Young girl and psychologist in discussion. IOP or PHP? What's the difference between the two programs?


Adolescence is a trying time for all teenagers, but for some teenagers it’s more difficult to face challenges in a healthy way than others. As a parent or caregiver, it can be just as difficult to find ways to support your teen during this time. Fortunately, there is help available to ensure your teen can develop the skills and self-confidence they need to overcome challenging situations and thrive. Structured outpatient programs like PHP (Partial Hospitalization Program) and IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) offer a transition to stability and provide a supportive and structured environment where youth can receive the care they need to manage their mental health.

Here, we take a look at the differences between these two programs and how to determine which is best for your youth.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) supports youth who live at home but struggle with managing their mental health symptoms, risky behaviors and behavioral problems.  PHPs often require patients to attend treatment for several hours a day, multiple days a week, and may include medication assessment and management, individual and group therapy, skills development support and other treatment modalities. Family sessions may be available to help youth and their loved ones address issues that are impacting both their mental health and relationships.

PHPs are effective for youth who need a higher level of treatment, but not necessarily residential or inpatient treatment. PHP may be appropriate for those transitioning from a residential program who need support reintegrating into the family setting or those who need more structure than an intensive outpatient program.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a step down from a PHP and is designed to provide structured, focused treatment to individuals while allowing them to maintain their daily routines or reintegrate into their community. IOP treatment is usually designed for youth who have completed a PHP program, who require less intensive treatment than a PHP or who need more treatment supports than outpatient therapy and/or psychiatry services.

Services may include group therapy, skills development, connection to outpatient therapy and psychiatry providers in the community, and a weekly individual therapy/case management session.

Choosing between a PHP and IOP will depend on your youth’s specific needs and should be made in consultation with a treatment specialist who can assess your youth and help guide the decision-making process.

Camino a Casa’s experienced and compassionate staff can help you make an informed decision. Contact our Admissions Team at 805-366-4000 and our staff can assist you in scheduling an assessment and verifying your insurance to get your family and teen started on your journey to wellness.

You make the decision, we’ll take care of the rest.  805-366-4000