Making the decision to prioritize your mental health by starting an outpatient program can be a great first step toward healing. Yet, with so many options available for treatment, you may be left with some questions. How do outpatient programs work? And what can you expect during treatment?

Old Vineyard Behavioral Health Services is here to answer your questions. In this article, we dive into exactly what to expect when you start an outpatient program. From the initial intake process to the eventual completion of the program and continued support options, we equip you with the information you need to approach your outpatient treatment with confidence.

What Is an Outpatient Program?

An outpatient program is a type of mental health program that enables people to receive care while still living at home. This means that they do not have to stay at a facility or be away from their families and daily responsibilities while receiving care. As a result, outpatient programs are often a more flexible and inexpensive option than their more rigorous counterpart, inpatient programs.

Outpatient programs are often used as a step down from inpatient treatment or as a standalone treatment option for those with less severe conditions. The duration and frequency of the program varies depending on the type of outpatient program and the unique needs of the patient. Generally speaking, however, outpatient programs meet 3-5 times per week and sessions can last anywhere between 3-8 hours.

There are two types of outpatient programs: partial hospitalization program (PHP) and intensive outpatient program (IOP). Each program typically involves a combination of therapy, medication management and supportive services (such as group or family counseling). The goal of outpatient programs is to help patients understand their mental illness and equip them with the tools they need to increase their mental well-being.

Who Can Benefit From Outpatient Programs?

The truth is, thanks to the flexibility and individualized treatment outpatient programs provide, anyone can benefit from them. However, outpatient programs can be especially beneficial to people who:

  • Have a supportive home environment
  • Have a strong support system
  • Are motivated to make positive changes
  • Have a mild to moderate mental health or substance abuse issue
  • Have completed inpatient treatment and need continued support

What to Expect From an Outpatient Program

Knowing what to expect when considering an outpatient program can help the transition into treatment be as smooth and seamless as possible. While each program may vary, the following are some common elements you can expect to find in an outpatient program.

Intake and assessment

The first step in an outpatient program is typically the intake and assessment process. This involves meeting with a therapist or other medical professional to discuss your mental health history, current concern and treatment goals. This information will help determine several things, such as whether to opt for a partial hospitalization or an intensive outpatient program.

Individualized treatment plan

Based on the intake and assessment, a personalized treatment plan will be created for you. This plan will outline the specific therapies, medications and supportive services that will be a part of your treatment.

A mental health professional will determine, for example, whether you would benefit from individual therapy or group therapy. They will also determine which kind of therapeutic treatment would be most beneficial for your needs, with common treatments being cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT).

Regular therapy sessions

Therapy sessions will be a regular part of your outpatient program. The frequency of your sessions will depend on the type of program you’re in. These sessions may use a combination of individual, group or even family therapy based on your personalized plan. Therapy sessions will focus on addressing your specific concerns and developing coping mechanisms to manage your symptoms.

Medication management

For some, medication management may be prescribed as part of your treatment plan. Medication management involves having regular meetings with your psychiatrist (or other medical professional) to monitor the medication you have been prescribed. This can be a delicate process, as it may take time to figure out the best dose and type of medication to alleviate your symptoms.

Supportive services

Supportive services may include case management, peer support and educational workshops. These services are designed to provide you with the resources and tools you need to manage your mental health or substance abuse issues effectively.

Continued support

The journey doesn’t end when you complete an outpatient program. Outpatient programs often provide continued support after the program has ended. This may include follow-up therapy sessions, support groups or other resources to help you maintain your progress and prevent mental health deterioration.

Contact 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 855-602-5920 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.