Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

A Brief Introduction

An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is a treatment program for substance abuse that sits on the continuum of care between residential in-patient facilities, partial hospitalization, and once-a-week outpatient treatment programs. IOP is more intensive than one or a few hours a week of outpatient services, but less intensive than residential rehab.

Activities and Services

Intensive Outpatient Programs include activities and services such as detoxification (when applicable), group and individual sessions, recovery or treatment planning, continuing recovery or treatment planning recreation, and self-help activities.  Counseling sessions are focused on withdrawal, recovery, relapse prevention, mood management, effective communication, and other topic that may be relevant to a participant’s recovery.

The group sessions are either process or psycho-educational in format. Process groups have a free format where clients share and process their current challenges/stressors or anything that might be interfering with their recovery. Psycho-educational groups are more structured and focused on covering  a range of topics that are crucial to recovery and healing.

Services provided typically include:

  • Initial intake and assessment
  • Orientation to the program structure
  • Treatment planning. This includes the preparation of an initial treatment plan as well as regularly-scheduled updates to the plan, every 30 days or more frequently, based on participants’ needs.
  • Individual counseling sessions
  • Group therapy (including psychoeducational, life skills, self-help, and other areas of focus)
  • Case management, care coordination, and discharge planning meeting as needed
  • Family sessions as needed, where individuals who play a significant role in participants’ lives may be invited to a session
  • Drug and alcohol screening, as necessary
  • Continuing recovery and treatment planning, inclusive of the goals identified in the recovery or treatment plan and referrals to appropriate resources (e.g., social services, Medi-Cal and vocational rehabilitation, etc.)
  • Sharing of a list of resources within the community that offer complementary services that may not be provided within the program
  • Thorough documentation of all services, interventions, and referrals provided
  • 12 step and other spiritual group involvement, as appropriate for patient’s orientation and needs
  • Relapse prevention and education
  • Help recognize personal strengths and problem areas
  • Develop and/or improve the use of healthy coping skills
  • Identify, challenge, and modify distorted thoughts and beliefs
  • Address transitions in life
  • Improve the ability to problem-solve and cope with emotional crisis
  • Change dysfunctional or destructive behavior patterns
  • Improve communication skills
  • Set immediate and long-term goals
  • Develop an effective aftercare plan
  • Identifying repetitive relationship themes that adversely affect daily functioning
  • Referrals for psychological assessments, as determined by the therapist’s evaluation

Areas Targeted

IOPs target cognition, affect, and psychophysiological symptoms. Affective components are concerned with becoming aware of, identifying, and expressing feelings, as well as finding healthy ways to manage varying levels of emotional intensity. For instance, anger, fear, loss, grief, and sadness may be evaluated in regards to the role they may play in the pathology.

Cognitive aspects of a program may comprise problem-solving skills, coping skills, and action planning, particularly as it pertains to problematic situations and relationships. This may also include the evaluation of self-talk, self-defeating patters, irrational thinking, and conditioning.

The psychophysiological aspects of the program concentrate on bodily processes that may exacerbate symptoms. This may involve working with illness, episodic and chronic conditions,overall health and wellness, pain management, and fitness.

Typical Schedule and What to Expect

A typical IOP lasts for 8 to 12 or more weeks. The group is open in the sense that clients may join at any time. We ensure smooth transition in and out of the program.

  • Three hours of group sessions a day, three times a week
  • Two hours of individual and/or family therapy session, provided each week
  • Assessment at the onset of treatment and development of a treatment plan to address problem areas
  • Progress is measured throughout the course of treatment and treatment plans are revised as necessary
  • Support is provided both during business hours as well as around the clock, 7 days a week, based on circumstances
  • Upon completion of the program, a discharge plan is developed and appropriate referrals are provided to ensure continuity of care and wellness
  • Complimentary weekly or bi-weekly follow up after discharge
  • Small group size

The process begging by an intake session. During the session, necessary information will be collected in order to develop an appropriate treatment plan. If both client and treatment facility agree on goodness of fit, the client is admitted to the program. The client is welcome to join the group immediately. The client will be oriented to the facility and a treatment plan will be developed.

Treatment plans reflect treatment goals and steps involved in achieving those goals. Treatment goals could consist of improving relationships with loved ones, sobriety, managing depression, etc.

One IOP client wrote:

“I started working with Seda and Jania in their Intensive Outpatient Program. I met so many amazing people who shared the same struggles as me. It absolutely transformed my life and how I viewed myself and others and gave me a sense of perspective I had long forgotten. After completing the IOP, I continue to see Seda and Jania frequently to maintain this new found respect for family, friends and myself!”

Please visit our testimonials page to hear what our past IOP patients have said.