Q: What is an Intensive Outpatient Program?
A: Intensive Outpatient Programs (or IOP’s) are part-time, intensive programs for mental health symptoms which require a more focused treatment approach. Clients generally participate in therapy, groups, and classes 2-3 times a week for several hours at a time. This schedule enables individuals to get additional help and support while still allowing access to every-day work and family life.
Q: How is an IOP different from general outpatient counseling?
A: General outpatient counseling is what most people think of when they think of counseling. Clients and therapists schedule weekly, bi-weekly, or even less frequent appointments as needed to address issues such as trauma, depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems when symptoms affect an individual’s ability to fully engage in life and relationships. When those same mental health problems progress to the point that an individual is having difficulty engaging in life, or is experiencing crisis level symptoms which affect health and safety, higher levels of care can be recommended. An IOP is a level of care between general outpatient counseling and residential treatment, which allows individuals to remain in familiar family, work, and social environments while accessing mental health treatment.
Q: What happens during IOP treatment?
A: The goal of IOP treatment is to alleviate crisis or near-crisis level symptoms. During the time individuals are in the program, they attend a combination of clinical groups, support groups, classes, and therapy. This allows clients to have access to more intensive clinical support, as well as feeling the support of other individuals who are also engaged in the healing process. An individual progresses through an IOP program, gaining skills and support which enable them to manage symptoms in every-day family, work, and social environments.
Q: What is the family’s role during IOP treatment?
A: Many IOP’s have family groups or couples groups where families participate in a supportive healing process. Supportive family members who are part of an individual’s support system are invited to attend.