Bringing Parent-Child Interaction Therapy to South Africa: Barriers and Facilitators and Overall Feasibility-First Steps to Implementation

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Apr 7;19(8):4450. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19084450.


There is a large assessment and treatment gap in child and adolescent mental health services, prominently so in low- and middle-income countries, where 90% of the world's children live. There is an urgent need to find evidence-based interventions that can be implemented successfully in these low-resource contexts. This pre-pilot study aimed to explore the barriers and facilitators to implementation as well as overall feasibility of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) in South Africa. A reflective and consensus building workshop was used to gather South African PCIT therapist (N = 4) perspectives on barriers, facilitators, and next steps to implementation in that country. Caregiver participants (N = 7) receiving the intervention in South Africa for the first time were also recruited to gather information on overall feasibility. Facilitators for implementation, including its strong evidence base, manualisation, and training model were described. Barriers relating to sustainability and scalability were highlighted. Largely positive views on acceptability from caregiver participants also indicated the promise of PCIT as an intervention in South Africa. Pilot data on the efficacy of the treatment for participating families are a next step. These initial results are positive, though research on how implementation factors contribute to the longer-term successful dissemination of PCIT in complex, heterogeneous low-resource settings is required.

Keywords: Parent–Child Interaction Therapy; child and adolescent mental health; implementation; low- and middle-income countries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Pilot Projects
  • South Africa