Session notes on CDI

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy -- Parent-Child Interaction Therapy - Child-Directed Interaction - Session notes on CDI

I thought I’d share the notes I took during an early therapy session where we started learning about Child-Directed Interaction.

Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

Helping the non-compliant child – (reference book)

(“parenting the strong-willed child” is the subtitle I believe)

Child-Directed interaction is similar to play therapy and is the first step of PCIT.

Things to do during CDI:

  • Behavioral description (sportscaster play-by-play, start with “you”, connect to present activity)
  • Reflection (reinforce and rephrase)
  • Labeled praise (praise specifics)
  • Imitate (do the things they do which are appropriate)


  • Commands (direct or indirect)
  • Questions (these take the initiative from the child – you are along for the ride)
  • Critical statements (this includes sarcasm)

Dealing with misbehavior during CDI:

  • Ignore anything that is not dangerous or destructive (don’t smile, frown, or react in other ways).
  • Stop your do’s.
  • Praise as soon as they act appropriately.
  • Stop the play for destructive or aggressive behavior.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Have specific toys that are for CDI
  • Have a specific place (like the kitchen table)
  • Have a regular time

Transfer to Parent-Directed Interaction (PDI) once 5 minutes of CDI produces 10 behavioral descriptions, 10 reflections, and 10 labeled praises and no more than a total of 3 questions, criticisms, and critical statements.

Look for the book 1-2-3 Magic

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About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.

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