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What is a Partial Hospitalization Program?

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A partial hospitalization program is an outpatient program designed to treat severe mental health disorders with an expectation for improvement. Partial hospitalization is best when the person’s functional level needs to be maintained to prevent relapse or prevent full hospitalization. A partial hospitalization program can help a person stay on track with goals and continue treatment while beginning to reintegrate back into their daily routine.

When entering treatment for an addiction, there are many different options for rehabilitation. While full hospitalization is typically the most successful, it is also disruptive to life. Some other treatment settings are Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization programs (PHP). 

Partial Hospitalization vs. Intensive Outpatient Treatment

The most considerable difference between these two treatment settings is the length of time. Both take place in a rehab facility. In an IOP, a client typically spends a few hours a day for a few days per week in treatment. In partial hospitalization, they receive treatment for at least four hours a day, and at least five days per week. Some of these programs are as many as eight hours a day. 

Both IOPs and PHPs don’t require an overnight stay, making them less restrictive than residential treatment, which are around the clock programs. Outpatient and partial hospitalization programs are great for people who have recently left a full hospitalization program but still need a little more time in recovery before fully returning to daily life. 

Who Can Benefit From Partial Hospitalization?

PHPs are best for people who need extensive mental health or addiction treatment but do not require 24-hour monitoring in inpatient programs.

Partial hospitalization is an excellent step after residential treatment and before intensive outpatient treatment. Moving through each level of care can help prevent relapse or be a good step back into treatment when experiencing a small lapse in recovery. 

While it is not a 24-hour program, it is still not the best type of setting for those who must continue working as they are in treatment most of the day and only at home in the evenings. Those needs may be better suited to an IOP because they would spend fewer hours each day in treatment.


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Partial Hospitalization at Integrative Life Center

Music Row Recovery PHP is Integrative Life Center’s partial hospitalization program. There are two eight-person homes, one for men and one for women, in which clients live. They are within walking distance of the treatment clinic, with a resident assistant in each house to help clients. Medical care is available to residents from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. 

Clients have a custom treatment plan to meet their individual needs so they can meet their goals. If it supports the client’s needs, they may have access to their car, cell phone, and laptop. If the client has come from ILC’s Morningstar residential program, they will keep the same treatment team.

Clients in our partial hospitalization program receive 25 hours of group therapy and one additional individual therapy hour each week. Treatment modalities include but are not limited to:


Clients also attend five outside meetings per week. These meetings may include 12-step meetings, SMART support groups, Refuge Recovery, NAMI, spiritual, or other external support meetings.

Therapeutic Modalities

While other modalities are in use in ILC’s partial hospitalization program, the following are especially common and useful in addiction treatment. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps a client identify distorted thinking and faulty beliefs that promote unhealthy behaviors. With a therapist’s help, a client can change these negative thought patterns and adopt healthier behaviors.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) teaches a client four types of skills that can help them learn to accept their emotions and control their reactions. Areas of focus are distress tolerance, emotion regulation, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness. One of the central tenets of DBT is radical acceptance, where the client learns to accept their feelings without passing judgment on them.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) uses bilateral eye movements similar to REM sleep to allow a client to reprocess a traumatic memory and store it in a less distressing way. This lets the brain heal itself from trauma.  


Brainspotting is a type of therapy that identifies how trauma manifests in the body. It uses eye movements to identify a brain spot or the position of the person’s eyes when they have an emotional response. This therapy a derivative of EMDR.

Equine Therapy

During equine therapy, a client forms a deep connection with a nonjudgemental animal. This relationship can help them focus on the present moment and learn to trust to develop healthy relationships with people in the future. 

Life Skills

ILC’s partial hospitalization program also teaches life skills to their clients. These include nutrition, culinary skills, and personal finances. Food is vital in recovery to keep both the body and the mind healthy. Substance use can lead to malnutrition, which has several adverse effects, including:

  • Irregular heart rate and body temperature
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Depression
  • Cognitive impairment

Cooking, sharing, and exploring new foods brings people together. Clients in the partial hospitalization program receive a healthy lunch each weekday. However, clients are responsible for preparing their breakfast, dinner, and weekend meals. There is a community dinner once a month to help clients connect. 

Learning to manage personal finances is another crucial skill for those who may have struggled with this. It can help them to feel in control and ready to integrate back into daily living.

When to Seek Treatment

If you feel like your life is out of control, or your friends and family have noticed you functioning differently, a partial hospitalization program may be able to help you get back on track. While those who need 24-hour monitoring will benefit more from residential treatment, PHPs are an excellent resource for those struggling to maintain recovery independently. Please contact us for more information on the different treatment programs that may be right for you. 




Article Sources

  1. PubMed. 1990. Definition Of Partial Hospitalization. The National Association Of Private Psychiatric Hospitals And The American Association For Partial Hospitalization.
  2. Connections Wellness Group. 2019. How Do You Know If A Partial Hospitalization Program Is Right For You? 
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