What is a Partial Hospitalization Program

For those who have need of intensive mental health and sobriety support, but also have family, job, school or other obligations which need attending to, a partial hospitalization program may be the best choice for treatment. Because it is a voluntary program, a successful participant will need to be dedicated to the idea of getting – and staying – better. Your recovery in a partial hospitalization setting will depend upon your dedication to attendance and determination to complete the program.

A typical partial hospitalization program, or PHP, will consist of around 30 hours, per week, of commitment. After attending your required daily classes, groups, and sessions, you are free to return to your own home or living arrangement. This hybrid model of intensive treatment and ability to return to life outside of the facility creates a good fit for those who have recently exited a hospital or residential treatment facility, or for those who can’t afford the time or money required for entering one.

Unlike with being placed on inpatient status by outside agencies, you are in charge of setting your parameters for the partial hospitalization program. You will work with the staff to determine your treatment goals and discharge date. The support staff you will have access to includes psychiatrists, licensed therapists, registered nurses, and trained substance abuse counselors. The type of support provided typically includes group, individual, and family therapy, along with being linked to resources for continuing your wellness journey within the community.

What is a Partial Hospitalization Program?

Most treatment facilities that offer a partial hospitalization program will help you to get started with just a phone call. An intake specialist will gather information about your mental health and substance use needs and will make an initial determination as to whether the PHP is a good fit. You will also be asked to provide information about your insurance and will be informed about the costs associated with the program. If you are coming from a residential treatment facility, the staff there are likely to help you with the transition process.

Once you have determined that the PHP is right for you, you will meet with a licensed therapist and complete an assessment. The information you provide during the assessment will help to define your goals for treatment and will assist the therapist in designing a treatment plan that is unique to your situation. Due to the current situation of the pandemic, this appointment may take place over the phone or video conference. Be sure to inquire during your intake phone call about how these sessions are being conducted during COVID-19 precautions.

Types of Treatment Offered at a Partial Hospitalization Program

Due to the customized nature of a PHP, the types of treatment that are offered to you will be dependent upon your individual needs. The following are the types of treatment that are typically offered at a PHP program. Additional forms of treatment may include art therapies, physical exercise therapies, animal-assisted therapies, job training programs, and community service.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is an integral part of an individual therapy plan. This type of therapy examines the thoughts and beliefs that we hold on to and works to arrange those thoughts and beliefs in a way that results in better outcomes. A trained CBT therapist will help you to identify the behaviors that hold you back from living your best life and then will assist you in finding the patterns of thinking that prompts you to continue to engage in those undesirable behaviors. Together, you and your CBT therapist will work to construct a new approach toward life’s situations.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Those who struggle with accepting life as it is will benefit from treatment under the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) model. DBT teaches participants how to simultaneously accept reality, and to strive for a better future. Techniques include learning how to interact with others in a mutually-gratifying way, and learning how to get needs met without resorting to self-destructive behaviors. Because of the intricate nature of the program, only those who are specially trained and certified in delivering DBT treatment are permitted to do so. Those who have not received the DBT training certification are able to teach DBT-like skills.

Trauma Therapy

Behind many manifestations of mental illness and substance abuse lies the devastation of trauma. Traumatic events are those which leave a lasting mark on our psyche and alter the way that we approach the world. Often, the wounds of trauma get buried so deeply that we no longer recognize that this pain is what is driving our self-destructive behaviors. A therapist who is trained in recognizing and healing trauma will lead you through the steps necessary to confront this damage and begin to heal from it. Once you have adequately addressed and dealt with your trauma, you will be ready to begin a new chapter in life.

Relationship Skill Building

Relationships can be difficult. For those struggling with mental, emotional, and substance abuse issues, this difficulty is compounded. Not only do these personal struggles impede the ability to form and sustain lasting, healthy, relationships, but engagement in unhealthy relationships contributes to the problems becoming worse. Under the guidance of trained therapists and counselors, you will be encouraged to examine your unhealthy relationship patterns, and will be challenged to form new approaches toward recognizing and fostering healthy connections. Having a life full of healthy relationships creates the groundwork for building a successful future.

Family Therapy

Involvement of family has become an increasingly important part of recovery focus. Not only do we develop our initial views of the world through interaction with our family, but ineffective and harmful connections with our family members can impair our progress toward wellness. Whenever possible, a PHP program will request that your family members are available to participate in treatment alongside you. Together with a trained therapist, you and your family members can begin to heal old wounds, learn to communicate in a prosocial way, and build lasting ties.