What is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

An Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program or more commonly referred to as IOP, is a mental health and/or substance abuse counseling program that allows clients to attend treatment without staying under full-time care of an Inpatient Facility. The main purpose of an intensive outpatient program – IOP is to provide a treatment channel for individuals who do not require 24-hour supervision.

An IOP program consists of several hours of counseling sessions each week, which may include group therapy, individual therapy and family therapy. These sessions typically take place in the afternoons or evenings to help accommodate those who work, attend school or have other life obligations. Since the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic we have introduced online or virtual IOP counseling sessions as well. Our goal at Bay Area Recovery Center is to help our IOP clients develop the tools and coping mechanisms that will successfully guide their recovery while maintaining their daily obligations and responsibilities. We also use IOP as an aftercare treatment option for alumni who are transitioning from our more intensive residential programs.

What to expect from an Intensive Outpatient Program?

Our IOP program consists of a minimum of nine hours of group counseling along with one hour of individual counseling each week. This is typically based on three hours of group counseling three days a week plus the individual hour therapy session. Our outpatient programs begin around 1:00 p.m. for individual counseling sessions and new patient evaluations. Group counseling sessions take place in the evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. to enable clients to fulfill work, school, or family obligations.  The length of the program can vary depending on client needs, but it typically lasts for 6-8 weeks.

What are the benefits of IOP?

Starting from the initial evaluation and intake, clients meet with a licensed counselor to identify and set treatment goals. A treatment plan is drafted based off the evaluation and identified goals during the assessment phase of IOP. Each week, as client’s progress, treatment plans are reviewed and modified if necessary to ensure the client is receiving the most effective treatment that helps achieve and maintain long-term recovery and improve their overall quality of life.

During IOP, clients participate in a range of therapies, such as cognitive & behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and interpersonal therapy. These therapies help clients build skills and provide tools to help successfully navigate their journey in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Clients are provided with strategies to build coping skills, control emotions, communication skills, and relapse prevention.

Group sessions, which are led by our Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors, provide a supportive environment where clients can connect and build relationships with other individuals to whom they can relate. Clients often find value in group therapy sessions because they provide another avenue of support and encouragement.

We have ensured that our IOP programs provide a high level of support, interactive therapy, and a great deal of education. Clients learn the side effects of drug and alcohol addiction, including the impact it has on friends and family. We encourage those closest to you to be active participants in your recovery because they are a big part of your life and it is important that your healing and growth include them. Our professional counselors in our in-person and virtual IOP programs will help to restore those relationships by providing tools that will help you initiate honest communication and offer you access to family therapy sessions.

How to pay for IOP Treatment?

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) can be expensive, but here are several options that may be of some help.

  1. Health Insurance: Most insurance policies cover IOPs under their mental health benefits. You can check with your provider or verify insurance through our website. We are in-network with Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, United Healthcare, United Behavioral Health Optum, Humana, Beacon Health Options, PHCS, ComPsych and more including some Medicaid policies. Unfortunately, we are not covered by Medicare.
  2. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Some employers offer EAPs through their company benefits, which may cover the cost of IOP treatment. EAPs are intended to help provide private and confidential counseling services to their employees and families.
  3. Financing Options: Some treatment facilities have financing options available through a third-party healthcare lender. We offer financing through Prosper Healthcare Lending. However, depending on your credit score, financing may not be your most beneficial option.
  4. Self-Pay: If you do not have insurance or other means of payment, you may be able to pay for IOP treatment out of pocket. Some Treatment facilities may work with you regarding payment plans or offer discounted rates.

Is an intensive outpatient treatment program right for me?

Determining if an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is right for you can depend on several factors.  Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Legal Situation: Some individuals are mandated by the justice system or advised by pre-trial counsel to successfully complete an IOP program.  This is commonly seen when someone has been arrested for DUI, DWI, Possession of controlled substance or Domestic situations.
  2. Severity of your problem: IOP is generally recommended for individuals who do not require detoxification or 24-hour supervision.
  3. Level of Support: IOP is a great option for individuals who are transitioning from a higher level of care.  Intensive outpatient plays a vital role for those who have successfully completed a residential treatment program and have returned home adjusting to daily life. If an individual did not attend residential treatment locally, it is recommended they seek out an outpatient care facility close to home for ongoing care. Normally, a residential counselor will help with this prior to discharge.
  4. Ability to Attend Sessions: IOP does require a time commitment, typically a minimum of 10 hours over the course of the week.  If you are unable to regularly attend counseling sessions, IOP may not be the best option for you. However, virtual IOP treatment options are available. Your treatment team will still expect you to meet the 10 hour requirement each week but attending remotely can provide more flexibility.

Ultimately, the decision to pursue IOP treatment should be made with help from a licensed addiction specialist who can assess your needs and make a proper recommendation for the most appropriate level of care.

Ready to learn more?

If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol or drug dependency, contact us today to find out if an outpatient treatment program is the right choice.

Jerry Beasley

LCDC, Outpatient Director

Jerry has been a big asset to our BARC family and operates out of the Houston, Pearland and The woodlands Outpatient Offices. His ability to connect with clients along with strong managerial skills has been the driving factors in establishing his director role. This role entails scheduling all outpatient admissions, providing management support to all our outpatient counselors along with carrying a client caseload. He has over 8 years in recovery himself and is truly compassionate when it comes to helping others navigate through the illness of addiction. Jerry is married with two children and enjoys spending as much time as possible with his family.

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