Parent-Child Interaction Therapy in Community Settings

" I enjoyed being able to see how research is really done and getting to see 'back-stage' and the business end of psychology. I am getting good experience learning what techniques are effective in therapy."


Supervising Faculty:
Amy D. Herschell, Ph.D.


Amy D. Herschell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
537 Bellefield Towers
Office: 412-246-5897; Fax: 412-605-0513

Shelley Hiegel, MEd, MSCP, NCC
PCIT Project Coordinator
3811 O'Hara Street - 505 Bellefield Towers
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Office:  412-246-5886; Fax: 412-246-5341

Area of Research:  Clinical Psychology

Description of Research:

This community-university collaborative is focused on understanding the implementation of an evidence-based treatment, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), in community settings. In partnership with Allegheny Children’s Initiative and the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, a community-based participatory research study is being conducted to learn about the feasibility and effectiveness of PCIT in community settings with novel populations (e.g., domestic violence) and treatment structures (e.g., clinic-based versus in-home). Clinicians from the participating agencies are involved in the research activities of the project, responsible for collecting data and informing procedural decisions. The information gleaned from this research effort will be used to guide future PCIT community implementation efforts.

Duties of Students:

  • Learn about evidence-based treatments and their implementation in community settings
  • Review audio-taped therapy sessions and rate them for treatment adherence/integrity of selected session content
  • Code study data using a qualitative, observational coding system
  • Collaborate with community-based mental health providers (e.g., therapists)
  • Attend at least one community meeting with ‘real-world’ mental health providers
  • Complete literature reviews
  • Prepare study-related materials so that they are community-friendly
  • Assist in developing thank yous/ incentives for study participants
  • Assist in preparing and developing treatment and training materials
  • Assist in data management and preparation of scientific materials
  • Prepare basic analyses and break-downs of clinical research data – both qualitative and quantitative data
  • Regularly attend staff meetings and individual meetings with Dr. Herschell

Additional Requirements:

  • Psychopathology
  • Proficiency with basic computing tasks
  • Students who are reliable, motivated, and eager to learn
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Students must be available for two terms
  • Students must meet all of the PSY 1903 prerequisites – waivers will not be granted.

This site is part of WPIC and requires current Act 33 & 34 clearances. These clearances are valid for one year and can take up to 4-6 weeks to process and cost $10 each. Information can be found on the state.

This site also requires FBI fingerprint check, and/or a criminal background check. These checks take approximately 4-8 weeks to process and cost $27.50.

Terms offered: fall, spring and summer

Number of Students: 1 or 2