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Building Blocks (PCIT)

A young girl pointing a crayon at her drawingBuilding Blocks is a Florida Tech School of Psychology research training clinic located at The Scott Center. Building Blocks’ mission is to build healthier and stronger families through the implementation of Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). The Clinical team provides services to diverse families with children between the ages of 3-7 who are experiencing child behavior problems. Building Blocks provides PCIT services for families either individually or in a weekly parents group, as well as provides a school based intervention through Teacher Child Interaction Therapy (TCIT).  PCIT is an evidence-based therapeutic modality used to treat children with behavior problems by teaching parents specific skills to establish a secure relationship with their child while increasing their child’s pro-social behavior and decreasing negative behavior. Additionally, parents learn to implement a discipline strategy suitable for successfully managing the most difficult child behaviors. Bringing the child and caregiver together in treatment strengthens relational bonds and has rippling effects on the overall quality of life for the entire family. Other clinical components of the PCIT program offers clinical training in treating marital and other family relationship issues to foster families working well together to provide an adaptive environment for raising well-functioning children.  Similarly, the TCIT program works with teachers in developing specialized pro-social skills that foster more structured and easily run classrooms to facilitate better learning by improving children’s behaviors, while also serving to improve their overall academic performance.  The TCIT program particularly, tends to work with children from diverse socioeconomic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, and consists of afterschool programs and charter schools whose missions are to foster children’s academic and future career success, for potentially at risks youth. 

How Does it Work?

Treatment is disseminated by a team of very strong, well trained doctoral level clinicians specializing in child and family therapy in Florida Tech’s Clinical Psychology program through the School of Psychology.  Some clinicians are assigned to the parents, where they focus on fostering skill development in managing difficult child behaviors such as ADHD, conduct disorders (CD), and oppositional defiance (ODD), as well as provide emotional and psychological support for the challenges parents face in their households, and with their children.  Concurrently, the child clinicians will provide a play therapy treatment intermingled with PCIT to the children.  Parents and children are then brought together to implement their new skills in an “invivo” coached session with state of the art bug-in-the-ear technology via a one-way mirror at the newly built Scott Center.  This coached component of  treatment provides the family with hands on training, supervision, and skill development in a real life setting that fosters the successful transfer of skills from the clinic to home and school.  Sessions are supervised by Dr. Felipa Chavez, Building Blocks director, and a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Chavez possesses a strong background in child development with extensive clinical experience related to children and families, such as parenting children with behavioral, emotional, and medical problems such as cancer and ADHD, and children who have been maltreated.

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