Intensive outpatient treatment is one type of structured outpatient program. Those enrolled in an intensive outpatient program have the best of both worlds: a structured treatment plan in a clinical setting and the independence and flexibility to live in their home and manage family or work commitments.

Alta Loma’s intensive outpatient program (IOP) is for several hours a day, normally five days a week, but lives in a residential environment (e.g., the patient’s home or other supportive residence). For instance, those enrolled in the men-only intensive outpatient program at Alta Loma Transformational Services in Georgetown, TX, meet Monday through Friday for three to four hours each day. At the end of each day, participants go to a supportive living residence.

What Makes Alta Loma Different From Other IOPs?

Alta Loma Transformational Services offer programs that are designed specifically for men experiencing mental health and substance use issues. We also combine IOP with a supportive living facility called The Villa.

Traditionally, society has stigmatized men who show vulnerability. Some men may be unwilling to seek help or ashamed of seeking mental health services. According to the Mental Health Foundation, only 9% of men (as opposed to 15% of women) were likely to seek treatment for mental health issues. Unaddressed problems don’t disappear, though. At Alta Loma, we want to help men break through the isolating pain of mental health issues and substance abuse. 

One way we do this is by providing the men in our program with supportive living arrangements at The Villa. In most IOPs, patients return home each night after treatment. Our living facility near Austin, TX gives men an extra level of support they need while developing the skills that will help them achieve mental well-being. Contact Alta Loma Transformational Services today to start your journey toward living a balanced, fulfilling life.

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What Is IOP for Mental Health?

Although IOPs share some commonalities with partial hospitalization programs, they aren’t the same. Both are structured treatment plans, share similar treatment methods and don’t involve hospital stays. The difference is that participants in IOPs meet for fewer hours than those in a partial hospitalization program.

Intensive outpatient programs are ideal for those whose diagnosis doesn’t require a hospital stay and who have a strong support system at home but still need behavioral health treatment. Patients get many of the benefits of more intensive treatment — e.g., various types of therapy sessions, educational and nutritional programs — while still having the freedom and flexibility to meet outside responsibilities and pursue other life goals.

What Are the Benefits of IOP?

Patients benefit from IOP in several ways:

Life Skills Education

Psychological distress and addiction can overshadow other areas of life, making it difficult to complete normal, day-to-day tasks. For someone in the grip of those disorders, mundane responsibilities like grocery shopping, paying bills, going to work and even self-care can seem insurmountable.

Outpatient mental health treatment addresses this. The behavioral therapies in IOPs equip patients with the necessary tools to manage life again. Participants may work with a nutritionist to develop a healthy eating plan and practice self-care and stress-management techniques to handle living responsibilities.

Behavioral health practices are aimed at helping patients develop the confidence they need to face life again.

Community Reintegration

Mental Health can be isolating. One of the toughest parts of recovery is reintegrating into society, yet IOP participants must function in society while they receive treatment.

Learning how to integrate into the community is a fundamental part of any residential treatment program. Such programs may include relationship-building skills, vocational training and relapse management.

IOPs begin building a sense of community during treatment and help patients become a part of the community outside the treatment facility. Belonging is a core human need. Strong community connections often create a wider emotional support system, which lessens the chance for relapse.

Individual Therapy

Individual counseling is an important part of standard outpatient services. It gives those the opportunity to share their deepest fears and challenges, opening wounds to the light for healing. Licensed clinicians meet with patients individually and work with them to understand their specific needs and create a custom treatment plan.

While in traditional therapy patients may meet with therapists once a week, individual therapy sessions in IOPs occur more frequently.

Group Therapy

In group therapy, licensed counselors facilitate support groups, encouraging group members to share experiences, challenges, fears and successes. These gatherings teach participants to be vulnerable in a nonjudgmental and supportive setting.

Knowing others in the group have similar circumstances diminishes the feeling of isolation so common to those seeking treatment. IOPs offer several types of group therapy, depending on where someone is at in their recovery.

Alta Loma Transformational Services, for example, offers process, recovery and family groups. Participating in group therapy provides members with peer support and helps them develop interpersonal skills as well.

Problem-Solving Skills

Bad things happen in life. Standard outpatient programs, no matter how good, can’t change that. They can help patients learn how to approach life’s inevitable trials, though. Many of those in recovery programs have used alcohol or drugs as a way of escaping unpleasant realities.

IOP participants need to relearn how to problem-solve as part of avoiding relapse. IOPs help those in recovery improve their self-awareness and critical thinking skills. Participants learn to recognize harmful thought processes and learn productive ways to resolve dilemmas.

Since IOP participants are out in society while undergoing treatment, they can apply the problem-solving techniques from their program to real-life situations.

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What Is the Importance of Continuing Care?

Recovery is a process, not just an end result. Those who are transitioning from hospital to residential programs need support to manage their recovery while living in society. They’ve progressed from crawling to walking, but their steps can still be shaky. Continuing care via IOPs is a crucial element of a successful recovery:

The Recovery Process

Recovery doesn’t end with someone leaving a mental care facility. It involves various stages and types of treatment. Residential treatment programs like IOPs are meant to carry on the progress patients have made in more intensive outpatient programs. Several strategies and treatments are part of this, including the following:

  • Continued individual and group therapy sessions
  • Family therapy
  • Medication management (including addiction medicine)
  • Life skills development
  • Alternative treatments

Coping Strategies

Relapse is among the greatest fears of those with co-occurring disorders. Residential treatment programs address this by teaching coping skills. Participants learn the causes of their illness and how to identify the circumstances that might lead to relapse. They may practice boundary setting or refusal skills. Patients discover how healthy habits like exercise play an important role in coping with daily stresses.

The aim of this part of the treatment plan is to help participants understand that while they can’t always control circumstances, they can use coping mechanisms to control their reactions.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Substance abuse and mental disorders are often linked. The National Alliance on Mental Health reports that of the more than 18 million U.S. adults who seek help for mental disorders, almost 10 million also have substance abuse issues. A successful treatment process involves modalities to treat these co-occurring disorders.

At Alta Loma Transformational Services, IOP participants work with a staff of licensed health professionals, some of whom specialize in addiction therapy. An individualized treatment plan ensures patients with dual diagnoses have access to the most effective resources to start treatment for both issues.

How to Address Mental Illness

Treatment programs are not one-size-fits-all. Effective outpatient treatment keeps the patient in the treatment plan. Experienced clinicians personalize recovery approaches to a patient’s specific circumstances. This may include various forms of therapy, medication, behavioral health strategies and life skills. No mater the condition, illness or disorder, Alta Loma is ready to help — address mental illness by calling us today!