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Partial Hospitalization Program

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is a type of outpatient treatment program that caters to individuals with a substance use disorder, mental health disorder, or co-occurring disorders who require a higher level of care than the standard outpatient care can provide. Individuals in a PHP receive comprehensive treatment services and medical monitoring during the day, but they do not stay overnight. Partial hospitalization (often referred to as day treatment programs) is commonly used as a step-down service after an individual has completed a residential treatment program since they no longer require 24-hour supervision but can still benefit from a high level of support. 

Clients who need to undergo detoxification should first enter a residential treatment program and step down to a day treatment program when their treatment team feels confident in their progress. Partial hospitalization is still a time-intensive program requiring 6 hours of therapy 6 days a week (Monday to Saturday). Due to this level of time commitment, individuals usually leave their full-time jobs to obtain the best level of care. However, if their treatment regimen and time restrictions allow, they may be able to hold a part-time job. Group therapy and individual therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, yoga, trauma-informed care, diet, and nutrition education, coping mechanisms, relapse prevention skills, and general life skills are all part of this structured, intense program and individuals are randomly drug tested to ensure their sobriety. 

Individuals must not be intoxicated, at risk of self-harm, or threaten others to be enrolled in partial hospitalization.

Criteria for partial hospitalization treatment

  • Individuals must have their means of transportation to get to and from therapy and have a suitable environment to stay when not in the partial hospitalization setting 
  • Individuals who do not meet the criteria for 24-hour monitoring but need more intense treatment than what is offered in an outpatient addiction setting
  • Individuals who are not actively suicidal or threatening to harm others
  • Individuals who are not acutely suffering from psychiatric medication side effects and who are medically stable
  • Individuals who have been discharged from an addiction residential treatment facility and need step-down care
  • The individual requires structured therapy with monitoring by a physician daily for at least three days per week
  • The individual is capable of controlling unsafe or unpredictable behavior when not in the partial hospitalized setting 

Medication-assisted treatment and psychotherapy

Partial hospitalization for substance abuse requires a multidisciplinary treatment team that includes physicians, therapists, dietitians, counselors, and ancillary staff who can provide medication management, psychotherapy, nutritional counseling, relapse prevention, and positive coping skills. 

Medication can be given to help with cravings and prevent relapse as a way to foster long-term sobriety. 

Medication-assisted therapy is most often used for opioid addiction, alcohol addiction, and benzodiazepine addiction, as cravings for these substances can be the strongest. Methadone, clonidine, Suboxone, and benzodiazepines are the most common medications that are given in treatment. 

This can give the individual more time to develop tools to avoid behaviors and situations that might trigger a relapse. 

In the meantime, each client is undergoing psychotherapy approaches to gain knowledge about their addiction and the underlying triggers and how they can use positive coping skills and behaviors to overcome a negative thought process centered on cravings and using. 

Co-occurring disorders

Partial hospitalization treatment centers evaluate individuals with co-occurring disorders upon admission to treat each client for an underlying mental health disorder present. Untreated mental health disorders can result in multiple relapses in the future and can be detrimental to the client’s recovery. 

Group therapy

At many partial hospitalization programs, group therapy is at the core center of treatment. Group therapy sessions are held daily in partial hospitalization programs. They are led by counselors and therapists who allow clients to share their personal experiences and insights and give and receive support from other clients who share similar challenges. Group therapy sessions also provide safe and structured environments where individuals can practice productive interpersonal communication and work on interpersonal skills, conflict resolution skills, and social skills that may be essential to their continued recovery. 

Individual therapy

Individual therapy consists of one-on-one interactions between individuals in treatment and therapists or counselors. Therapists and counselors provide opportunities for clients to process successes and setbacks in their recovery, address issues or concerns that they may be hesitant or unwilling to bring up in a group setting and receive focused feedback from an experienced professional. 

Family sessions

The impact of substance abuse disorders and addiction is rarely limited to the afflicted individual. Family members and close friends are often affected by their loved ones’ struggles and can often play important roles in their recovery. Family therapy has been shown to heal wounds and borders that have been created among family members secondary to substance abuse. Therapists can teach family members about the importance of positive coping skills and interpersonal communication skills so each member can learn to provide adequate support to their loved ones in therapy.


After the client has completed a partial hospitalization program, their recovery journey is just beginning. The treatment team may recommend that the client enroll in an intensive outpatient or an outpatient program or recommend community support combined with once-a-week outpatient therapy. Finding a program that offers comprehensive aftercare services is as crucial as choosing a facility that provides integrated care. The client should have access to counselors, support groups, and other recovery resources after they have completed treatment to evolve in recovery. Many treatment programs offer community resources, online support groups, and an alumni program where the client can become connected within the recovery community. 

The AKUA Mind & Body Solution

AKUA Mind and Body is a full-service treatment program that offers a wide range of “east meets west” treatment modalities for many different populations struggling with substance use and mental health disorders. We offer both intensive inpatient programs as well as outpatient treatment. AKUA Mind & Body works diligently with each client and their family to ensure that treatment plan is specifically tailored to their needs, and not just their disorder. 

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