Parent–Child Interaction Therapy for the Treatment of Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder: A Case Report

Cassie R. Dickmann, Brian Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED), formerly known as reactive attachment disorder–disinhibited type, is a relatively rare condition connected to severe deprivation early in life. DSED often persists long after the child is placed in a more normative caregiving environment; however, few clinical investigations have examined potential treatment approaches. The extant research suggests that evidence-based, parent-focused behavior management training (BMT) may be a fruitful avenue to explore. This case study discusses the application of Parent–Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), a well-validated BMT for externalizing problems, to a child presenting with DSED and multiple comorbid concerns. Specific adaptations of the PCIT protocol are discussed, including the integration of indicated cognitive-behavioral techniques, and an assessment instrument specifically designed to assess DSED symptoms was implemented to assess outcome. Potential avenues through which the intervention may have prompted therapeutic change are discussed and implications for further research in this area are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-29
Number of pages11
JournalEvidence-Based Practice in Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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