Teen Intensive Outpatient Program

Teen Substance Use

Substance use during adolescence is a critical issue that requires immediate and comprehensive intervention. Experimentation with drugs and alcohol during the teen years may seem like a common part of growing up, but it can cause significant changes in social behaviors, impact neurological functioning, and result in serious and long-lasting challenges.

It is often hard to help an adolescent understand the danger of substance use. Adolescents may have a hard time forming cause and effect connections between the choices they make today and the long-term effects of those choices tomorrow. Peers play a large role in an adolescent’s conceptualization of the world, and teens face added stressors due to being in the midst of self-exploration and identity development, and are still growing physically and neurologically. Support and intervention for teens struggling with substance use must be meaningful, comprehensive and timely to ensure a full and lasting recovery.

Family and caregiver support is critical for teens enrolled in Root Center’s Intensive Outpatient Program(IOP). The most important thing you can do as the caregiver of a teen with a substance use disorder is to seek knowledge about substance use and ways to support your teen in achieving lasting recovery. Family and caregivers may be asked to join family sessions and other events to show their support, help their teen process challenges, and foster lasting and meaningful change.

What is Teen IOP?

Root Center’s Teen IOP for Substance Use Disorders taps into our 50+ years of recovery expertise. This evidence-based, clinical treatment program is thoughtfully designed to support teens living with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. IOP provides a comprehensive and enriching therapeutic environment that allows teens to participate in intensive treatment while residing at home and engaging in their everyday lives.

Teen IOP Snapshot

  • Ages 13 – 17
  • Daily groups focused on substance use education and relapse prevention
  • Support from peers and family members
  • Healthy environment
  • Licensed, experienced and compassionate counselors

Program Approach and Goals

Root Center embraces a patient-centered approach that incorporates a comprehensive evaluation conducted by a licensed professional, co-construction of an individualized recovery plan, group work, individual therapy and family centered- interventions. The IOP approach offers a structured, short-term treatment program designed for adolescents who have begun to struggle in their day-to-day lives due to Substance Abuse. A good IOP candidate is still able to function at home and in the community, but requires an intervention that is more comprehensive than weekly therapy.

IOP Treatment Goals Include

  • Adolescents learn and incorporate healthy life-management skills, utilizing psychoeducational group modules specifically designed to address and encourage healthy social emotional adolescent behavior.
  • Utilization of multiple evidenced-based approaches including Motivational Enhanced Techniques focused on addressing adolescent ambivalence towards treatment through a non-confrontational approach.
  • Improving functioning in all adolescent domains including at school, home and in the community
  • Encouraging the adolescent to apply learned skills in “real world” environments
  • Providing the adolescent a “safe space” to share, listen and learn

What to Expect

The Teen IOP for Substance Use Disorders consists of three hours of structured outpatient group therapy five days per week. The program typically lasts between 6 and 12 weeks, but the amount of time varies depending on the individual teen’s needs, goals, and progress. Group therapy sessions are facilitated by a team of experienced and caring behavioral health professionals. Participants also participate in individual therapy, family therapy, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) appointments, and medication management sessions as appropriate. Root Center works closely with each individual to assess their needs, explore their goals, and identify a personalized plan of care.

Group therapy sessions are facilitated by a team of experienced and caring behavioral health professionals. Sessions focus on a range of topics including:

  • Relapse prevention
  • Building healthy relationships
  • Adaptive communication
  • Thought and emotion management
  • Mindfulness
  • Problem-solving
  • Understanding and coping with trauma
  • Stress management
  • Life and social skills building

Groups may also focus on specialized topics including trauma, gender-specific concerns, LGBTQ issues, and support for survivors of abuse. These groups work to address the issues underlying substance use disorders, so participants are able to not only stop the use of substances, but also attain a life worth staying well for. This holistic approach to treatment helps participants heal on a fundamental level, and with an emphasis on growth, reflection, and self-knowledge, participants are given the tools and support they need to move through adversity and reach their full potential.

Teen IOP for Substance Use Disorders is often recommended after a teen completes an inpatient detoxification program or when they start a MAT regimen, but IOP can be beneficial at many stages in the recovery process. Therapy sessions are conducted in a small group setting (6–12 participants), and in these groups, participants are able to build supportive peer relationships, and process thoughts and feelings in a positive way. IOP has a robust educational component, and participants and their caregivers gain knowledge in a variety of areas related to wellness and recovery. Teens completing the IOP program will leave with the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to succeed in achieving sustained recovery and fostering a healthy, balanced life.
Family members will be involved in their child’s treatment in a number of important ways. Before an adolescent is admitted to our program, family members will participate in an initial pre-assessment screening. During this assessment, our staff will ask family members a number of important questions about their child’s behavior and level of functioning. The information we gather during this assessment will be one of many ways by which our clinical team will collect information to be used in developing a treatment plan for the adolescent. Once the adolescent is in treatment with us, family members are invited to participate in regularly scheduled family therapy.

Inpatient care typically includes a supervised residential stay at a medical facility where the client is offered 24-hour support and supervision. Individuals enrolled in an inpatient program reside at the facility during the treatment period, and they are offered housing, food, and other amenities during their stay. Participants in an inpatient program for substance use and co-occurring disorders typically participate in a structured schedule of care, with group therapy daily, medical assessment, and regular individual therapy, family therapy, and medication management sessions. 

Inpatient programs can be helpful for individuals with complex medical concerns, severe substance use or mental health disorders, those who have triggering living situations, and those who need increased structure at a given phase in their recovery journey. Inpatient care can be critical in removing triggers, providing a safe, drug-free environment, and actively interrupting the substance use cycle by removing triggers. 

Inpatient has some drawbacks, however. It is generally associated with a higher financial cost, and for some teens, being away from school, pets, loved ones, and other aspects of their lives can be a barrier to getting care. 

IOP differs from inpatient programming in that teens participating in IOP return home after their program each day. In some cases, IOP can provide a more flexible and cost-effective solution to recovery care. Individuals in IOP are able to continue with many aspects of their daily lives. They are able to stay in their home with family, and participate in school and social activities. Teens may opt to enroll in IOP if traditional outpatient programming is not providing enough support for their sustained recovery, and IOP may be used as a step-down after inpatient hospitalization to help ease teens back into a daily routine. 

IOP provides more structure and support than traditional outpatient programming but is not as structured and controlled as a residential stay. Individuals completing IOP are often able to continue individual psychotherapy and group therapy sessions at the outpatient level-of-care with the same clinician. This can be beneficial for individuals who are working through highly complex or personal issues, such as trauma.

Is IOP Right for You or Your Teen?

  • Are you or your teen in need of additional support in your recovery?
  • Would you or your teen benefit from learning additional coping and communication strategies?
  • Are you or your teen committed to recovery, but unable to commit to a residential-style program?
  • Would you like to change the impact that drugs or alcohol have in you or your teen’s everyday life?
  • Is your teen experiencing symptoms that are interfering with his or her well-being

Suitability of IOP is determined during a comprehensive clinical assessment with a master’s-level clinician. The clinician will listen to your concerns, gather information about symptoms and past experiences, and help you determine what treatment options would be most effective in helping you or your teen reach their goals.

If you feel IOP could be a good option for you or a loved one, please reach out to our team so that we may assist in exploring your options and making a plan that works for you.

Payment Options

Root Center accepts all major health insurance plans, including Medicaid, Anthem, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare and Cigna. Because insurance coverage varies by plan, please call today to find out if your specific plan covers our services. A self-pay rate is also available.

Appropriateness for IOP can be determined through a clinical assessment at your first appointment with a mental health professional at Root Center.

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