Intensive Outpatient, known by the acronym IOP, is an outpatient treatment center. This means individuals in an IOP program will live elsewhere while attending group and individual therapy. IOP has many therapeutic and community benefits. Especially while in sober living.
When we talk about the benefits of IOP, we usually begin by addressing the obvious therapeutic benefits. While this may be self explanatory, we must also understand the structure of the IOP itself and it’s unique approach.
IOP’s usually have many groups throughout the week. Most enrolled persons attend between 6-30 hours per week in group. With so many hours of group therapy, it is hard to escape the drastic beneficial elements of IOP.
For starters, group therapy is extremely unique to individual therapy. Having a group of people all attending a group to better themselves has an immediate community benefit. In group therapy we learn to be open and honest with multiple people, not just a certified therapist. This allows us to connect deeply with those in group with us. It is one thing for a therapist, who spent years learning disorders, to assist us. But it is a completely different experience to have people just like us, who struggle with similar issues, to help us along on the road of recovery.
IOP’s have trained clinicians who lead groups. This is different from sober living homes. Sober Living homes typically do not have managers who are licensed clinicians, with long backgrounds in clinical psychology.
Some of us deal with serious trauma, anxiety or depression. These mental disorders cannot usually be cured by attending AA meetings, meeting with a sponsor and getting into shape. So, sometimes we need the clinical support that is offered in IOP. When we learn to trust those with years of experience, clinical degrees and specific training, we are better suited to get help.
IOP in Sober Living
Luckily for our sober living residents, transportation will be a smooth process. The IOP’s we work with will pick up each day. This limits any excuse to attend group. And it also ensures a safe, consistent and reliable way to get to group.
Being in sober living provides structure, accountability and 24/7 community. But, by also adding IOP treatment, this creates another level of care. A level of care that is not only community based, but also therapeutic.
Who Needs IOP?
IOP is not just for drug addicts and alcoholics. There are specific drug/alcohol IOP’s, but there are also many non substance abuse programs. These programs focus on the mental health issues that plague our society. Anxiety, the leader in mental health diagnosis, has a whopping amount of people in its grasp. According to ADAA.org, over 40 million people suffer from clinical anxiety in the U.S…. These numbers are astronomical. And we can only help the problem by helping ourselves.
Depression is also a leading disorder, and attending IOP for depression can be extremely helpful. For similar reasons, dealing with depression in a group setting is important. Because when we are depressed we tend to isolate. And we can only combat depression by doing something new. So, when we join group therapy we are able to deal with our problems collectively.