What is IOP therapy?
Intensive outpatient treatment (or IOP therapy) is a treatment program often recommended for individuals with eating disorders, chemical dependency, depression, or self-injurious behaviors. IOP therapy provides more structure and treatment approaches than traditional outpatient therapy. IOP therapy programs are well-suited for those who cannot make the commitment to inpatient treatment, as IOP therapy is part-time. At HPA/LiveWell, in Albany and Poughkeepsie, NY, our IOP therapy program meets three times per week for four hours each time. Although intensive outpatient treatment programs are always part-time, the length of treatment varies depending on the individual and the progress made.
Some seek an IOP therapy program once they have tried standard outpatient therapy and need a higher level of care. Yet for some people, participating in an intensive outpatient therapy program is a “step-down” from a residential or inpatient program. In these cases, IOP therapy is typically part of an aftercare treatment plan, to help reduce the risk of relapse.
Intensive outpatient therapy programs can incorporate a variety of treatment approaches including:
- Individual therapy – individual therapy sessions help patients focus on personal struggles, stressors, traumas and needs.
- Group therapy – group therapy is a core part of most IOP therapy programs. Group therapy provides a safe and supportive environment for patients to share experiences, insights, and how they can relate to one another.
- Family therapy – this type of therapy brings family members together to participate in joint sessions to work on improving communication, resolving conflicts, etc.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – an approach to psychotherapy aimed at helping patients cope with current issues through teaching healthy coping skills and modifying dysfunctional thinking patterns.
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) – originally created for patients with borderline personality disorder, DBT is used to teach skills around mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.
- Nutritional counseling – frequently found in an intensive outpatient program for eating disorder treatment, nutritional counseling is used to help patients normalize eating patterns and meet the body’s nutritional needs.
Each mental health intensive outpatient program curriculum may look slightly different, so it is important to know which treatments are offered to ensure it will meet the needs of the participant.
Benefits of IOP Therapy
IOP therapy is an appealing option for many people, due to the various advantages, including:
- Less expensive – when compared to residential or inpatient programs.
- Consistency of schedule – in an IOP therapy program, patients are usually able to maintain their typical routines and schedules with work, school, and other activities.
- Skill application – because IOP patients are able to maintain outside schedules and activities, they are then able to practice and apply the skills and tools they are learning in real-life situations.
- Increased patient responsibility – participating in an intensive outpatient program for substance abuse or mental health concerns means the patient is responsible for his or her own treatment progress and recovery.
If you or someone you know could benefit from participating in IOP therapy, contact HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY 518-218-1188 or Poughkeepsie, NY 845-372-4367 to find out more about treatment options.