Intensive Outpatient Program in Laguna Beach, CA

Intensive outpatient programs are intended for dependencies that do not call for medical detoxification or around-the-clock supervision. Flexible and affordable, IOPs allow you to remain anchored to your everyday commitments without compromising the quality of care you receive. Engaging with inpatient treatment means you remain at the facility from detox to discharge, whereas with intensive outpatient treatment, you return home between scheduled therapy sessions at a rehab center. 

You can engage with an intensive outpatient program in a standalone capacity or when stepping down from a more intensive form of addiction or mental health treatment. IOPs are intended to help in the following areas: 

  • Provide coping strategies
  • Establish a sober support system
  • Focus on relapse prevention and management

What is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) categorizes addiction treatment according to the following levels on a continuum of care. 

  1. Prevention and early intervention
  2. Outpatient treatment programs.
  3. Intensive outpatient treatment programs and partial hospitalization programs
  4. Inpatient treatment programs (residential rehab)
  5. Medically-managed residential rehab

The type of care delivered via an IOP will vary from rehab to rehab, but typically consists of between 12 and 15 hours of weekly therapy sessions. You can expect to attend individual and group sessions at a treatment center. Most IOPs schedule three to four hours of therapy sessions on three to five weekdays.

Article at a Glance:

In IOP provides more support and structure than a traditional outpatient, but less than a PHP (partial hospitalization program). 

Many intensive outpatient programs will encourage you to participate in a peer support group, although this is not usually mandatory. 

Increasingly, drug and alcohol rehabs are offering virtual IOPs. Virtual rehab allows you to engage with psychotherapy and counseling via video conferencing software rather than by attending face-to-face sessions. 

Intensive outpatient treatment lasts from 12 to 16 weeks. After this point, you can step down to a standard outpatient program or segue back into sober living.

What’s involved in intensive outpatient program substance abuse treatment programs, then?

IOP for Substance Abuse Treatment Programs & Rehab

Most intensive outpatient programs for substance use disorder personalize treatment. The treatment team will draw from these modalities: 

  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment) and medication management
  • Family therapy

Group Therapy

Group therapy is central to most IOPs. Participation in group therapy offers support for those grappling with addictions in many ways, including: 

  • Improving communication skills
  • Offering a new sober support system
  • Providing an environment in which you can get support and feedback by peers with lived experience of addiction
  • Reinforcing positive ways of interacting
  • Providing a safe space for those in recovery
  • Offering a forum for learning about addiction
  • Teaching coping mechanisms
  • Imparting relapse prevention strategies
  • Delivering psychoeducational support sessions 

Groups in IOPs usually contain from 8 to 15 individuals, according to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

Individual Therapy

While many therapy sessions at an IOP will be conducted in a group setting, you will also enjoy access to individual therapy. 

Individual therapy allows you to work closely with a therapist. You can explore the causes of your addiction and you can also focus on pressing problems associated with your early recovery.


Psychotherapy, informally known as talk therapy, is invaluable for those looking to unpack the psychological aspect of addiction. 

CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is proven effective for treating addictions and mental health disorders. CBT can be delivered in isolation or in combination with MAT – see below. 

Through CBT sessions, you will learn healthy coping skills to improve your ability to deal with triggers and stressors in your recovery. A therapist will help you to reframe distorted thoughts with a view to making lasting behavioral change.

MAT (medication-assisted treatment)

Alcohol use disorders and opioid use disorders respond positively to MAT (medication-assisted treatment). 

Several FDA-approved medications can streamline detoxification and promote ongoing abstinence. 

Proven effective for treating addictions, MAT is most effective when delivered alongside behavioral interventions like CBT.

Family therapy

Family therapy at an IOP helps you to start repairing relationships damaged by the effects of substance abuse. You will improve your communication skills and benefit from a neutral intermediary who can help you to resolve conflict more effectively as a family unit.

IOP for Mental Health

An intensive outpatient program for mental health issues is designed to provide a balance of structure and support in order to rapidly improve daily functioning. 

As with an IOP for substance abuse, you can address immediate problems, while at the same time developing skills actionable in your ongoing recovery. 

If you engage with a mental health intensive outpatient program, expect to attend sessions for three hours weekly on three weekdays. This should allow you ample time to improve your mental health while still meeting your personal and professional commitments. 

Data from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) show that 17 million U.S. adults were diagnosed with co-occurring disorders in 2020. Co-occurring disorder, also known as dual diagnosis, involves the simultaneous presentation of an addiction and a mental health condition like depression, anxiety, or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Outside of residential rehab, a mental health intensive outpatient program offers the smoothest pathway to sustained recovery without relapse. 

A mental health IOP offers the following benefits: 

  • Evidence-based treatment
  • Sessions of CBT or DBT
  • Intense, structured psycho-education
  • Group counseling
  • Individual counseling
  • Environment that is more flexible than residential rehab but more intense than traditional outpatient treatment programs
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
  • Medication management
  • Substance abuse education
  • Addiction management education
  • Lectures on mental health 

Whether you require assistance with addiction or mental health issues, we can help you with intensive outpatient program rehab at California Detox.

Intensive Outpatient Program Near Orange County

Here at California Detox in Southern California, we offer luxury inpatient rehab for the following conditions: 

  • Alcoholism (alcohol use disorder)
  • Drug addiction (substance use disorder)
  • Mental health disorders
  • Co-occurring disorders 

If you feel that an IOP (intensive outpatient program) is the optimum pathway to recovery, we can help you detox from drugs or alcohol comfortably and safely. Our supervised medical detox program gives you access to FDA-approved medications to streamline cravings and withdrawal, and also provides continuous clinical and emotional care. 

After a week or so and with the issue of physical dependence addressed, you will be ready to transition into an IOP. While we don’t offer IOP at our facility, we have great connections in the Orange County area that can help you with the next phase of your recovery journey.

When you complete your treatment at California Detox, you can step down to a less intensive form of addiction care or transition into daily living. Kickstart your recovery by calling (949) 694-8305.


An IOP is not better or worse than a PHP. The two forms of treatment are similar except in terms of time commitment. Most intensive outpatient programs schedule 3 to 4 hours of therapy sessions on three to five weekdays. Most partial hospitalization programs, by contrast, schedule 5 to 6 hours of therapy sessions on all five weekdays. An IOP places more focus on group counseling and less on the active monitoring and supervision of symptoms or medications. IOPs are ideal for those who do not need residential rehab, and for those with mild to moderate alcohol use disorders or substance use disorders.

An initial assessment involves screening questions and physical exams. Based on the findings of this assessment, the treatment team can personalize a treatment plan for your IOP. During ongoing treatment, you will attend 12 to 15 hours of weekly therapy sessions. Evidence-based treatments for addictions and mental health disorders typically involve medication-assisted treatment and/or psychotherapy (talk therapy). After 12 to 16 weeks of intensive outpatient treatment, you can step down to a regular outpatient program if you are not ready to maintain your recovery without assistance. The best IOPs include aftercare that involves relapse prevention and management strategies, ongoing therapy, and access to an alumni program.


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