What to Expect in IOP Treatment

What Is Intensive Outpatient Treatment?

An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is a recovery treatment option that allows people to get the help they need without compromising their personal responsibilities. The term “intensive” means that the program requires a significant time commitment. However, IOP is nonresidential. “Outpatient” means that a person on this program can still live in their own home.

Who Does IOP Help?

IOP is intended for two groups of people: those stepping down from inpatient or partial hospitalization programs, as well as those who do not require 24-hour care. Someone needing medical attention or detox would be better served by an inpatient program than an IOP. For a person transitioning from an inpatient setting, IOP can help provide a framework that will allow recovery to continue. But what if you don’t have the necessity for inpatient treatment? What if your life obligations (career, family, education) would be negatively impacted by enrollment in an inpatient program? IOP would give you an optimal path to recovery while affording you the freedom to maintain your responsibilities.

What Does IOP Look Like?

If you have a home life that is conducive to your recovery, then IOP is likely the best option for you. Depending on the facility, IOPs may look slightly different. The American Society of Medicine (ASAM) has five levels of care (1). IOP is a level 2 treatment. If you enroll, you should expect about 10-12 hours of either group and individual therapy. Your therapist or doctor will have a designated site for these meetings. To make access to IOP even easier (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic), some sessions may even be completed online. You’ll meet 3-4 times per week, typically in 3-hour blocks. Precise times will vary, but the therapy blocks may occur in the morning, afternoon, or evening.

Group Therapy

A cornerstone of IOP is the group therapy session. These sessions can be much more helpful for recovery than individual sessions alone. The sessions will include numerous participants, each in different stages of treatment. Each session will be guided by a therapist or counselor. In the beginning, the therapist/counselor will ask for a volunteer to share their personal experience. Participants may speak openly, sharing as much (or as little) as they desire. No one is required to share, but you will be expected to participate to some degree. Speaking directly to another person, or asking them questions (usually referred to as “cross-talking”) is most often prohibited. Once a person finishes speaking, others may have a turn. Group settings like these provide transparency and freedom from judgment. They can also help us to improve our communication skills, practice empathy, and evaluate ourselves honestly.

Individual Therapy and Medication

Though group therapy is integral to any IOP, it doesn’t work alone. In IOP, you’ll also keep appointments with a doctor. Most often, it will be with a psychiatrist. In individual therapy sessions, you may wish to share details that are too personal for group therapy. Also, your psychiatrist will help you customize proper medications and doses to aid in your recovery.

What Now?

If you’d like more information about Midwood Addiction Treatment’s intensive outpatient program, call us now at 888-628-1110.



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