New England Medical Group logo in white

What's the Difference Between PHP, IOP, and OP?

February 9, 2022

Entering treatment for substance abuse takes courage and commitment, but it can also be confusing. When grappling with what’s likely one of the biggest decisions of their lives, it’s not uncommon for people in this position to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of their options.

While acknowledging the problem and choosing a treatment center are the first steps on this long journey, those are just two of many. Depending on the center, clients may also have their choice of treatment method. Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and Outpatient Program (OP) are among the most popular types of treatment, with each offering the client a different experience and level of control. To help clear any confusion, here’s a quick look at how PHP, IOP, and OP work and their differences.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

In a lot of ways, PHP is what happens when you marry structure with flexibility. The PHP level of care is ideal for those battling severe addiction who require a coordinated schedule but may not need the around-the-clock supervision or care they would find in an inpatient program. This flexibility means that clients enrolled in a PHP can still live in their own homes while attending a regularly scheduled treatment program at a local treatment center.

Some clients use PHP as a steppingstone program as they transition from more stringent inpatient programs to outpatient programs that offer more flexibility. As with any successful substance use disorder program, PHP relies on the client developing a meaningful relationship with their care team that’s built on trust.

Sessions typically take place Monday through Friday for most of the day, with clients developing new life skills via behavioral therapy sessions and peer support groups. One component of PHP that most clients find particularly rewarding is building the self-confidence needed to live a clean and sober life while living outside of a formal treatment center.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Though IOP offers a similar organization and structure as PHP, IOP provides even more flexibility. Because it’s less stringent, IOP is often the next step after PHP for those on their journey to sobriety.

While not quite as time-intensive or demanding as PHP, IOP does require up to 30 hours per week, with clients committing to the program for several months at a time. Still, IOP clients can often maintain their employment and the daily or weekly routines that are so important for healthy living. The cost to complete an IOP is also less than PHP because it involves less hands-on treatment.

The majority of IOP clients find themselves in treatment after a medical or clinical assessment identifies they have a substance use disorder. Like PHP, IOP clients participate in both group and individual therapy sessions on a regular basis, with a goal of gaining coping and life skills that set them up for success. Since clients do experience freedom and flexibility at this stage, learning relapse prevention methods is an important part of the IOP process. However, it’s essential that all substance use program clients recognize that relapse doesn’t mean failure. It just means that they must alter their current plan to reach sobriety.

Outpatient Program (OP)

OP is the most flexible of the three programs and is the most accommodating to a client’s schedule. OP is best suited for those clients battling mild substance use disorder or who have successfully completed more rigorous programs like residential treatment, PHP, or IOP.

Some OP situations are so flexible that clients can even schedule treatment in the evening around their work, family, or social commitments. Much like PHP and IOP, OP clients typically participate in group and individual counseling sessions and may discuss topics like family dynamics, meditation, and personality conflicts.

Of all the levels of care, OP clients have the most opportunity to put the skills they have gained in treatment to use in real-life situations. Additionally, the cost to complete OP is the lowest because it requires the least hands-on treatment.

Treatment at New England Medical Group

We understand that not everyone seeking a substance use disorder program wants the same type of treatment. That’s why we offer both PHP and IOP levels of care to ensure clients find a program that meets their unique needs.

Our PHP sessions are scheduled Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. With IOP, clients can choose from either daytime or evening hours. Daytime sessions take place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, while our evening sessions are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

To learn more about PHP and IOP and discover which is right for you, complete our online intake form. We’ll be in touch soon.

Joint Commissions National Quality Approval seal
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram