Some reports show that one in six American youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year. If your teen is struggling, you are not alone. There are many ways to get help; one option is an intensive outpatient program (IOP). An IOP works to provide structure and support while allowing teens to continue attending school and living at home. There are several IOP benefits that stem beyond immediate treatment.
What Is an IOP?
An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a type of mental health treatment that is less intense than inpatient treatment but more structured and supportive than traditional outpatient therapy. IOPs typically meet a few days per week for a few hours at a time. Teens will participate in group therapy, individual therapy, and family therapy sessions during treatment. IOPs generally last up to 12 weeks, but some programs may be longer or shorter depending on the needs of the individual teen.
5 Surprising Benefits of an IOP for Teens
1. IOP Can Be Less Intimidating Than Inpatient Treatment
Inpatient treatment requires teens to live at the facility, which can be overwhelming. IOP allows teens to keep going to school and living at home while getting the help they need.
2. An IOP Provides Consistent Structure
Teens in IOP receive therapeutic care three to five days per week for up to four hours each day. This consistent structure can be helpful for teens who feel like their life is spiraling out of control.
3. An IOP Allows Teens to Try Treatments Before Committing to Inpatient Treatment
IOP is often considered a step down from inpatient treatment, but it can also be a step up from traditional therapy. This level of care allows teens to try different types of therapies, such as art therapy or dialectical behavior therapy, before deciding if inpatient treatment is right for them.
4. An IOP Teaches Life Skills
IOPs typically include group therapy, where teens learn vital social skills. Teens also have the opportunity to practice these skills in real-world situations with the support of their treatment team.
5. Many IOPs Are Covered by Insurance Plans
An IOP is less expensive than inpatient treatment and is typically covered by insurance plans. Many facilities also offer sliding-scale fees based on families’ ability to pay.
What to Expect in an IOP for Teens
IOPs are designed to meet the unique needs of each teen. However, there are some common elements of these programs, such as:
- Group therapy – During group therapy, teens will participate in activities and discussions led by a therapist. Groups may be focused on general topics, such as anger management, or more specific issues, such as eating disorders.
- Individual therapy – Teens will also meet one-on-one with a therapist to discuss their thoughts and feelings. Individual therapy sessions provide teens with a safe space to share their experiences and work on personal goals.
- Family therapy – Family therapy sessions may be included in some IOPs. These sessions provide families with support and guidance as they learn to communicate and cope with their teen’s mental health disorder.
- Other activities – Some IOPs may also include activities such as yoga, mindfulness, or art therapy. These activities can help teens relax and cope with their emotions in a healthy way.
Help Your Teen Start an IOP at Beyond Healthcare
If you are concerned about your teen’s mental health, we can help. At Beyond Healthcare, we offer an IOP for teens struggling with mental health disorders. Our program includes individual and group therapy, family therapy, and other activities designed to meet the needs of each teen. We also accept Medicaid and most insurance providers to make treatment accessible for all families.