Therapists in Region 8 learning new counseling method for disruptive children

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Fifteen therapists from 12 Arkansas counties are in Jonesboro to learn a new counseling technique for emotionally and behaviorally disruptive children.

The method is called Parent Child Interaction Therapy.

"Some people call it the bug in the ear model because parents are coached through a one way mirror and they wear special technology where they can hear a coach, the therapist who is on the other side of the mirror, who is actually watching the session and coaching the parent," said Mid-South Health Systems therapist Kimberly Whitman.

Whitman said the PCIT model is different from traditional therapy sessions, but one of the most effective in helping two to seven-year-old children with aggressive behavior, adjustment problems, "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, anxiety (or) depression."

"They are either in trouble at school or they give their parents trouble at home or both."

Dena Henderson came from the Mid-South Health Systems Wynne office for the training week.

"When you're asking your parents to participate in this training you can actually explain this is something you've had to do personally," she said. "I've had to personally be the parent and feel the awkwardness and the pressure, and maybe a little bit of the anxiety of being watched, observed, and then being coached on how to implement these skills."

PCIT has a proven track record in successfully helping children who have been abused, neglected, in foster care, recently adopted or reunited with their biological parents, according to Whitman.

The program requires a 12-14 week commitment and five to 10 minutes of daily homework.

"The most important part of all is parents practice at home for five minutes every night and then they come back the next week and we continue to coach them and they continue to build their skills,"Whitman said.

For more information about PCIT contact Kimberly Whitman at (870) 972-4984 or

Click here for more information about Mid-South Health Systems.

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