When all attempts at progress either backfire or have no discernible effect its time to seek further insight and experience. Such has been the case for us recently as we have found it impossible with only the expertise of ourselves and our families to address the unacceptable behaviors that have been grinding upon the life of one of our children and by extension adding tension and discomfort in the lives of everyone else in the family. Our first visit with the therapist introduced a very hopeful path for us called Parent-Child Interaction Therapy. After the visit I started doing some research to find out what else I could learn about this therapy. What I found was that virtually all the information available was directed at a clinical audience – in other words it was all textbooks for therapists and those studying to become therapists. Besides that, I also learned as I talked with our therapist at the next visit about what I had found, that much of the information that is available is either inaccurate or simply out of date. She said that it seems that those with experience with PCIT have little interest in making information available to a lay audience because the information is most valuable when professional coaching is being given to the parents as they implement the principles of PCIT. While I have no expectation that parents without the help of a trained therapist would be able to get the full benefits of PCIT, I also believe that parents who are hearing about this and wondering if it really is useful for their situation, or perhaps parents like us before we met with our therapist who recognize a problem like ours but have no idea what might finally give them the breakthrough they need, should have more information available that is geared towards them which would provide an overview of the therapy. Because of that I have determined to take notes of our journey through PCIT and write publicly about this little adventure.
Right now we are right at the beginning so, by way of introduction, let me share one already published resource that those who are interested may seek out. When I talked to our therapist about the lack of information she directed me to seek out the book Parenting the Strong-Willed Child. She explained that it was a companion to the clinical book Helping the Noncompliant Child which addresses Oppositional Behavior. While that is not exactly our issue it is somewhat similar and the book is geared towards parents which is better than anything we have been able to find on PCIT.
While I intend to share this in a way that is hopefully useful for anyone who is exploring, considering, or experiencing PCIT, I also want to share it in a personal way, rather than from some sterile, theoretical but parent-targeted perspective. That leaves me trying to figure out exactly where to share details and where to stick to generalities. In the spirit of that balancing act, let me just start by saying that I won’t be sharing the name of our therapist unless at some point I get her permission to do so. For purposes of comparison by those who might be exploring this type of therapy let me say that PCIT is geared towards children between the ages of 2 and 9. We currently have four children in that age range and while we are doing this therapy for a specific child I can already see principles and skills in the therapy that will prove useful in dealing with others of our children as well.