Parent–Child Interaction Therapy for Military Families: Improving Relationships

  • Robin H. GurwitchEmail author
  • Erica Pearl Messer


The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been fought for more than a decade. During this time, approximately two million children have been impacted by parental deployment(s). The majority of these children are under 8 years of age. Stressors are present during all phases of deployment, with effects seen in all members of the family. Young children often display more challenging behaviors across multiple settings. When parents return home, reconnecting with their children may be difficult and stress in the marital relationship is common. An increase in child maltreatment has been reported in military families. Many of the challenges facing military families are similar to those successfully addressed in civilian families with parent–child interaction therapy (PCIT). The adaptation of PCIT for military families includes a review of the literature related to families with young children coping with deployment, PCIT Teach sessions, which incorporate military examples and experiences, and coaching with statements and relevance to military families. This PCIT adaptation is being implemented successfully on several bases in the United States.


Parent–Child Interaction Therapy Military families Deployment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesDuke University Medical Center and the Center for Child and Family HealthDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy FamiliesCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA

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