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Intensive Outpatient Treatment

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.”

Robbert Collier

Making small efforts every day while living with substance use or mental health disorders can be challenging and overwhelming, no matter how small they are. However, receiving treatment can give you the support and skills necessary to make the slightest effort easier. In 2022, 217,000 Kentuckians received treatment for a substance use disorder, and 879,000 received treatment for a mental health concern

At SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky, we solve unmet needs. One way we do this is by providing individualized treatment for adolescents and adults that allows them to make those small efforts day in and day out. Our intensive outpatient programming (IOP) for adults and adolescents is one way these age groups can achieve this. 

What We Treat: Long-Term Support Needs for Substance Use Disorders

Following the completion of an inpatient or partial hospitalization program (PHP), many individuals find themselves questioning their path forward. They may recognize they no longer need the constant care provided during inpatient and PHP, but they still feel the need for ongoing support and structure in the next steps of their recovery. A traditional once-weekly outpatient program may not be able to provide them with this need. 

IOP treatment can benefit many people who are recovering from a substance use or mental health disorder. For example, someone requiring meth treatment won’t need an inpatient detox program as withdrawal symptoms don’t last long and aren’t usually dangerous. If they are in an environment where they can safely be away from the temptation of the substance, IOP may be a great option for them. 

People who attend IOP following an inpatient or PHP program can continue to grow their long-term support. During IOP, you will continue to form relationships with peers who will understand your emotions and situations. This newfound support system can be something you can lean on throughout your recovery journey. 

It can also be great for individuals who don’t have the schedule to attend regular inpatient treatment. Perhaps your job does not allow you to take time off for an extended period. Or perhaps you have responsibilities that require your constant attention or finances, and attending inpatient or PHP is not an option for your needs. IOP can be a great alternative as it only requires a few hours of your time each week. 

Why Would You Choose an IOP Over Inpatient Treatment?

Each person’s journey with mental health or substance use disorders is unique, which means not everyone will require inpatient treatment. While inpatient care offers a foundational sense of stability and security as individuals begin their recovery, it is not always necessary for everyone looking for treatment. However, they may also need support beyond what a traditional once-a-week treatment program can provide. IOP can be the most suitable choice in these cases.

Inpatient care requires individuals to stay at a facility for some time, typically determined during your assessment, and may change depending on your response to treatment. Not everyone can commit to that arrangement due to work or school. For many people, stepping away from their responsibilities can seem impossible, even if it is to prioritize treatment for a mental health or substance use disorder.  IOP offers flexibility for those who wish to balance their treatment alongside their commitments.  With IOP, individuals can engage in their treatment for a few hours daily while maintaining their professional or academic responsibilities. 

A key consideration when deciding if IOP is right for you or your loved one is if they are in a safe environment that can ensure their healing. If maintaining safety is not possible at this point in their lives, inpatient treatment is the best course of action. On the other hand, if your loved one can ensure their safety but still requires additional support, IOP may be an effective option for them to prevent the need for hospitalization.

IOP can also allow people to transition from an inpatient setting to a no-treatment one. Inpatient is a very consistent treatment. You are receiving care 24/7. However, once people leave an inpatient level of care, they might have difficulty adjusting to their life. An IOP treatment can allow individuals to start the process of transitioning to a place where they no longer need care in their recovery. 

How We Treat: Intensive Outpatient Program

At SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky, we provide IOP for adults and teens. This level of care continues to provide structure and support during your recovery. 

These sessions include a daily process group, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and a wellness recovery action plan (WRAP). The daily process group allows you to work through current concerns, and the WRAP group provides the skills necessary to prevent a return to use. CBT focuses on recognizing and changing unhealthy thoughts and beliefs into healthy ones.

Below are some other treatments you may experience during your IOP. Our team will design your exact treatment plan during our no-cost care assessment. This assessment allows you to meet with our specialists, who will work with you, your doctors, and your previous treatment and assessment history to design the best action plan for your needs.  

Group Therapy

Most people who attend IOP participate in group therapy. This therapy involves meeting with people in similar situations as yourself. You will learn stress management, mindfulness, and life skills development. During group therapy, you will also have the opportunity to discuss concerns in your life. Through this, you can receive support from your peers.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy involves sessions with a mental health specialist to address your concerns and needs. During this therapy, you will continue to build upon skills and techniques learned during group therapy. They may also prescribe and manage your medication if necessary. 

how we treat intensive outpatient program
intensive outpatient treatment sun kentucky

After-Care Planning

During IOP, you will also attend after-care planning sessions. These sessions will help you find new hobbies, encourage you to join support groups, and set you up with what your long-term recovery will look like once you leave SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky.

Support Groups

Support groups, including 12-step groups, are also available during our IOP. These groups help you recover and connect with peers at different stages in their recovery journey. By attending a support group, you will receive and provide support to other people through your experiences, coping strategies, understanding, and knowledge.

Intensive Outpatient Programming for Adults

IOP is available for adults 18 and older as part of their substance use disorder treatment, such as an alcohol or fentanyl use disorder, or mental health disorder treatment, such as anxiety and depression. Currently, we have 3 IOP groups for adults. Our IOP for adults runs Monday through Friday from 9 AM until 12 PM. We provide treatment that helps you identify pressing concerns in your life. For those not currently in crisis, it can be a great option to prevent the need for hospitalization later. 

We also offer an evening IOP group for adults. This program runs from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM and meets three days every week. The evening group is excellent for people who need IOP treatment but are unable to attend during the day. Reasons could include transportation, work, or family responsibilities. 

intensive outpatient programming for adults


Intensive Outpatient Programming for Adolescents

Adolescents aged 13-17 can also benefit from attending IOP. Like adults, we offer adolescent mental health IOP during the day. This program runs Monday through Friday from 9 AM until 2:30 PM. Some indications that a teen might need IOP treatment include the following:
  • Changes in school performance
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Excessive fear, worry, or sadness
  • Avoiding peers
  • Changes in sleep habits

Teens vs. Adults: How Is IOP Different?

Approaching treatment for a mental health condition is often different for teens than for adults. While teens can experience the same concerns as adults, they can also have unique factors that come with adolescence. These concerns may include social media, bullying, or uncertainty about their future. These factors often require a different approach to healing. Teens are also still physically and mentally developing, while adults are not. Due to this, they may need additional care and understanding regarding their treatment. 

Another reason is that family support is often more important for teens. While family support is essential no matter someone’s age, teens are often still dependent on their caregivers. Their family’s support ensures they can continue to recover even after leaving our facility with after-care and ongoing therapy. 

It’s important to remember that teens may not be willing participants initially. Many times, parents or guardians may compel their teens to attend needed treatment, which may result in the teen not wanting to participate. When a teen actively participates in their treatment, they have a higher chance of recovering. Because of this, it is essential to approach adolescent IOP differently than adults, who are often more present in their decision to receive treatment. We meet your teen where they are and have patience when addressing their concerns to encourage them to participate. 

Start Your IOP Treatment at SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky

The decision to seek treatment for a mental health or substance use disorder is a significant step in recovery that can bring numerous uncertainties and questions. Given the range of available care options, it is understandable to wonder which path is necessary for your needs. At SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky, we aim to solve this need, and our dedicated team is committed to assisting you on this journey. We will work with you, your healthcare team, and previous evaluations and treatments to determine if IOP fits you best. 

Intensive Outpatient Treatment in Kentucky

Located in Erlanger, KY, SUN Behavioral Health solves unmet needs. Our IOP can treat co-occurring disorders, which can exist simultaneously and require treatment together to facilitate healing. Call us today at 859-429-5188 for more information.


SUN Behavioral Kentucky

820 Dolwick Drive
Erlanger, Kentucky 41018

Hours of Operation:

Open 24 hours

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