Intensive Outpatient (IOP) FAQs

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Intensive Outpatient Treatment FAQs

*IOP groups are now available in-person or virtually. (Read more of our COVID-19 response here).

Intensive Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment, also known as “IOP” is a level of substance abuse treatment where the client does not live in residence at the treatment center. Intensive outpatient groups typically meet at regular intervals (ie 3 hours per day on 3 days per week). Clients enrolled in an intensive outpatient program also experience weekly individual therapy, bi-weekly family therapy and may see an addiction psychiatrist if needed.

Finding a Schedule That Works for You

IOP rehab Intensive outpatient (IOP) schedules vary depending on the drug and alcohol treatment provider. NorthStar Transitions offers both morning and evening in-person IOP groups, as well as an evening virtual IOP group. All IOP groups meet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from either 9:30am-12:30pm or 5:30pm-8:30pm. Clients choose a group option upon admission where they will remain for the duration of the 12-week intensive outpatient curriculum.

What is the Intensive Outpatient Curriculum Like?

Intensive Outpatient groups typically begin with a ‘group check-in.’ During the group check-in each member of the group will do a brief check on how they are currently feeling, any recent struggles or successes, and any other items of significance the client would like to bring to the group’s attention.

Following the group check-in, the therapist facilitating the group will introduce the daily group topic or exercise. The topic is then discussed or the exercise performed. The daily topic could be anything from physiological effects of drugs on the brain to relationships with family and significant others. An exercise might include somatic experiencing or experiential group therapies. Groups may also begin with a meditation or grounding exercise.

After the daily topic or exercise, the group ‘processes’ the experience in a group discussion. This is the broad overview of the IOP curriculum at NorthStar Transitions, a program that last 12-weeks.

Who Facilitates Our Intensive Outpatient Groups?

Intensive Outpatient Groups are facilitated by licensed professional counselors, licensed clinical social workers and licensed substance abuse counselors.

Almost all IOP group facilitators at NorthStar Transitions have the highest possible licensure in their discipline. In Colorado, this includes a LPC (licensed professional counselor) LAC (Licensed Addiction Counselor) or a LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) LAC.

All of the intensive outpatient therapists at NorthStar Transitions specialize in substance abuse counseling and the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. NorthStar Transitions hires and retains the top talent in the industry in order to provide the highest quality of service to our clients.

What if I am on Medications or Need Medical Care?

All clients of NorthStar Transitions see a board-certified addiction psychiatrist upon admission into the intensive outpatient program to formulate a comprehensive treatment plan and coordinate medications if needed.

After the initial psychiatric intake, clients may see the psychiatrist or our physicians assistants anywhere from weekly to monthly depending on individual needs. NorthStar Transitions is able to make referrals to a specialist if the client has a medical condition outside of the doctor’s scope of practice.

What About Individual and Family Therapy?

Clients participating in Intensive Outpatient with NorthStar Transitions participate in individual therapy weekly and family therapy bi-weekly.

Clients will be assigned an individual therapist and a family therapist and will schedule appointments with both at a convenient time.

Family therapy is typically conducted over the phone or over HIPPA compliant video conferencing software. Individual therapy is conducted in one of our counseling offices.

What About Drug and Alcohol Testing?

Clients of NorthStar Transitions receive comprehensive drug and alcohol testing. NorthStar Transitions takes 2-3 urine drug samples per week from each client. Drug and alcohol testing is required of all clients enrolled in IOP at NorthStar Transitions.

The urine drug screens performed in office give an instant result for up to 12 common drugs of abuse such as marijuana, cocaine, benzodiazepines, heroin and methamphetamine.

Each sample is then sent to an outside lab for comprehensive testing including alcohol screening and validity testing.

Can I Work or Go to School While Enrolled in Intensive Outpatient?

Yes. Clients can choose to participate in either the morning or evening IOP group. If a client has school or work during the day, then the evening group would be ideal. If a client works during the evenings the daytime group would be ideal.

Is any Additional Support Offered to Intensive Outpatient Clients?

Clients are encouraged to participate in outings outside of the regularly scheduled IOP activities with others in their IOP group, or with others in the sober community. We encourage clients to find sober companions to attend 12 step meetings (or other pathway meetings), go for hikes, movies, skiing, or other physical activities at the rec center or in nature.

Does Insurance Cover Intensive Outpatient?

NorthStar Transitions is in network with many providers, and out of network with others. For more information, visit our insurance verification page.  In either scenario, insurance can greatly offset the cost of treatment.

Is there an Attendance Requirement?

Yes. Clients are expected to complete the full 12-week course of treatment after enrollment. Clients are expected to attend each scheduled group and individual therapy session. Clients are allowed excused absences such as sickness with documentation of reason for the absence. Clients are also allowed up to 3 unexcused absences. If a client has more than 3 unexcused absences, they may be dismissed from the program.

Where Will I Live While Participating in Intensive Outpatient?

Most clients live in their own home while participating in intensive outpatient. Clients may also choose to living in a sober living home while participating in IOP if they are relocating to Boulder or their current living environment is not conducive to their sobriety.

Types of Therapy Offered:

  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI)
  • Life Skills Education
  • Relapse Prevention Workshop
  • Mindfulness Training
  • Somatic Experiencing
  • Experiential Therapy
  • Case Management