Content Reviewed by Cameron Bolish, M.Ed., CEO of PaRC

Typically, mental health and addiction recovery centers offer either inpatient (residential) programs, outpatient programs (IOP) or a combination of both. It can be challenging to choose between these two types of treatment programs for several reasons.

Consider someone who is struggling severely with their mental health but cannot fully commit to a residential program due to many other outside responsibilities that cannot be put on hold. However, their distress is too much to manage independently, and outpatient treatment would insufficiently support their recovery.

Similarly, consider someone that has recently completed a residential treatment program but is overwhelmed with the thought of transitioning immediately back into daily life. They may need some extra guidance and support as they readapt to living with their families and in their communities.

This is the nature of intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), which bridge the gap between residential treatment programs and outpatient services. IOPs are designed to help individuals continue their regular, day-to-day lives and still receive a level of care higher than traditional outpatient therapy services.

IOPs offer several benefits for those struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues. It is essential to bring awareness to these benefits so that clients can recognize IOPs to be a valuable treatment option for them or their loved ones.

Below are five benefits of IOPs:

#1. Flexibility for Clients and Facility

One of the most essential benefits of IOPs is that these programs offer both the clients and the treatment center greater flexibility. The staff at the treatment center is better able to respond to a client’s individual needs and goals for treatment because plans are tailored specifically for the client. Similarly, IOPs allow greater flexibility for clients to continue treatment as they go about their daily lives. IOPs offer more flexibility with scheduling therapy sessions and work around a client’s schedule.

#2. More Personal Responsibility for Clients

Another significant benefit of IOPs is that they allow clients to engage in greater personal responsibilities. Whereas residential treatment services require clients to put their personal responsibilities on hold, and inpatient services may not offer the level of care needed to sustain recovery, IOPs provide a greater balance between the two.

IOPs encourage clients to learn how to properly manage their personal responsibilities with the assistance of mental health professionals. Especially for those transitioning out of rehab, IOPs offer an excellent opportunity for clients to find a proper balance between prioritizing their recovery alongside their outside responsibilities.

#3. Greater Opportunity to Practice Skills Learned in Treatment

Unlike residential treatment programs, IOPs allow clients to actively practice what they learn during treatment in their daily lives. When clients are taught new coping skills, such as mindfulness or meditation, they have the chance to go home and practice those skills in real-life scenarios. IOP programs are also important because they allow clients to learn new skills that will help them cope with present distress.

#4. IOPs Provide More Privacy

Another benefit of IOPs is that they are more private compared to residential facilities. When you live at a residential treatment center, your business becomes everyone else’s business. You become incredibly close with others going through treatment with you, especially because everyone is likely going through very similar struggles. In an IOP, your business becomes a bit more private, and you have a greater ability to decide what you’d like to keep to yourself or share with your peers.

In addition, IOPs also allow clients to be in treatment without requiring an explanation for a prolonged absence—such as to an employer—like they would for a residential treatment program. Clients may feel less exposed concerning their struggles when going through an IOP, primarily because of the increased flexibility with scheduling.

#5. Support Networks in Your Community

IOPs offer several support networks to assist clients in their recovery. In outpatient treatment, clients will have access to individual counseling sessions, group therapy sessions, support groups and mentors to motivate and empower their recovery journey. Alongside therapists, counselors and other mental health staff, clients also have greater access to support systems outside of treatment, such as family members and friends.

Since IOPs allow clients to live at home, individuals are encouraged to lean into their relationships with friends and family outside of treatment. They are encouraged to work to build up their support systems so that once they complete IOP, they will feel more confident in their relationships and ability to sustain long-term recovery.

Intensive outpatient programs offer a valuable bridge between residential services and outpatient services. PaRC (Prevention and Recovery Center) is a substance use and addiction treatment center that has recovery programs for individuals of all ages. We offer age-appropriate intensive outpatient programs to help clients struggling with any severity of substance use issues. For more information about our facility, call PaRC today at (713) 939-7272.