Intensive Outpatient Treatment
Intensive outpatient treatment (also called IOP therapy) offers a bridge between outpatient and inpatient treatment for those who need intensive therapy, but cannot make the commitment to inpatient treatment. Intensive outpatient treatment also works well for patients returning home from an inpatient setting and need more specialized and intense step-down treatment.
Intensive outpatient treatment allows patients to remain at home and maintain their normal routines at work or school while undergoing treatment. IOP therapy is much less disruptive than an inpatient program, but more intensive than an outpatient program. It helps patients adapt to the unique situations in their daily life while battling their eating disorder or other condition.
While challenging, IOP therapy programs are successful because patients learn to confront their illness in their own environment where it likely started, instead of a residential situation away from their “real” world. Intensive outpatient programs empower patients to take responsibility for their recovery. By remaining in familiar environments − home, work or school – patients learn how to deal with recovery as a part of their daily lives.
IOP Therapy Treatment Methods
At HPA/LiveWell, we use a variety of outpatient treatment methods for our IOP therapy program:
Group Therapy – In group therapy, one or more therapists treat multiple patients in a group setting. The patients work together with the therapists to promote change in themselves and other group members.
Individual Therapy – Individual therapy is the most common psychological treatment for many mental illnesses. Simply put, this is the one-on-one interaction between patient and therapist, in an office setting. The frequency is determined by both the therapist and patient. Individual therapy on a weekly basis, or other schedule, may be sufficient to treat an eating disorder, or may be supplemental to group therapy. Individual therapy often continues after completing a group therapy program.
Family Therapy – In addition to helping couples who struggle with their personal relationships, family therapy also includes divorce or separation counseling, child counseling, premarital counseling and other relationship counseling.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy – This is one of the most effective psychotherapy methods for treating a variety of psychological disorders, including eating disorders. As an example, when it comes to eating disorders, cognitive behavior therapy focuses on changing how patients think and feel about food, eating and body image while providing strategies to transform self-defeating thought patterns. It also helps patients modify their behavior and develop a healthier lifestyle.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy – This type of IOP therapy addresses emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness skills, distress tolerance and mindfulness. As an example, patients with eating disorders find the nutrition portion of the treatment to be the most challenging. That’s why our intensive outpatient treatment program pairs each patient with a dietician who can help tailor meals to each patient’s specific dietary needs, ensuring the best way to restore healthy and regular eating. It’s important to note that cognitive behavior therapy and dialectical behavior therapy are used to treat a range of disorders, including eating disorders.
Motivational Interviewing – This treatment method helps patients find internal motivation to make changes and resolve ambivalence.
Exposure Therapy – This behavioral therapy technique asks the patient to identify what they are fearful of and exposes the person to that fear in a safe environment. The goal of this technique is that, over time, the fear or anxiety is extinguished because the person has been retrained to see the object of their fear as less threatening.
Nutritional Counseling – An expert in nutrition, our staff dietitian works directly with each individual patient who needs to change his or her diet to address an eating disorder or other psychological issue.
Maudsley Coaching – This family-based treatment is specific to treating eating disorders. This technique is used with adolescents and their families with the goal of helping parents refeed their anorexic child. The therapist uses skills that empower parents to feed the child while managing the child’s emotional reaction.
How long will IOP therapy last? How often do patients need to come to HPA/LiveWell for treatment?
Each patient’s treatment is individualized, so it’s difficult to give a definite timeline without an assessment. Typically intensive outpatient treatment can last anywhere from 3 to 12 months and is determined by the individual’s progress. At HPA/LiveWell, treatment is 3 days a week, 4 hours a day.
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Take a moment to read about the psychological therapies (treatment types) we use at HPA/LiveWell:
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