By Liann Smith, Washington State Parent Support Specialist & Encompass PCIT CoachLiann

Here is a mouthful — “Washington State PCIT Parent Support Specialist.” What does that mean? It is a certification that is 3 years in the making. In 2011, I had been practicing as a Parent coach for two years, using a very good curriculum, but I still had parents struggling with their child’s misbehaviors. As I researched more tools, I found Parent Child Interaction Training (PCIT). It is a set of parenting tools that increases emotional connection and control with a child and teaches parents how to set calm, predictable limits. Best of all, the parent is taught specific skills and then coached while they interact with their child in a playroom via an ear bud (the coach views the parent-child through a one -way viewing window).

To earn this certification, I engaged in the 40 hours of direct teaching from the University of Washington at Harborview medical Center. The next step was a one-year internship with monthly fellowship phone calls with our trainer. Next was submitting three DVD recordings demonstrating the coaching skills specific to PCIT and having a live observation with my trainer. Lastly, was an application process with PCIT International, meeting all the requirements to take the certification examination. On August 29th, 2014 I passed the PCIT International exam.

Why is this important for local families? It ensures a high quality of parent coaching. Although this process was rigorous, it was surely worth it. I learned to be precise with the tools of Parent Child Interaction Training. And the certification affirms PCIT as an evidenced-based practice, meaning there are specific assessments in place that guide the coach for predictable outcomes. The outcomes increase emotional connection between parent and child and decrease negative behaviors of the child. Simply put, families enjoy one another.

When families come to see me for the first time, I always explain to the child that I am their parent’s teacher. They always smile at this statement. I tell the child, “Your parents told me they don’t want to be good parents, they want to be GREAT parents.” With the tools of Parent Child Interaction Training, I truly do help parents be GREAT parents.

Here is a video outlining what the Encompass PCIT lab looks like, how the coach interacts with families and some of the tools you will learn if you engage with Parent Child Interaction Training. VIDEO — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unmxS2OYP2I 

Call 425.888.2777 for more information on how your family can participate in PCIT.

Click here for more information about PCIT International.

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