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  • Katie Smith, LCSW

The power of the Parent Directed Interaction (PDI) Phase in PCIT - Katie Smith, LCSW

At the beginning of PCIT, caregivers often come in with a laundry list of complaints about their child's challenging behaviors. Additionally, caregivers may present an even longer list of parenting techniques that have failed to work. During PCIT, some caregivers may wish to rush through CDI, eagerly anticipating that the second phase of PCIT (the Parent-Directed interaction Phase) is going to solve all behavioral concerns. However, that is not what PDI (and PCIT) is about.

As Kelly Kincaid mentioned in her CDI post, the CDI Phase builds a solid foundation of positive parenting skills that are specially designed to enhance the parent-child relationship. The PDI phase continues to build and strengthen the caregiver-child relationship without empty threats, corporal punishment, or a dictatorship household. The PDI Phase teaches caregivers how to effectively give commands, address the few remaining problems left over from the CDI Phase, and instills confidence in caregivers' ability to use PCIT skills outside of the clinic in their day-to-day lives.


Remember when you were growing up and your parent told you do something that you really didn’t want to do? Then when you didn’t listen, they pulled out your full le