Cracking the Code on Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

I have spent several weeks working as a Clinical Research Intern at Friendship House in Scranton. My duties included harvesting data from archival records while observing Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). I have learned so much from this wonderful experience.

PCIT is a therapy for children with behavioral problems that focuses on coaching the parent to deal with the behavioral issues. The therapy format is fascinating – the therapist sits behind a two-way mirror and coaches the parent through a microphone that feeds straight into the parent’s ear. I was fortunate to watch the therapy and sat right alongside the therapist and observed. I was able to ask lots of questions, and the therapists I worked with were extraordinary.

The most rewarding part of the experience was seeing the same clients almost every week and seeing how they improved drastically. It is such a rewarding feeling to see parents master skills that they struggled with previously. I was fortunate to see the effectiveness of PCIT in this practical manner.

The most challenging thing about the experience was dealing with no-shows. No-shows are common in community mental health centers and generally affect a client’s course. Thanks to the format of my experience, I could utilize the time advantageously by harvesting data. The data collected will be used to complete the quantitative section of my University Honors Program research project. My project will be related to no-shows and dropouts – seeing it in the practical sense is critical so that I can understand and relate to the project.

The Royal Experience was a fantastic opportunity, and I am perpetually grateful to the Center for Career Development and the Psychology Department for granting me this exceptional opportunity.


Jack Burke, Psychology ’25

5 Replies to “Cracking the Code on Parent-Child Interaction Therapy”

  1. Hi Jack! I also found this therapy format very fascinating as well. I think it is awesome that you got to sit in on these therapy conversations and listen in to what the client and therapist had to say. There is no better way to learn than watching a professional do it. I am glad you had this opportunity this summer to intern for the Friendship House and I hope the knowledge you gained from this will help you throughout your career!

  2. Hi Jack!

    Your experiences at the Friendship House sound very fascinating. It is cool that you had the opportunity to directly work with the therapists. I am glad that you had such a positive experience as a Clinical Research Intern!

  3. Hi Jack! This experience sounds like an extraordinary thing for you and your studies. It is cool that you were able to work with the same clients every week and to build those relationships with these people. I agree that it is extremely rewarding to see these people grow!

  4. Hey Jack!
    I love how this internship with Friendship House and working with PCIT is super interactive. You get to develop relationships with therapists and at the same time meet with clients. I find it so cool that you get to be there and see the coaching that is being done. I feel like there is no better way to fully understand any field until you get involved with that moment.

  5. Hello, Jack!

    It is awesome to hear how this internship impacted your understanding of children behaviors and parental interactions. Having the opportunity to observe and participate in the therapy sessions must have been an eye-opening experience that furthered your knowledge of mental health. It is also great that this has allowed you to have a framework for your Honors project research. Your passion to help children navigate their thoughts and emotions is truly admirable.

    What were some important skills that you developed from this experience, and how will they be used for your future career? What did harvesting data for research entail? Has this experience further confirmed your intended career goals after college? It was great learning about your experience, and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

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