Intensive Outpatient Program

Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs with flexible scheduling.

In an intensive outpatient program (IOP), you’ll receive clinical services, therapy, and recovery support while you manage life in the real world. An IOP helps you focus on your recovery without taking time away from your work or loved ones.

What Is IOP?

An IOP’s clinical programming occurs three to five days per week for three hours each day. All programs must offer at least nine hours of treatment per week. Some facilities include upwards of 15 hours. Many clients transition to IOP after completing residential or partial hospitalization treatment.

IOP provides you with comprehensive addiction treatment, but you won’t live at an addiction treatment facility. You’ll continue your regular responsibilities and obligations, like work, school, or caring for your family. This balance is essential because successful recovery means managing your recovery while living in the real world.

Is IOP Right for Me?

An intensive outpatient program provides a high level of care but still offers flexibility to continue living at home. An IOP might be right for you if:

  • You finished medical detox and are transitioning to a lower level of care.
  • You have responsibilities at home or work that you can’t leave behind – An IOP allows you to continue living at home and working, if needed. This makes IOPs especially attractive to people who are the primary caretakers of their families or who can’t take time off work.
  • You don’t need 24/7 care – If you suffer from co-occurring medical or mental health conditions, you may need round-the-clock care, particularly in the early stages of treatment. If that’s the case, an inpatient program may be better for you at this time.
  • You can commit to the requirements of the program – You’ll have support from your treatment team, and they’ll teach you how to maximize your time in the program.

In an IOP, your treatment will be tailored to your needs. All aspects of your care can work to get you closer to stability in sobriety.

What Is IOP Like?

IOP scheduling tends to be flexible. You can attend programming in either the daytime or evening. This flexibility is beneficial for people with strict work or school schedules. Most IOP services occur within a single treatment facility. You may live at home or in a sober living house.

IOPs are staffed with:

  • Physicians
  • Psychiatrists
  • Therapists
  • Other clinicians
  • Support staff

You can expect to work with all these professionals throughout your program.

Typical IOP programming consists of several components:

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy offers a safe and supportive environment for exploring your thoughts and feelings. Your therapist will help you with the issues that matter most to you and your recovery journey. Those could include:

  • Trauma support
  • Family dynamics
  • Self-esteem
  • Co-occurring mental illnesses

Group Therapy

Group therapy combines education with peer support. You’ll be surrounded by clients experiencing the same stressors and feelings as you. This camaraderie can be invaluable in helping you cope with the early stages of recovery. Groups cover topics like:

  • Psychoeducation
  • Social skills training
  • Expressive therapy (art, music, tai chi, yoga, comedy)
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Experiential activities
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Self-esteem and wellness
  • Relapse prevention

Family Therapy

Addiction is a family disease. Often, loved ones need their own education and support on setting boundaries. Family therapy helps families improve their communication and strengthen their respect for one another. If you’re in a relationship, your therapist may also recommend couples or marital counseling.

Case Management

Case managers help coordinate client care. Your case manager will meet with you to review your ongoing struggles and needs. They often help clients by providing various resources, including:

  • Legal assistance (including talking with lawyers and probation officers)
  • Medical support
  • Housing
  • Financial relief

Drug Testing

Drug testing may consist of a simple urine or a saliva test. It’s a fundamental part of any successful treatment. Testing keeps you and other clients safe. In IOP, our trained staff will randomly screen all clients for drug and alcohol use.

Aftercare Clubs (at Select Locations)

Aftercare is a crucial part of recovery because it keeps you anchored in the support and motivation you built in treatment. Aftercare can include many things. Usually, it entails alumni support and ongoing sober fun and recreation.

Types of Therapies in an IOP

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) outlines the many therapies you may encounter in an IOP, depending on the program. Individual, family, and group therapies are common, but the therapy methods may vary.

Your therapist could use any combination of the following therapies in both individual and group sessions:

Contingency management – This is also known as motivational incentives, and it uses positive reinforcement to help you stay on track with your recovery. Some programs give out vouchers for every negative drug test. Other programs provide chances to win prizes at raffles. These may be worth anywhere from $1 to $100. The goal is to encourage positive steps in recovery.

The Matrix Model – This common therapy is mostly used for clients who struggle with methamphetamine and other stimulant abuse. You’ll receive education, support, and assistance through self-help programs. The goal is to abstain from substances and live a productive, drug-free life. Your therapist will help guide you to solutions. You can expect homework with this method of treatment.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – CBT believes you can change your learning patterns and unlearn the behaviors that cause you to abuse substances. You’ll work with a therapist to identify problematic thinking patterns and change them. In doing so, you can gradually change your destructive behaviors.

How Is IOP Different from Other Programs?

IOP is less intensive and more flexible than residential or inpatient treatment programs. You don’t have care 24/7, and you don’t live in a treatment facility. You’re free to be in the world while also being accountable for your recovery.

Some clients “step down” into IOP after completing a higher level of outpatient care, like a partial hospitalization program, which requires up to 30 hours of treatment per week. With this plan, you integrate freedom—and responsibilities—slowly, in calculated steps. If you’re dealing with a more mild substance use disorder, you may start recovery directly in an IOP.

How Long Do I Need to Be in IOP?

IOP doesn’t have a set length of time. Instead, your team will decide the best course of treatment for you. The timeline may vary based on:

  • The severity of your addiction
  • Previous history of treatment episodes
  • Your participation in and willingness to participate in the program
  • Co-occurring mental health issues, like depression or anxiety
  • Stressors and triggers that could increase the likelihood of relapse after completing treatment

There are many benefits associated with completing long-term treatment. First, you’ll have ongoing support from staff and other clients, who relate to you and are rooting for you! You’ll be associating with other people who value recovery. Moreover, accountability and consistency represent some of the core components of sustained change.

What Happens After IOP?

Many people transition to basic outpatient care after IOP. Outpatient is the lowest level of care. Once you’re there, you’ll typically receive services for about three to six hours per week.

Aftercare remains essential. Many successful clients continue engaging in long-term therapy and support groups years after completing treatment. At Footprints to Recovery, we have an awesome alumni community; learn more here.

Does Insurance Cover IOP?

Insurance may cover some or all of your IOP treatment.

Inpatient or residential treatment options are usually covered for one to six weeks, depending on your plan. After a certain amount of time, you may be expected to transfer to an outpatient program, which can include an IOP. Some plans may cover partial hospitalization programs, which means you attend a rigorous program about five days week.

Insurance plans generally expect outpatient care to include:

  • Peer group meetings or 12-step program attendance
  • Therapy (family, individual, or group)
  • Education on the effects of substance or alcohol abuse
  • Medical care

An admissions counselor can review your insurance policy, deductible, and co-pay. Click here to verify your insurance with Footprints to Recovery.

If your insurance doesn’t cover the services you need, don’t worry; you have options. You can finance your treatment with a loan, or you can use a flexible private pay option. Contact our admissions staff at Footprints to Recovery, and we’ll work with you!

IOP can be an integral part of your healing process. You’ll gain useful skills for managing your addiction, and you’ll learn how to sustain your recovery while managing your daily routine.

Are you ready to get help for your addiction? At Footprints to Recovery, we have a comprehensive intensive outpatient program, and we’re here to support you! Contact us today to learn more.


  • 3 to 5 days per week, 3 hours per day
  • Evening and day schedules
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Case management
  • Aftercare clubs (select locations)


  • Psychoeducation
  • Didactic lectures
  • Process-based programming
  • Specialized and culturally specific programming
  • Mutual self-help programming
  • Skills training
  • Expressive therapy (yoga, tai chi, art, music, comedy)
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Community support
  • Experiential programming
  • Nutritional counseling and other wellness initiatives
  • Recreational programming



Additional Treatment Programs

We offer a number of levels of care at our drug rehab centers that cater to the needs of your specific situation.

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We Can Help Explain IOP

Have questions about our how intensive outpatient treatment programs work? Our compassionate staff at Footprints to Recovery is standing by to answer any questions you might have. We’re waiting to hear from you!

(855) 628-2899

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