Parent-Child Interaction Therapy at the UNSW Parent-Child Research Clinic

What is PCIT?

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, or PCIT, is one of the most effective programs for managing oppositional and defiant behaviours in children 7 years and younger.  PCIT integrates attachment theory and behaviour modification techniques to help parents regain confidence in their ability to positively and effectively parent their child.

PCIT treatment is conducted with both the parent and child present. While the parent interacts with the child, PCIT specialists coach him/her using a bug-in-ear device to give real-time feedback from behind a one-way mirror. 

How does PCIT work?

There are two phases involved in PCIT. The first phase is called Child-Directed Interaction (CDI). In this phase, parents are coached to use play therapy skills with the child in order to improve the quality of the parent-child relationship and increase appropriate child behaviours.  

The second phase of treatment is called Parent-Directed Interaction (PDI), which aims to increase the child’s compliance. In this phase, parents are taught to give clear, effective commands and set appropriate limits to increase child compliance.

What are the benefits of PCIT?

Decades of research finds that PCIT improves children’s behaviour problems and parent’s skills, increases compliance, and improves overall family functioning. Parents who have completed PCIT report high levels of satisfaction with the program and greater confidence in managing their children’s behaviours. Learn more about PCIT at:

Is your child showing emotional and behavioural problems including?:

  • Temper tantrums
  • Noncompliance
  • Disobedience
  • Anger & irritability
  • Aggression towards people or animals

When a child displays these problems on most days for six months or more, professional intervention may be needed. Disruptive behaviours become harder to change the older a child gets so seeking help early is important.

Contact us


Phone: (02) 9385 0376

Lodge an enquiry online:

For more information, go to:

Eligibility & Intake Process

UNSW Parent-Child Research Clinic accepts children ages 7 and under with disruptive behaviours including temper tantrums, noncompliance, and aggressive or argumentative behaviour. The clinic specialises in working with families whose child shows limited empathy/remorse, and insensitivity to punishment. Interested families may also receive PCIT delivered face-to-face with an experienced therapist over the Internet.

A screening interview will be conducted over the phone in order to find out whether you and your child may be eligible for the treatment.

About Us

The UNSW Parent-Child Research Clinic is directed by Dr Eva R. Kimonis, Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at The University of New South Wales, and staffed by a large team of psychologists, postgraduate trainees and undergraduate students.

Dr Kimonis is an experienced clinical psychologist specialising in parent management training interventions, and specifically Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) for young children with disruptive behaviours. She is a certified PCIT provider and Level 1 trainer, as endorsed by PCIT International©. She has developed an enhanced version of PCIT for children with limited prosocial emotions (low empathy, poor motivation, insensitivity to punishment) who are at risk for severe, persistent, and aggressive antisocial behaviour.