Choosing to participate in an outpatient program can feel overwhelming. You may have a lot of questions about the program, treatment methods and more that leave you feeling like you’re in the dark.

Fortunately, Old Vineyard Behavioral Health Services is here to help. Below, we have compiled our top nine frequently asked questions about outpatient programs. By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped to start treatment with the clarity and peace of mind you need.

Frequently Asked Questions About Outpatient Programs

1. What is an outpatient program?

The very first thing you should understand when undertaking your mental health journey is the meaning of “outpatient program.”

An outpatient program is a type of mental health program where people receive professional care from places such as behavioral health centers, hospitals or a therapist’s office. They enable people to receive care without living in a treatment facility, giving people the freedom and flexibility to continue work, school or other everyday responsibilities while still receiving structured support. 

Outpatient treatment typically involves a combination of therapy sessions, support groups and medication management (where applicable).

2. What’s the difference between inpatient and outpatient programs?

Another important question involves understanding the difference between inpatient and outpatient programs. While both are beneficial for those with mental health concerns, inpatient programs present significant differences from outpatient programs.

  • Inpatient programs require patients to live in a residential/psychiatric facility during the duration of the program, while outpatient treatment does not.
  • Inpatient programs provide 24/7 support and monitoring in a structured environment of care, while outpatient programs meet on a regular weekly schedule.
  • Inpatient programs are designed for those struggling with severe, at times life-threatening mental health issues. Outpatient treatment, on the other hand, helps those who can still manage their daily lives but need additional mental health support.
  • Inpatient programs are usually more expensive, while outpatient programs tend to be more affordable.
  • Inpatient programs are usually short-term solutions, helping people achieve crisis stabilization and supporting them as they learn how to reintegrate into the world. Outpatient treatment, depending on the type, can be a long-term commitment.

3. What types of outpatient programs are available?

Overall, there are usually two types of outpatient programs.

The first type is the partial hospitalization program, or PHP. PHPs are the most intensive kind of outpatient program, meeting for 4-8 hours five days a week. They are usually the first step down from an inpatient program, and light snacks and beverages are usually provided to those who partake in them.

The second type of outpatient program is the intensive outpatient program, or IOP. IOPs are a less intensive version of PHPs, usually meeting three days a week for 2-3 hours at a time. An IOP may be the next step down from a PHP, but they are also popular among those with mild mental health symptoms that need additional support.

4. What conditions can be treated in an outpatient program?

One of the main benefits of outpatient programs is that they can treat a wide range of conditions. These may include:

Outpatient treatment is always individualized to meet each person’s needs. This means that although two people with the same condition start an outpatient program, their treatment plans might look different.

5. Who benefits from outpatient programs?

Anyone can benefit from outpatient treatment. With that said, we have found that outpatient programs are especially beneficial to those who:

  • Have a strong support system
  • Need additional mental health support
  • Want to learn healthy coping mechanisms
  • Have mild to moderate mental health or substance abuse issues
  • Have previously completed inpatient treatment and need continued support

6. How long does an outpatient program last?

Outpatient treatment length varies depending on the person’s unique needs, progress and type of program. Some programs, such as PHPs, usually last two to three weeks. IOPs, on the other hand, may last six to eight weeks. However, the duration of the program is always determined by the person’s progress, needs and goals. This gives the programs the flexibility to extend to meet the person’s needs.

7. How do outpatient programs work?

Outpatient programs vary from program to program. However, the following steps can provide a guideline for understanding how outpatient programs work:

  • Intake and assessment
  • Creation of an individualized treatment plan
  • Regular therapy sessions
  • Medication management (where applicable)
  • Access to support systems

8. Are outpatient programs covered by insurance?

As with some of the other questions, the answer to this question is: it depends.

Many insurance plans do provide coverage for outpatient programs. However, the amount and length that is covered may depend on each person’s specific plan. To be as prepared as possible, check with your insurance provider to determine which services are covered and what out-of-pocket expenses you may want to prepare for.

The admissions team at Old Vineyard Behavioral Health Services can help you understand your coverage and confirm your benefits with your health provider. Be sure to check out our page on insurance information to learn more.

9. Should family be involved in outpatient treatment?

In most cases, we strongly encourage family involvement in outpatient treatment. It can be difficult to watch your loved one go through mental health struggles. However, there are ways you can help and get involved both during and beyond treatment.

Help Is Waiting at Old Vineyard Behavioral Health Services

At Old Vineyard Behavioral Health Services, we understand that sometimes life just feels too heavy, but you are not alone. Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, our compassionate team provides a judgment-free path to recovery. Old Vineyard’s outpatient programs treat adolescents, adults and seniors.

We are here to help out. Reach out at 855-576-5920 or complete this form to get started on your path to recovery today.

If you are in crisis and need assistance immediately, call 911 or 988 for the Suicide Prevention Hotline.


About Old Vineyard Behavioral Health Services

Old Vineyard Behavioral Health Services is a treatment center that provides compassionate inpatient and outpatient treatment to help those achieve meaningful mental health and wellness. We treat a variety of behavioral health disorders including trauma, depression, mood disorders and more.

Our team of dedicated staff pride themselves on creating a safe and welcoming environment for all of our patients and their loved ones. Some of our services include our treatment, specialty and outpatient programs. Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, we provide a beautiful, campus-like atmosphere.

To schedule a consultation with us or for more information, please call 855-602-5920.