 sessions, though treatment is not time-limited. Unlike PCIT, PCIT-T sessions occur twice per week due to toddler's short recall. Treatment is considered complete when you have mastered both sets of skills and rate your child's behavior within normal limits on a behavior rating scale.

Goals of PCIT-T:

- Increased positivity and warmth in parent-child relationship

- Improved parent sensitivity to their child's needs

- Improved caregiver capacity to support their toddler's emotion regulation

- Improved child behavior

- Improved quality of parent-child relationship
- Improved toddler's ability to regulate their emotions

- Decreased parent stress levels

- Improved developmental understanding of their child and his or her behavior

- Increased compliance

Is It Right For You?

- Do you have a toddler between the ages of 12 to 24 months old?

- Do you want to develop a sensitive and supportive parenting relationship with your toddler?

- Do you wonder how to help your toddler regulate their emotions and behaviors?

- Is your toddler displaying some or all of the following concerns?
     - Tantrums

     - Aggression (hitting, biting, pinching)

     - Fussiness (screaming, whining, crying)

     - Anger, frustration, head banging

     - Attachment difficulties (rejection of parent, difficult to comfort) 

     - Separation anxiety from parent

     - Withdrawal from parent

     - Developmental concerns (such as autistic behaviors, language problems)

     - Parental stress (anxiety, dissatisfaction, difficulty coping, lack of confidence, post partum depression)

     - History of child abuse or neglect

If you answered yes to any of these questions, please contact me to see if PCIT-T is right for you and your toddler. 

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