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Parenting SOS During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Parenting SOS During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Why Parent-Child Interaction Therapy is more Important than Ever.

Your parenting capabilities have never been tested as much as they are today during the Coronavirus pandemic. Your children have likely never experienced such disruption to their routine, limitations to their freedoms, and sheer antsiness. Given the fear, anxiety, and a variety of stressors, it is easy (and completely understandable) to feel helpless in the face of this challenge. This situation is uniquely challenging for parents of children with behavioral challenges and ADHD. Activities that tend to mitigate the behavioral challenges may no longer be accessible such as professional services, team sports, playgrounds, and play dates.

So many helpful articles have been written with suggestions on how to make the best of this situation including ways to entertain your children, manage their anxiety, and how to discuss the Coronavirus with them. For many, however, the behavioral issues are worsening and parent’s capacity to manage them effectively can be waning. Parents may feel like saying forget about it, let him have the box of cookies, let her jump off the furniture for now. Unfortunately, this is an approach that can be unhelpful at best, dangerous at worse.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the need for social distancing will likely be a matter of months rather than weeks. As such the approach to this challenge needs to be sustainable, effective, and feasible given the circumstances. It is for that reason, as we begin social distancing, I highly recommend internet- based Parent-Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT).

PCIT is the most researched and effective intervention for children ages 2-7 with disruptive behavioral issues. It works by empowering parents to be the therapeutic agent, equipped with useful and concrete skills. Beyond simply managing disruptive behaviors in children, PCIT takes a proactive approach in helping parents improve their relationship with their child – a relationship which is likely being tested and possibly suffering given the circumstances.

During the first of the two phases of treatment, parents learn to effectively manage challenging behaviors by shifting their focus from undesired behaviors to desirable ones, during “special time” play sessions and beyond. Parents are live coached by the therapist through a bluetooth earpiece, making learning the skills much easier.

While much of the behavioral issues are addressed in the first phase, parents are given additional tools to set and uphold limits consistently while regulating their own emotions in the process. These skills are crucial at a time when anxiety, frustration, and even anger are likely elevated in parents.

While traditionally, PCIT has been delivered in a customized suite with a 1-way mirror, research has shown that the treatment can be delivered remotely over the internet. Using a secure teletherapy platform, the therapist can view and hear the interactive special time while simultaneously coaching the parent via their cell phone.

Ever since being certified in PCIT by PCIT International, I have been delivering the treatment over the internet. Parents appreciated the convenience afforded by having the treatment delivered in their living room. I found the skills were best learned in the parent’s and child’s natural environment. I have seen how this treatment has transformed parents’ ability to improve their child’s behavior and bring harmony back to their home.

As you settle into the new normal, take the opportunity to approach this challenge with parenting skills that have been proven to work. Set your child and yourself up for success, and consider internet-based PCIT.

Dr. Elliot Kaminetzky

NYS Licensed Psychologist

My OCD Care

Dr. Kaminetzky specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety, OCD, and behavioral issues in children. He is certified in PCIT by PCIT International.

If you are interested in learning more about PCIT, go to

For PCIT trained providers who would like assistance delivering internet based PCIT, email me

If you live in New York State and you’re interested in seeing if internet PCIT is right for you, schedule a free consultation call or email

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