Parent–Child Interaction Therapy for Preschool Children with Conduct Problems

  • Sheila M. Eyberg
  • Regina Bussing


This chapter describes Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), an evidence-based treatment for preschool children with conduct-disordered behavior and their parents (Eyberg, Nelson, & Boggs, 2008). Originally developed for children with severely disruptive behavior, PCIT has also been used for the treatment of behavior problems associated with children’s medical, developmental, and neurological disorders and internalizing disorders such as separation anxiety as well as the treatment of parental physical abuse and neglect (Bagner & Eyberg, 2007; Chaffin et al., 2004, Choate, Pincus, Eyberg, & Barlow, 2005). Although parent training for young children with conduct disorders has historically focused on either relationship enhancement (e.g., Guerney, 1964) or behavior change (e.g., Patterson, 1974), PCIT integrates these approaches by teaching parents to establish a nurturing relationship while increasing their child’s prosocial behavior and decreasing conduct-disordered behaviors. PCIT seeks to effect behavior change in both participants in the parent–child relationship, and it does so through assessment-based teaching and live coaching techniques, supplemented by targeted homework assignments and systematic skill generalization. Treatment completion is dependent on parenting skill mastery and normalization of child behavior. Parents progress through two phases of treatment, first learning a child-directed interaction (CDI) and then incorporating a parent-directed interaction (PDI). The CDI focuses on parent–child bonding, positive parenting skills, and child social skills enhancement, whereas the PDI focuses on parental discipline skills and reduction of child conduct problems.


Disruptive Behavior Separation Anxiety Disorder Parent Child Interaction Therapy Separation Anxiety Disorder Authoritative Parenting Style 
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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheila M. Eyberg
    • 1
  • Regina Bussing
    • 1
  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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