IOP – Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re wondering whether IOP may be right for you, below are answers to the most common questions we receive. Don’t see your question? Just call our office at 314-388-2225, and we’re happy to give you the information you need.

What is an intensive outpatient program (IOP)?

IOP is a short-term, intensive treatment designed to get results fast – no matter whether you’re struggling with trauma, treatment-resistant depression, severe anxiety, PTSD, or other major mental health challenges. It provides an escalated level of treatment even when one-on-one visits with a counselor or psychiatrist don’t quite cut it for you.

The focal point of treatment is group therapy. These sessions are led by a licensed therapist. And they’re designed to provide foundational skills and help you work through the specific challenges you’re facing right now in your life. Being a part of a supportive group can provide you strength, courage, and insight no matter what challenges you’re going through.

How does IOP compare to traditional therapy?

Intensive outpatient treatment is not like traditional psychotherapy or regular med management with a psychiatrist, which can go on for years. That kind of treatment is more about “maintenance” – keeping someone on the move forward instead of backward. Instead, IOP is a clear-cut intervention. The goal is marked improvement in as short a time as possible.

How short? The exact amount of time varies person to person depending on their needs/progress. But typically, people can expect to be in the program (and see results) over 6-12 weeks.

How does the IOP process work?

Once you’ve determined that this type of treatment would be right for you, we start by having you establish goals that you want to meet. We take those “stated goals” to the treatment team. This team is comprised of a therapist, psychiatrist, care coordinator, and any other relevant staff. The team takes your goals and develops a specific treatment plan with organized steps and interventions. Your progress is monitored by the team on a bi-weekly basis.

Most of your treatment will take place in a group setting. This includes 3 sessions per week; each 3 hours in length. You’ll also meet one-one-one with a psychiatrist for monthly evaluation and possibly a therapist, as needed. These sessions will continue until discharge.

How does IOP compare to inpatient care?

IOP does have some similarities to a residential program or other forms of inpatient care. You’ll have the support of a full treatment team (therapist, care coordinator, psychiatrist, etc.). And you’ll receive direct, personalized care.

However, with IOP you’ll still be able to live at home during treatment. This means you can stay connected to your community and support systems while receiving the care you need.

Will attending IOP cure my depression, anxiety, or PTSD?

No. Any program or treatment that promises a complete cure is being dishonest with you. And we’re not interested in giving you unrealistic expectations about what’s possible with treatment.

That said, IOP is designed to help give you fast relief, empower you with practical tools, help you navigate your current challenges, and turn your situation around in a short period of time. Those who commit to their treatment do often see dramatic results… starting in their first couple sessions.

We track our clients’ progress objectively at Plural Healthcare using a number of clinical assessments. On average, engaged clients report seeing…

Depression Symptoms
34% Reduction
Anxiety Symptoms
39% Decrease
Overall Wellbeing
40% Improvement

* Averages based on 2023 self-reported scores (PHQ-9, GAD-7, Schwartz Outcome Scale) from intake to discharge. Not everyone will experience the same results. But this gives an idea of what’s possible.

Do I need to take medications with IOP?

It depends on your situation. Taking medications is not required. But they may be helpful in some cases. With intensive outpatient treatment, medication alone may not be enough you to a better place. IOP alone might not either, in some cases. And it sometimes requires a dual approach, combined with your own efforts.

That’s why when you’re admitted into IOP, one of the first things we do is give you a full evaluation with a board-certified psychiatrist. If appropriate, they will prescribe any needed medications.

What areas are addressed in an IOP?

If you are struggling with:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Past Trauma
  • PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress)
  • Traumatic grief and loss
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Stress or Burnout
  • Work or Relationship Challenges
  • LGBTQ Issues

Then you may want to consider this treatment option.

How soon can I get started?

As soon as possible! When you call our office, we’ll ask a few questions to see if IOP might be a good fit for your situation. Then we’ll try to get your psychiatric evaluation scheduled within a week. This evaluation is used to to help create your custom treatment plan. And it allows us to get authorization from your insurance for IOP – so you can get into the group sessions right away.

When are the IOP sessions?

IOP sessions are scheduled for 3 days a week and are typically from 4:30pm to 7:30pm.

Do I need to take off work to do IOP?

We recommend it, but taking leave from work is not a requirement.

IOP is different than being in a hospital or residential program. You’ll be able to still live at home and continue your day-to-day routines while getting treatment. And since most group sessions take place in the evening, you may choose to keep working while going through IOP.

However, most people find it helpful to take a break from the stresses of their job or school. That way they can better focus on their treatment. If you need to take leave for mental health reasons, we’re here to help take care of all necessary paperwork.

Is IOP covered by insurance?

Yes. IOP is covered by most major private insurance plans. We can take both in-network and out-of-network plans. We also have self-payment options for those without insurance. Contact us today for more information.

We believe in being upfront about financial costs. After your free consult, we’ll confirm coverage with your insurance and provide you with a detailed financial estimate (based on your insurance plan, deductible, and out-of-pocket maximum). Some of the insurances we accept are:

  • In-Network Insurance Providers
    • Aetna
    • Beacon
  • Out-of-Network Insurance Providers*
    • Anthem Blue Cross
    • Blue Cross Blue Shield
    • United Healthcare
    • Cigna
    • Healthlink
    • Coventry
    • Magellan
    • ComPsych

* Plural Healthcare recently received CARF Accreditation. And hope to complete the process of becoming an in-network provider for these insurance plans in the next 1-2 months.

** Unfortunately, IOP is not a covered treatment by Medicare or Medicaid. And we’re unable to accept those plans (including supplemental plans).

My loved one is struggling with their mental health… can I get them into your program?

We’re here to be a resource for you and your loved ones. And if you’re wondering if IOP may help someone you care about, please don’t hesitate to reach out for more information. However, we do ask that your loved one contacts us as well.

We believe in a person-centered approach, where individuals are treated with dignity and take responsibility for their own care. IOP is not a passive treatment that just happens to someone. And it’s important that our clients are fully enrolled in their treatment.

That’s why prefer each client to speak with us directly. They need to decide for themselves that IOP is right for them… and have confidence that it can help them reach their goals. Then they will be committed to participating in the program and will be more likely to see positive results.

Is IOP is right for me?

IOP provides focused treatment to those facing serious mental health challenges. And it’s not for everyone. However, if you’re at all curious about how it may help you – or if you just want to get a bit more information – please call us today for a free consultation.

We’ll spend some time getting to know you and your situation. We’ll help you determine what mental health care is best for you. And if IOP is a fit, we’ll get you into a program as soon as possible.

Note: If IOP doesn’t end up being right for you, don’t worry. We have a trusted network of providers we can refer you to based on your specific needs.

How do I get started?

You may call our team at 314-388-2225 or send us a message here.