Ten to fifteen percent of children ages two to seven exhibit significant problems with disruptive behavior (e.g. defiance or aggression). Rates of disruptive behavior are even higher among children with a variety of risk factors (e.g. maltreatment, changes in caregivers, and/or in utero exposure to substances) or among children with other disorders (e.g. attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disability, or autism spectrum disorders).

Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) is an evidence-based intervention developed by Sheila Eyberg, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Florida, to reduce disruptive behavior. Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) works with parents and children together to promote a positive parent-child relationship while decreasing the child’s behavior problems. Adaptations of parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) have been used to address depression, separation anxiety disorder, and autism spectrum disorders in young children.

A modification of PCIT, Integration of Working Models of Attachment into Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (IoWA-PCIT), was developed by Beth Troutman, PhD, clinical professor at the University of Iowa. IoWA-PCIT maintains the core defining features of PCIT while integrating findings from attachment theory research into the delivery of PCIT.  

The training and research program for parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) at the University of Iowa strives to improve access to parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT). Our goal is for the families of young children exhibiting behavioral and emotional problems to be able to obtain effective interventions in their local communities.