Skip to main content

Outpatient treatment refers to non-residential treatment, in which the teen spends structured time in treatment during the day or evening and returns home each night. This treatment format can be beneficial for adolescents with mild to moderate symptoms who have a strong support system at home. Standard outpatient treatment involves regular visits to the outpatient clinic, treatment center, or hospital, as outlined by the patient’s personalized care plan. Therapy sessions are scheduled around the teenagers outside commitments, such as work, school, and other responsibilities. Outpatient treatment for mental health conditions and substance use disorders varies in the level of structure and the number of hours of programming. Hence, the way outpatient treatment works for teens will depend on the type of outpatient treatment option selected. 

Partial Hospitalization Programs

Teenagers in a partial hospitalization program (PHP) live at home while receiving daily treatment in a psychiatric hospital, a mental health clinic, the psychiatric unit of a hospital, or a similar mental health setting. Typically, PHP treatment programs require participants to meet for at least four to six hours per day, three to five days per week. Of course, everyone is different and will benefit most from a personalized treatment plan to support his or her recovery process which many PHPs will accommodate. Some of the most common outpatient components that are utilized by partial hospitalization programs may include the following:

  • Individual therapy
  • Psycho-educational sessions
  • Group counseling
  • Relapse prevention, education, and support
  • When needed, medication to reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms
  • Family counseling and/ or education
  • Parent support groups

PHP treatment is a personalized experience that is designed to meet the specific strengths, needs, and treatment goals of each participant.

Intensive Outpatient Programs

Teen intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are like PHPs, in that they are also a non-residential psychological treatment option. Most IOPs will require a participant to attend between ten to twelve hours of group therapy sessions as well as an individual psychotherapy session each week. While the exact attendance requirements will depend on each specific IOP, to earn qualification as an IOP through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) the program must require between nine to twenty hours of participation per week. An IOP for teenagers typically includes:

  • Individual therapy sessions
  • Group therapy sessions
  • Experiential therapies
  • Psychiatric and medical management
  • Therapeutic activities (e.g., yoga, meditation, creative arts, hiking, kayaking, etc.) 

The obligatory group sessions in an IOP could include a range of different types of therapy groups (e.g., psycho-educational groups, refusal training, skills-development groups, family groups, relapse prevention groups, etc.). The purpose of group sessions is to provide an individual with an array of emotional coping mechanisms, stress-reducing strategies, and developing effective interpersonal skills to assist in his or her continued recovery. Studies show that intensive outpatient treatment is effective for the underlying issues catalyzing depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental health and co-occurring disorders. 

Further Information and Support

For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.

Leave a Reply

Back to top