Parent – Child Interaction Therapy


The COE offers training in PCIT to agencies that provide services to children in or at high risk of state custody. PCIT is a behavioral family intervention for children 3-7 years of age with disruptive behavior disorders.  It has been identified as a best practice for physically abusive parents.  Developed by Sheila Eyberg at the University of Florida, PCIT integrates concepts from social learning theory, traditional play therapy, and attachment theory to enhance the parent-child relationship, increase children's pro-social behaviors, and increase parents' behavior management skills.  The program is implemented in two phases: The fist phase is the Child Directed Interaction (CDI) phase during which parents develop child-centered interaction skills.  The second phase is the Parent-Directed Interaction (PDI) phase during which effective discipline skills are the focus.

The ETSU COE has partnered with Frontier Children's Outpatient Services in a training project to directly train community mental health providers in PCIT.  The children identified to receive the services during the training are children identified through DCS.  John Paul Abner, Ph.D. is the ETSU COE PCIT Training Director.  Dr. Abner has 20 years experience providing PCIT and was directly trained under Dr. Eyberg.  He is a member of PCIT International Advisory Board and is the Chair of the PCIT International Committee on Training.

Location of the PCIT therapist: Watauga Behavioral Health Services in Johnson City; Holston Children & Youth Services in Kingsport; Nolachuckey-Holston Area Mental Health Center in Greeneville; Bristol Regional Counseling Center in Bristol; and Charlotte Taylor Center in Elizabethton.