What Are the Benefits of a Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

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In the age of COVID-19 and quarantine, many businesses have gone completely online to keep their clients and themselves safe and healthy. Drug and alcohol rehab programs have also done so in the hope of helping people receive the care they need even from a distance. For an individual that does not require detox or constant monitoring for recovery, an intensive outpatient program (IOP) is often suggested. However, going to a physical program may be impossible due to COVID-19. This is where virtual IOPs come in. While you may be hesitant in enrolling in a virtual IOP, these programs have shown great benefits for those in recovery during 2020. Here are some of the benefits of a virtual IOP.

What Is a Virtual IOP?

An intensive outpatient program is a form of addiction treatment that allows clients to go about their normal day-to-day lives while coming to the facility for a couple of hours a week to engage in the program. IOPs are for those individuals that do not need to live at a residential treatment facility because their addiction was not that severe and they can handle going to a program while living at home and going about their daily life. 

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, going to a physical treatment facility for an IOP may not be available to many individuals around the US. This is where the virtual IOPs come in. These programs take place on an online platform which may involve video calls, interactive videos, group calls, and downloadable paperwork and worksheets. What the virtual IOP contains will be dependent on the treatment center providing it, but the online programs are designed to treat more mild addictions from afar. 

What Are the Benefits of a Virtual IOP?

Depending on what you are looking for in recovery, a virtual intensive outpatient program may be a good option for you. These programs have numerous benefits due to them being remote, easy to access, and available from almost any location. The benefits of IOPs vary, but they are a good option to consider for treatment, especially in 2020 for social distancing purposes. Here are some benefits of virtual IOPs. 

Minimized Contact

Virtual IOPs are perfect for 2020 because they minimize contact between patients and their treatment providers. This is crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic, as maintaining social distance is required to keep the virus from spreading. If you are stuck in quarantine or cannot travel to the treatment center you need to go to, see if they have a virtual IOP available. This gives you a way to still receive treatment even from a distance.


Virtual IOPs are great for individuals juggling a lot of responsibilities in their home life. Some people cannot leave home to go to a residential treatment program, so IOPs are a great alternative to them. You can still attend sessions when you are traveling, late at night, or if you are far from the treatment centers. Scheduling is often flexible, so you can make the program work for your schedule and really work towards your recovery right from home.


Recovery is a very individualized experience. A boon of having an online IOP program is that it is completely tailored to you and your needs. This includes your schedule, your history, your recovery goals, your treatment needs, and more. You will be able to work one-on-one with your counselor to discuss the best path to take for you to progress in recovery. The goal is to maintain long-term sobriety. 


Online IOPs keep all of your information private both because of their location and the fact that the facility must follow all HIPAA regulations. What you talk about is private because you are within the privacy of your own home and because the staff of the program will ensure it stays between you and the facility. You don’t have to feel uncomfortable going to an unfamiliar treatment center. You can talk about recovery and healing in your own private space. 

Learn How to Progress Your Recovery

Not being able to attend a residential program or in-person IOP doesn’t mean your recovery has to halt or falter. Virtual IOPs can keep you on track to sobriety by having weekly or daily appointments with your counselor. You will learn the necessary coping mechanisms and skills to stay sober and make it through this time of healing. You can learn to progress in your recovery and not worry about falling behind. 

Professional Treatment Methods

Tried and tested treatment methods that are evidence-based are what you need to be using while in recovery. You should be sure that the professionals you work with online will be experts in addiction treatment, utilizing the appropriate treatment modalities to help you heal. These will include cognitive behavioral therapy, experiential therapies, and more. 


The benefits of an online intensive outpatient program (IOP) cannot be underestimated, especially in the face of the 2020 pandemic. These online programs ensure no contact with others, which protects both the client and the treatment staff. However, there are other benefits of IOPs that show how helpful they can be to addiction recovery. Being convenient, personalized, private, and expertly run will give you the best chance at healing from your addiction and maintaining sobriety in the future. At Northstar Transitions, we understand how difficult it can be to juggle treatment and your day-to-day life. This is why we believe that virtual IOPs provide a great alternative to in-person treatment if your addiction is not severe and you can keep up with treatment. Through these programs, you can meet others that have gotten sober, take part in worksheets and interactive videos, and discuss with your counselor your needs and progress in recovery. Call Northstar today for more information at (303) 558-6400.