7 Tips for Creating a Successful Intensive Outpatient Mental Health Program

As a behavioral health treatment center, you will have all types of people walk through your door. Each person you serve is unique with different needs and backgrounds.

When you provide care for all lifestyles and situations, you can ensure that everyone has access to the care they need.

So, while you may have an effective program for the people you serve at your treatment center, having a successful intensive outpatient program will help you break down more barriers to receiving mental health treatment.

In this article, we will discuss 7 tips for creating a successful, intensive outpatient mental health program.

What is Intensive Outpatient Treatment?

IOP, or intensive outpatient treatment, is created to provide care to the people you serve outside of your rehab facility. This is typically when the individual does not need to live at the treatment facility while going through recovery.

Many treatment centers will use this as a transition between detox and full recovery or for individuals who have mild mental health disorders.

This may be the only option for some of the people you serve because they do not have the finances or time to dedicate to living at the treatment center.

What Does Treatment Entail?

So what type of treatments should your IOP include for the people you serve?

  • Meeting with psychiatrists
  • Group therapy
  • One-on-one sessions with counselors
  • Seeing other doctors to address symptoms

Now for the next question… why is this different than a typical inpatient program?

How Does it Differ From Inpatient Therapy?

A program you create for inpatient therapy will not always work for an individual going through IOP. This is because they will not have the round-the-clock care they get living at a treatment center.

Additionally, when they are going through treatment at home, they may still be surrounded by the very thing they are seeking treatment for.

But the differences don’t just affect the people you serve they also affect your treatment center. You do not have as much control of the process as you do with inpatient therapy, so you need to put in the extra work.

7 Tips for Creating an Intensive Outpatient Mental Health Program

So how can you create a successful outpatient program and ensure the people you serve are able to recover?

1. Build Rapport

Intensive Outpatient Mental Health Program IOP

Before an individual is able to feel comfortable sharing with you, you need to build a relationship. Actively listening to them and their needs shows you are invested in their success.

If you are unable to meet with the person you serve, take a look at any notes from their initial visit to get a better understanding of their experience so far.

2. Gather Information

The more data you have on the person you serve’s medical history, the better you can attend to their needs. Make sure you obtain their information from their general practitioner and generate some questions to ask the person served directly.

Also, make sure you are conducting an assessment to identify any pain points in your outpatient CDI program.

3. Identify Goals of Persons Served

Intensive Outpatient Program Planning

To engage the person you are serving, you should ask them questions about their goals. This makes them feel more invested in their recovery because they are more in control.

This also ensures the person you are serving that their therapist knows what they would like to accomplish, making them more confident in the care they receive.

Asking questions may even help them uncover additional goals that they hadn’t thought of. Moreover, when they have an end goal in mind, the journey feels a lot easier because there is a clear path.

4. Determine the Best Communication Style

There’s nothing worse than feeling like just another number. That’s why it is crucial to personalize all communication with the people you serve for your intensive outpatient mental health program. For instance, you can incorporate personalized email campaigns into your overall behavioral health marketing strategy to reach your out-of-office patients.

Furthermore, identify any communication barriers and determine a solution to help reduce frustration. An individual may have cognitive deficits or speak another language, so you need to be able to adapt.

Taking time to address these challenges shows the person you serve that you care about them and are willing to go the extra mile.

Importance of Communication

When the person you serve is doing outpatient treatment, you can’t just visit their room to check up on them. So, you must have a way to efficiently check in.

Some of the people you serve will not always have 24/7 access to the internet or a phone. During their initial assessment, make sure you ask how you can get ahold of them and share how they can get in contact with you.

5. Optimize Environment

Optimize Environment for IOP

Just as you’d tailor your communication for the person you serve, you also want to optimize the environment for their needs.

For example, if they have a neurological injury or have chronic migraines, you wouldn’t want to put them in a place that would be overstimulating.

Additionally, if you are going to be discussing personal information, they may feel more comfortable opening up in a private setting as opposed to an open area.

6. Involve Family & Caregivers

In order to guarantee success, you need to ensure that the person you serve is getting the support they need.

You will not be around to make sure they are following their plan, so you need to involve those who will be there to hold them accountable.

Additionally, it is beneficial to get family members or caregivers involved early on in the process, not wait until discharge. By easing them in while the persons served is still in the treatment facility, they won’t get overwhelmed with a bunch of responsibility all at once.

7. Get Support From A Consultant

Just like the people you serve need support, so do you. While it is never easy to admit that you need help, delivering the best possible care should be your priority.

Consult with behavioral health specialists who have experience and have put in the time to refine their processes. They are also usually the first to hear about the latest techniques and keep up with industry changes.

Future Considerations

  1. Provide Flexibility – Mobility with treatment times and days can help patients get care around their schedules, which increases the chances of continuation.
  2. Consider Core Program Elements of IOT – A single parent or someone who does not have a car may need child care or transportation provided.
  3. Include a Mix of Individual & Group Therapy – Group counseling can provide a supportive environment, while individual therapy can allow them to open up and address underlying issues.
  4. Support Your Staff – Providing education, such as CEU opportunities and certifications as well as support, can help improve the quality of their work.
  5. Continuously Conduct Assessments – There is always room for improvement. By conducting surveys from the people you serve and your staff, you can find pain points in your processes.

Build A Successful IOP with C4 Consulting

Get the tools and knowledge you need to build a successful, intensive outpatient mental health program with our expert consultants.

Our behavioral health consultants have years of experience developing outpatient programs for mental health treatment centers. They know how to avoid pitfalls that others treatment centers may stumble upon and can streamline your program’s growth.

Speak to a consultant today and develop a successful outpatient program for the people you serve.