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Intensive Outpatient Program

What Is an Intensive Outpatient Program?

An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is a level of care that enables patients to continue receiving support while having more freedom during the day to work or take care of personal obligations. IOP programs are one step down from the PHP level of care, but more intensive than standard outpatient mental health treatment. Patients participating in an Intensive Outpatient Program still receive intensive therapy but have the freedom to resume some aspects of regular daily living, making it a nice “middle ground” if aligned with one’s mental illness acuity.

Intensive Outpatient Program participants generally visit the treatment facility for group therapy sessions three to five times a week for three hours at a time, and engage in one individual session per week. Patients in Mental Health IOP often choose to stay in supportive housing if they don’t live nearby or desire extra structure during treatment. We recommend being honest in assessing your needs and asking us for guidance on where to stay during IOP.

>What Is an Intensive Outpatient Program?

Mental Health Intensive Outpatient at SBMHC

When clinically appropriate, patients advance to this phase of treatment after PHP, or if their level of acuity warrants direct admission into IOP. Patients undergo the appropriate combination of group, individual, and family therapy during this phase. Patients put new skills and thinking to use in the “real world.” They often enrolled, or stay enrolled, in our Career Launch Program. At a high level, IOP can be described as:

  • A “step-down” from PHP
  • Flexibility in terms of daytime or evening / in-person or virtual sessions
  • Clinical groups 3 hours per session, 3 times a week (both in-person and virtual offered)
  • One individual therapy session per week
  • One family therapy session per week (Family Night)
  • Ongoing medical and psychiatric support

More About Our IOP

Our IOP aims to build upon the progress made earlier in treatment and flush out concepts and ideas with the benefit of patients’ real-world experience. The goal is to enable patients to see their recovery and growth in practical terms and to apply new perspectives and approaches to old problems and try different approaches. For many patients, this will be the first time they have received immersive mental health treatment of this caliber while simultaneously putting principles to the test.

For at least 10 hours per week, patients continue therapy at SBMHC. The remainder of their time is spent re-engaging with life – advancing personal relationships, career or educational goals, and incorporating additional wellness practices. Those enrolled in the Career Launch Program often continue that simultaneously and often find themselves gaining meaningful employment during this phase of treatment.

Our goal ensures the mental health diagnosis and treatment plan are “on track” – whether that’s after PHP or not. Truly exemplary mental health treatment accomplishes more than this, however. Sylvia Brafman’s IOP also empowers the patient with the requisite knowledge to manage their condition effectively and the insight to continue their growth and progress after treatment. Mental health IOPs like ours, which use evidence-based care modalities, are proven effective in clinical literature.

Our treatment approach is as unique as our patients and their needs. No two patients arrive with the same set of challenges. Therefore, no two patients will have the same experience here. Whether you come to us with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or a SUD with a co-occurring disorder, we are ready to empower you to change your life. People enter our IOP with different goals in mind; therefore, it’s our job to help them become healthy and centered with an individualized toolkit designed to equip them with what they need to achieve those goals.

Solidifying the Foundation

Effective, evidence-based mental health treatment is grounded in an accurate diagnosis and treatment. We ensure that has either occurred in earlier levels of care, or that it becomes solidified early on in IOP. The goal is to ensure patients better understand themselves and their disorders, continue to grow in effectiveness, feel better overall, and take steps toward applying what they’ve learned daily.

Forging Ahead in the “Real World” as Mentally Well

On the heels of establishing this foundation, we focus on moving into sustainable healthy living before stepping down to outpatient treatment. Instilling patients with enough knowledge and a plethora of coping tools will serve them for a lifetime, but particularly early on as the “training wheels” begin to come off. In other words, our IOP is a supportive way of ‘stress testing’ one’s recovery.

Patients can return to everyday life situations where they will be exposed to stressors and potential triggers. However, this happens while they are still within the safety and structure of our program. This tests their progress and enables them to bring real-world problems back into the therapeutic space for solutions. The goal of treatment is to build a fulfilling life as a mentally well, happy person; IOP is the bridge to making that goal a reality.


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