What is an IOP? – Christian Family Solutions


Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are a vital step towards healing for individuals with acute symptoms. If you, a loved one, or a patient/client is struggling to function on a daily basis or is not improving with outpatient therapy, an IOP may provide the right dose of therapy. The goal is to stop destructive thoughts, heal the hurt, and build behavioral skills before they become more serious or require hospitalization or inpatient care.

IOPs at Christian Family Solutions are anchored in evidence-based approaches such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to equip individuals with the necessary tools to successfully navigate life’s complexities. Graduates of our IOPs have skills they can use to not only survive life challenges – but thrive in personal relationships, work, school and beyond.

Understanding a DBT Based IOP

The DBT skills therapy model is designed to teach individuals new techniques that enhance day-to-day functioning and foster emotional well-being. The core skills addressed in in our IOPs include:

  • Mindfulness: the ability to be fully present in the moment
  • Distress Tolerance: strategies to navigate challenging situations effectively
  • Emotional Regulation: tools to understand and manage them constructively
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: enhanced communication and relational skills

The Structure of an IOP

Our DBT based IOPs offer a higher level of care than traditional outpatient counseling. With sessions typically scheduled four days a week for three hours per day, individuals have the opportunity to immerse themselves in therapeutic interventions while still maintaining their community ties and daily routines. They also have the opportunity to practice and apply the skills they learn in their day-to-day lives as they interact with family, friends, and co-workers.

Program participants are often experiencing some of the following when admitted to an IOP:

  • Safety concerns related to thoughts of suicidal ideation or self-harm
  • Challenges in emotion regulation, often leading to difficulties in relationships
  • Impairment in work or school performance
  • Limited progress with outpatient care
  • Have recently been admitted for inpatient care and are looking for continued care as they transition back to their home and work communities

Once enrolled, individuals engage in group therapy sessions, typically lasting 4-8 weeks, where they receive a blend of DBT skills training, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, occupational therapy, psychoeducation, and other therapeutic activities. Medication management is also available as needed.

The Power of IOP Group Therapy

While a group setting may be intimidating at first, it provides a non-judgmental environment where individuals can share experiences, practice newly acquired skills, and receive feedback from peers and therapists alike. Through the support of the group, participants realize they are not alone in their struggles, and foster a sense of belonging and confidence in their new skills. Read here for more information on the benefits of group therapy.

Integration of Faith

At Christian Family Solutions, we understand the importance of aligning therapy with personal values and faith beliefs. Our IOPs encourage individuals to integrate their faith into the treatment process, drawing strength from Biblical principles and exploring how these principles can inform their journey towards healing and growth. If a client is not ready to talk about their faith, that’s okay. We’ll meet them where they are, explaining how key Scripture passages relate to the skills being taught.

The faith integrated approach creates meaningful, effective outcomes. The American Counseling Association acknowledges that spiritual wellness is important to general mental wellbeing (ACA, 2014)1. Christian Family Solutions therapists are culturally informed, taking a client’s treatment plan and progress into account while integrating truths of Scripture.

Time Well-Spent

While committing to an IOP may require adjustments to one’s schedule, the investment in intensive treatment yields invaluable benefits. By addressing symptoms promptly and comprehensively, individuals can avoid the escalation of mental health challenges and experience marked improvements in their overall well-being. They feel better, faster.

An intensive outpatient program (IOP), particularly one rooted in evidence-based DBT principles and faith-based values, offers a holistic approach to mental health treatment. By equipping individuals with essential skills, fostering group support, and integrating faith into therapy, participants can experience lasting healing and the full life that God intends for each of his dear children.

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10).

If you would like to learn more about the Adult Intensive Outpatient Program – a DBT Skills-building IOP at Christian Family Solutionsplease contact us. Our team is here to help at 800-438-1772.

1American Counseling Association 2014 ACA Code of Ethics


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