Author(s): Neary EN, Eyeberg S
Disruptive behavior tends to worsen with time, but it can be treated effectively. Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT), an evidence-based treatment for preschoolers with disruptive behavior and their parents, focuses on changing ineffective parent-child interaction patterns. The first phase, focusing on child-directed interaction, strengthens the parent-child relationship, builds the child's self-esteem, and reinforces the child's prosocial behaviors. The second phase, focusing on parent-directed interaction, introduces parent management training. Treatment is guided by assessment and continues until parents master interaction skills and child behavior problems fall within the normal range. Emerging evidence suggests that treatment gains are maintained for several years posttreatment.