What’s the Difference Between IOP and PHP?

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Acknowledging that you have a problem and deciding to get help are two vital steps on the path toward successful recovery from addiction. But they’re not the only steps you need to take. Before you can begin treatment, you have to decide which level of care is right for you. 

If you don’t require round-the-clock care, or if you’re stepping down from a residential program, you have two excellent options at Ocean Hills Recovery: an intensive outpatient program (IOP) or a partial hospitalization program (PHP). When you understand the features and benefits of IOP and PHP, you’ll be prepared to make the best choice for your health and your future.

What is Intensive Outpatient (IOP) Treatment? 

An intensive outpatient program, or IOP, is one step up from traditional outpatient therapy. 

Traditional outpatient care typically involves one hour of treatment on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. Treatment in an IOP usually involves multiple hours of services, multiple days each week. 

An IOP offers a structured connection to quality clinical care. In an IOP, you may participate in both individual and group sessions. Depending on your specific needs, your time in an IOP may also include other services. For example, in our IOP, we also offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and family programming.

For some people, IOP is an ideal source of step-down support after they’ve completed residential treatment or a partial hospitalization program. In other cases, clients step up to an IOP from traditional outpatient therapy, or they enter treatment directly at the IOP level.

When you contact Ocean Hills Recovery, we can help you decide if our IOP offers the level of support that’s best for you.

What is a Partial Hospitalization Program? 

A partial hospitalization program, or PHP, is similar to a residential treatment program, but without the requirement to remain at the facility when treatment is not in session.

In our PHP, you will take part in full days of treatment. But in the evenings and on the weekends, you can return to your home. You may also choose to stay at an alternative supported residence, such as a sober living home. 

During your stay in our PHP, you will work with a team of experts, and you will take part in several types of therapy. Your PHP schedule may also include life skills education, relapse prevention training, yoga, massage therapy, and expressive arts therapy.

Our PHP is the ideal level of care for people who can benefit from highly structured programming but do not need round-the-clock supervision. Some people enter treatment at the PHP level, while others transition into our PHP after they’ve completed an inpatient or residential program.

Things to Consider When Deciding Between IOP and PHP 

There are several elements to consider when you’re trying to decide between an IOP and a PHP. Three of the more important aspects are how much time you need to spend in treatment, how much your care will cost, and what effect treatment will have on your lifestyle.

Time commitment 

The amount of time you will spend in treatment is quite different between our IOP and PHP. At Ocean Hills Recovery, our PHP features six hours of care per day, five days each week. During a typical week in our PHP, you’ll receive 30 hours of care.

At the IOP level, you’ll have more flexibility, but you will receive fewer hours of treatment. Our IOP is only in session for a few hours each day. Depending on your needs, you may only attend treatment a few days each week.


Because our PHP features longer treatment days, additional services, and more weekly hours of care, this program costs more than our IOP does. The cost of treatment is, of course, a factor to consider when you are evaluating your treatment options. However, it is important to make sure you’re getting the type and level of care that you need. If you choose a lower-cost option solely because of price, you may find that the care you receive doesn’t align with your needs and goals.

At Ocean Hills Recovery, we understand that financial matters are important when you’re trying to find the right addiction treatment program for yourself or a loved one. For this reason, we work diligently to ensure that our services remain affordable, without impacting quality of care.


When you receive care at the PHP level, you can expect to devote at least five full days to treatment each week. During non-treatment hours, you may return home or reside in a sober living house. While you’re in our PHP, you won’t be able to work or attend school. Your focus will be on your treatment and your health.

At the IOP level, you will participate in a few hours of care during each treatment day. This schedule may provide you with opportunities to work part-time, take classes, or volunteer. While you’re taking part in these activities, you may be able to practice the relapse-prevention skills that you have been working on during treatment.

Personalized PHP & IOP Treatment at Ocean Hills Recovery 

There are several clear differences between treatment at the IOP and PHP levels. But when you receive care at Ocean Hills Recovery, you can expect to benefit from certain fundamental features at every level.

One of the most important aspects of treatment at our center is our unwavering commitment to personalized care. Here, you will never be treated as just another client. And you will never be shoehorned into a one-size-fits all treatment program. Every person who enters one of our programs completes a thorough assessment. We use the information that we collect during this assessment to develop each client’s personalized treatment plan. 

At our center, you will receive the services that can best meet your unique needs. These services will be customized to ensure you get maximum benefit, and they will be provided by a team of dedicated professionals who truly care about you.

Begin IOP or PHP Treatment in California

If your life has been disrupted by addiction and co-occurring mental illness, the Ocean Hills Recovery team is here for you. Our continuum of care includes IOP and PHP options for adults in Southern California, including Orange County and the Los Angeles area. With our help, you can experience true healing and achieve long-term recovery. Contact us today to learn more.

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