Space and Room Set Up


Parent Child Interaction Therapy – Rooms and Clinical Space.  The typical set-up for a room or clinical space appropriate for Parent Child Interaction Therapy includes three adjacent rooms (therapy room, observation room, and time-out room).  The therapy room is for the parent and child to play and interact in, while the observation room is used for the therapist to watch the parent and the child and coach the parent as they interact with their child. The time-out room is used as a back-up consequence to the time-out chair during the second phase of treatment only.


Parent Child Interaction Therapy - Kid looking through donuts

Therapy Room

A striped down/empty therapy or clinical room should be used consisting of only the following:

  • An adult sized table and chairs
  • Sturdy adult-sized time-out chair
  • Three to four appropriate toys (not all toys are appropriate for PCIT)


Observation Room

  • A one-way mirror (shatter-resistant or unbreakable material)
  • A sound system (microphone and amplifier)
    • This is needed for the therapist to hear the interaction between the caregiver and child while in the observation room
  • Bug-in-the-ear device or some sort of hearing system
    • The therapist will need to be able to communicate with the parent through a microphone and earpiece device
  • Timer
    • Therapist will need to time parent-child observation and coaching time every session
  • Video recording device (e.g., camcorder, iPad)
    • In order to become a certified therapist after receiving the initial training – therapists are required to record and submit a minimum of four sessions with actual clients for trainer to review and provide feedback

Time-out Room

A back-up/time-out room is highly recommended but not required to conduct PCIT

  • Ideally, the room is about 4 by 6 feet – no smaller than 4 by 4 and no larger than a small office
  • Must have adequate light
  • Recommend having a half door that is approximately 5 feet and a safety glass window so the child is visible
  • If a barrier room (or “time out” room) is not feasible for your agency, consider the use of a “swoop and go” room where the treatment room becomes the barrier room. The caregiver leaves the treatment room with the toys and the child remains in the treatment room. Additional details provided during on-site trainings
  • For more information about Time-Out Rooms, please contact us.