Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Information about our Intensive Outpatient Program for OCD

Please read this carefully to better understand our Intensive Outpatient Program for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). If you have additional questions you would like addressed, please contact us using our Contact form or call us at (502) 403-7818.

What is an Intensive Outpatient Program?

Intensive Outpatient Treatment (also known as IOP for "Intensive Outpatient Program") is a primary treatment program recommended in certain circumstances by a clinical and medical necessity. An IOP may be recommended for those who are not responding to weekly traditional outpatient therapy but who do not want to engage in a residential program. It is also a good option for people who have severe symptoms, but can be an option for anyone who wants to get better as soon as possible. An IOP program can enable patients to recover quickly, on a part-time yet intensive schedule, designed to accommodate family life and other outside activities.

Program Structure and Format

The intensive outpatient portion of treatment is typically a 2-week program. Before the program starts, the patient will participate in a 3-hour comprehensive assessment to determine the scope and severity of symptoms. The results of this assessment process will be reviewed by the clinical director and treatment team to formulate a treatment plan.

Once the IOP begins, the patient will meet with a therapist six days per week for two 90-minute sessions. We also include 1-2 family sessions, as needed, and 1-2 group sessions. After the patient completes the initial daily portion of the program, subsequent treatment will involve 1-2 sessions per week, typically on a graduated schedule, based on the recommendations of the treatment team.

We incorporate a variety of services as part of intensive outpatient treatment, including:

  • Consultation with clinical director
  • Comprehensive psychiatric assessment
  • Intensive individual therapy
  • Exposure and ritual/response prevention
  • Group therapy
  • Family involvement
  • Patient education and awareness
  • Treatment for co-occurring conditions
  • Coordination with the patient’s regular psychiatrist, therapist, or other mental health professional

Our intensive outpatient program for OCD is an ideal option for those who live 90 minutes or further away from Louisville. In such cases, after the intensive portion of the treatment is complete and the patient returns home, the patient will meet online 1-2 times per week with their therapist for a 60-minute videoconference session for approximately 5 weeks. The initial 3-hour comprehensive assessment can also be completed online.

IOP versus Traditional Outpatient Options

Intensive outpatient treatment offers a higher level of professional involvement and care compared to traditional therapy-as-usual. Regrettably, many mental health programs lack professionals with the experience needed to effectively guide patients toward lasting mastery over their OCD. Traditional therapies that involve talking about the problem rarely result in correcting the problem. Patients may leave their therapist’s office feeling reassured, but this is only a temporary fix and results in no real change.

IOP versus Residential/Inpatient Options

It will cost much more to stay at a residential or inpatient facility than to participate in an IOP. Residential treatment programs include room and board and maintain a full-time staff that is available 24 hours a day. This cost is more than what a patient would spend staying at home or even at a nice hotel. Because IOP participants are not sleeping overnight or relying on the facility for their meals and other needs, IOP treatment costs are significantly lower.

Furthermore, IOP patients have greater autonomy than they would in an inpatient setting. Inpatient psychiatric facilities may lock patients in, restrict use of electronic equipment and personal items, have rigid visiting hours, utilize shared rooming, and limit use of the telephone. This degree of control over patients is not usually necessary for clients with primary OCD. Our psychologists have worked extensively in both inpatient and outpatient settings and bring this experience to bear when treating patients in our IOP.

Our Program: Unique and Effective

Clinical director, Dr. Monnica Williams, designed this unique IOP after working in the Psychiatry Department at the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Edna Foa for four years. At Penn, a 3.5 week intensive program for OCD was offered, but this program was prohibitive for most people who are unable to take 3.5 weeks off of work (or who may need to be accompanied by a family member unable to take that much time off work). The current program was designed based on new research showing that online therapy can be an effective part of the treatment process. Thus, patients need to only spend 2 weeks at the actual treatment facility and the remainder can be done from home. Research suggests that the vast majority of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder respond well to our treatment approach.

Currently, patients at most intensive/residential programs for OCD average a 60-day stay, and treatment is usually only 50% complete by the time patients are released. Patients must then finish treatment with a local clinician, who may or may not have adequate experience providing OCD treatment. Furthermore, patients at these programs may employ bachelors-level technicians (behavioral specialists), who may be working with four patients per session. We think this compromises the quality of care. Our IOP includes daily individual sessions with a licensed masters or doctoral-level therapist in addition to individual work with a therapist assistant (masters-level or graduate student). This degree of expertise and attention makes all the difference when it comes to complete and speedy recovery for our patients. If you are considering another IOP, be sure to ask how much time will be spent individually with a masters or doctoral-level professional.

Planning for Intensive Outpatient Treatment for OCD

Because of the degree of individual attention provided, our intensive outpatient program takes time to schedule. Contact our offices right away if you anticipate participation. A deposit is required to preserve your spot.

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