Intensive Outpatient Program

The continuum of care at Ascension Saint Thomas Behavioral Health Hospital includes an intensive outpatient program (IOP) for adults age 18 and older who are struggling with mental health disorders. Adults who participate in our IOP receive focused care from a team of experienced professionals.

Introduction to Our IOP

The intensive outpatient program (IOP) at Ascension Saint Thomas Behavioral Health Hospital is known as Stepping Stones.

All admissions decisions for Stepping Stones are made on an individual basis following a close review of each person’s history, strengths, needs and goals.

In general, our IOP serves adults age 18 and older who have developed anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or another mental health disorder and also meet one of the following criteria:

  • Can benefit from structured step-down programming after completing inpatient care
  • Need a higher level of care than can be provided via traditional outpatient services but do not require 24-hour supervision

Adults who receive care at the intensive outpatient level at Ascension Saint Thomas Behavioral Health Hospital participate in sessions three days per week. When our IOP is not in session, patients may attend school, work, take part in volunteer activities and otherwise engage in a healthy and productive lifestyle.

Typical length of stay in the IOP at Ascension Saint Thomas Behavioral Health Hospital is eight to 12 weeks, depending on each person’s progress and continued need.

Features of Care in Our IOP

Group therapy is the main method of treatment in our intensive outpatient program for adults.

IOP groups are safe, structured and supportive environments where you can share your thoughts and feelings, gain valuable information about important topics related to mental health, develop skills and strategies that will help you achieve your goals, and share support with others who have had similar struggles.

During your time in Stepping Stones at Ascension Saint Thomas Behavioral Health Hospital, you may take part in psychoeducational groups and process groups. Group sessions in our IOP are typically led by licensed social workers. These experienced and compassionate professionals offer guidance, promote healthy communication and ensure that participants feel welcomed and supported.

Depending on the needs of the participants, IOP groups may incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing and other modalities.

Benefits of Participating in Our IOP

Your experience in Stepping Stones, and the benefits you receive from participating in this level of care, will be influenced by a variety of personal factors, including your history and needs as well as your short- and long-term goals.

Examples of the many beneficial features of the intensive outpatient program for adults at Ascension Saint Thomas Behavioral Health Hospital include:

  • Personalized care: Our IOP team will take the time to get to know you as a unique individual, and we’ll work closely with you to ensure that we understand the full scope of your needs. Within the context of group therapy, we’ll help you implement the changes that will empower you to make sustained progress toward improved health.
  • Safe and welcoming environment: At Ascension Saint Thomas Behavioral Health Hospital, we understand that many people who struggle with mental health concerns also unfortunately experience shame, guilt, fear and frustration. Our team works diligently to ensure that our IOP remains a supportive, welcoming and nonjudgmental place. Here, you’ll be valued for your innate strengths and capabilities as you work to reconnect with the best version of yourself.
  • Compassionate professionals: The dedicated members of the Stepping Stones team are committed to providing you with quality service and comprehensive support. We understand the many ways mental health disorders can impact a person’s life, and we provide the focused care that will prepare you for long-term success.
  • Shared support: Mental health disorders can sometimes lead to a sense of isolation. But when you participate in our IOP, you will discover that you are far from alone. In addition to working in active collaboration with our staff, you will also have the opportunity to support, learn from and form healthy and productive relationships with others who are receiving care.

This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Ascension Saint Thomas Behavioral Health Hospital.

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