Is IOP Right For Me?
About Intensive Outpatient Treatment

If you have been exploring different options for addiction treatment, you have likely come across an intensive outpatient program — or IOP — in your research. During this type of addiction treatment program, you will participate in therapy and a variety of recovery workshops while reintegrating into your community and becoming a productive member of society. IOP programs are designed to build upon the progress made in primary residential treatment, including strengthening relapse prevention strategies and exploring the factors that contributed to substance abuse.

While participating in IOP, you might opt to live in a sober living house and return to work or school. In sober living, you will have access to an increased level of accountability as you navigate your new life of sobriety. Most IOP programs meet for between three or four days a week for several hours each day.

Because IOP is less intensive than traditional residential treatment, it is often not an appropriate first line of treatment for those who are early in recovery. But for people who have made progress in primary treatment and are demonstrating the accountability and motivation necessary to manage stress, triggers and succeed, an intensive outpatient program is a great next step. To learn more about the benefits of IOP, contact Guardian IOP today.

Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Programs

Flexibility is the most significant benefit of an intensive outpatient program. You can stay engaged in recovery by working therapy sessions and meetings into your existing schedule, while returning to work or school and spending time with friends and family.

Given the inherent flexibility of an IOP, it usually isn’t the first line of treatment. Outpatient treatment serves as an ideal option if you are transitioning out of residential treatment or have a family, career, extensive support system or sober living arrangements.

IOP programs offer the opportunity to put your coping skills into practice in the ‘real world’ while giving family members and other loved ones the chance to participate in counseling and educational sessions with you. If you would like to learn more about

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IOP Services

IOP treatment plans are tailored to meet the needs of each individual client and typically include some combination of individual counseling, group therapy and educational sessions that address co-occurring mental health disorders. These sessions are held during the daytime or evening approximately three to four times a week.

Common IOP Services Include:

  • Individual Therapy – The course of each therapy session progresses according to your unique needs, affording the therapist or counselor a means of giving personalized guidance, monitoring your progress, and identifying and addressing some of your personal recovery obstacles.
  • Group Therapy – While in group therapy, you will be joined by your peers for a social, communicative, and dynamic form of treatment that incorporates elements of both cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. Not only are facilitated group sessions a means of offering an enriching set of skills and strategies for maintaining sobriety both during and after treatment, but they afford you with a means of healing by developing, exploring, and examining interpersonal relationships with other members of the group.
  • 12-Step Meetings – For many, 12-Step program involvement is an important part of the overall recovery process. Most IOP programs encourage participants to attend at least one outside meeting every day, which leads to increased accountability and the development of a stronger support network.

Our Drug & Alcohol Treatment Services Include


  • Life Skills TrainingLife skills training consists of educational sessions geared towards helping you relearn basic life skills — the skills that are fundamental to continued success in sobriety. You will learn how to obtain and maintain a job or career, learn how to care for yourself, and learn how to recover from any financial devastation you might have suffered while active in your addiction. By the time IOP concludes you will feel confident as you transition back into fully independent living.
What to expect from intensive outpatient treatment
  • Family Therapy and Education – Addiction is often considered a “family disease,” due to the profound effect it can have on the family unit as a whole. Addiction can cause feelings of animosity, resentment, distrust, anxiety, aggravation, and even depression in each member of your family, compromising the overall family dynamic. In order for this dynamic to be restored to a healthy state of functioning, family therapy and educational workshops must be implemented.
  • Case Management – While engaged in IOP you will be assigned a case manager, who will walk you through every step of the recovery process while serving as a fundamental advocate. If you have any questions about the trajectory of your addiction treatment program, you can reach out to your case manager at any point in time. Your case manager will also help you develop a personalized aftercare plan to implement once IOP comes to an end.
  • Medication Management – In some cases, medication management is an important part of a comprehensive treatment program. This is especially true if you have been suffering from a severe and life-threatening opioid addiction, and you are at risk of overdose if you return to drug use. At Guardian IOP’s addiction treatment facilities in New Brunswick and Hoboken New Jersey, we utilize Suboxone as part of a comprehensive treatment strategy.

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Is an IOP Right for Me?

An intensive outpatient program is such a beneficial way to stay engaged in treatment while honing your recovery skills, but it is important to make sure this level of care is right for you. IOP programs are most effective if you meet certain criteria:

  • You are transitioning out of a residential treatment program.
  • You continually demonstrate the motivation to progress in recovery.
  • You have safe, sober living arrangements.
  • You have a strong, supportive network of friends and family.
  • You have certain job-related or family obligations that make it difficult to be away from home for an extended period of time.

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Recovery is a lifelong journey that requires you to stay active and engaged in sobriety, and an intensive outpatient program can help you do just that. IOP combines the structure and support of a residential treatment program with the flexibility and freedom of living at home in your community. For more information about how our IOP services can help you transition into the next phase of your recovery, contact Guardian IOP today. You will be put in touch with a compassionate Treatment Advisor who will walk you through our simple, straightforward admissions process. We look forward to speaking with you soon and helping you begin — or continue — your personal journey of addiction recovery.

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Anna-Barrett

Reviewed for accuracy by: our Executive Director:

Anna earned her Masters of Social Work at Barry University in Miami, FL in 2017 and completed her internship in co-occurring disorders. Anna has a Bachelors of Art in Religious Studies from Naropa University and is a certified yoga and meditation instructor. Anna has received specialized training in somatic counseling with an emphasis on body-centered psychotherapy.