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Coping Skills Learned in PHP and IOP Programs

May 17th, 2024

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Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) and Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are treatment opportunities concentrated in a shorter and more intensive period than outpatient treatment. One focus in both PHP and IOP programs is the education and practicing of various skills and coping mechanisms for managing symptoms and overall well-being. Keep reading to learn more about the coping strategies learned in partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs to see if these forms of therapy could be helpful for you and your personal mental health needs!


Understanding PHP and IOP Programs

Common mental health challenges and symptoms addressed in partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs include anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. Individual treatment plans ensure that each patient’s goals, current challenges, and unique needs are met with a tailored treatment approach.

The goal of both PHP and IOP programs is to lower the level of care gradually (from PHP to IOP to outpatient care). While patients may be concerned by the time commitment and possible disruption of work or school associated with PHP and IOP treatment, the long-term benefits for mental health and well-being outweigh short-term inconveniences.

IOP Program:

  • Attendance 3 to 5 days a week
  • Approximately 3 hours a day
  • Treatment can last between a few weeks to a couple of months

PHP Program:

  • Attendance 5 to 7 days a week
  • Approximately 4-6 hours a day
  • Treatment can last between a few weeks to a couple of months

Coping Skills and Strategies for Mental Health

Coping skills are patterns or characteristics which can enhance and increase our ability to adapt, in the moment, to stressful events. While there are many stressful situations in life that are beyond our control, coping skills allow us to focus on what we can control, which is our responses and reactions to these situations. The use of coping skills can help in many situations, including work or academic pressures, relationship troubles, and personal frustrations.

When it feels difficult to regulate our emotions, manage stressful situations, or deal with trauma and stressors, some may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms for relief or escape. While certain strategies, such as substance use, over/under eating, overspending, avoidance, or oversleeping may provide temporary relief from negative thoughts or uncomfortable situations, these unhealthy coping mechanisms can lead to long-term stress and problems.

While mental health challenges can complicate the acceptance and processing of complex emotions, developing and practicing healthy coping skills can significantly help in managing and overcoming these stressful situations. PHP programs and IOP programs can be a beneficial support in the recovery process and in learning how to channel energy into healthier outlets and coping mechanisms.

There are countless different methods, strategies, and skills for coping with our emotions and situations in a healthy way. Here are a few common methods you can try:

  • Creative Expression: Channel your feelings through art, music, or writing to process emotions creatively.
  • Establishing Healthy Boundaries: Learn to say no and set limits to maintain your mental well-being.
  • Exercise: Engage in physical activity to reduce stress and improve mood.
  • Journaling: Write down your thoughts and feelings to gain clarity and perspective.
  • Mindfulness: Stay present and grounded by practicing mindfulness techniques.
  • Breathing Exercises: Use controlled breathing to calm your mind and body.
  • Meditation: Dedicate time to meditation to enhance overall emotional health.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Relieve tension through focused muscle relaxation exercises.
  • Practicing Gratitude: Regularly acknowledge and appreciate the positive aspects of your life.
  • Setting Goals: Establish and pursue achievable goals to foster motivation and focus.
  • Sleep Hygiene: Develop healthy sleep habits to improve both mental and physical health.
  • Social Supports: Build and maintain supportive relationships to enhance resilience during tough times.

Coping Mechanisms Taught in PHP Programs and IOP Programs

PHP and IOP therapy offer skill building and coping mechanism education across a variety of life areas to ensure that individuals are treated holistically. Some examples of skills and coping mechanisms that are taught in both PHP and IOP programs include:

  • Interpersonal Skills from Group Therapy: Develop relationship-building abilities that can enhance personal and professional connections, learned through interactive group therapy sessions.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Strategies: Master DBT techniques that focus on improving emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness to better manage life's challenges.
  • Building Self-Confidence: Strengthen your belief in your own abilities, fostering resilience and the capacity to overcome obstacles.
  • Practicing Self-Care: Employ self-care routines to maintain focus and engage in activities that uplift and promote health and well-being.
  • Utilizing Mindfulness Tools: Incorporate mindfulness practices to stay grounded in the present moment, enhancing clarity about your emotions and the most effective responses to them.

While this list is not all-encompassing by any means, it can serve as a helpful outline for thinking about the different areas where healthy coping mechanisms can be developed.

Expressive Therapy in PHP and IOP Programs

Many PHP programs and IOP programs offer various types of treatments, including expressive therapy groups. Expressive therapies can be a beneficial form of treatment and a great tool for coping. Expressive therapies allow individuals an outlet for creative expression, offering an alternate form of communication for things that feel difficult or confusing to share and process verbally.

There are many forms of expressive therapies, with some including: art therapy, dance and movement therapy, drama therapy, and music therapy. The focus in expressive therapies is usually on the process and act of creative expression itself, so patients don’t need to be a “good” artist, musician, dancer, actor, or even have any past experiences with these art forms.

Professionals in this field can guide you through open-ended or structured activities to assist in self-discovery and healing. Some benefits of expressive therapies include:

  • Alternative Communication Pathways: Provides a means to access and express emotions through non-verbal methods, offering an alternative to traditional talk therapy.
  • Enhances Creativity and Self-Expression: Encourages creative outlets that facilitate personal expression and emotional exploration.
  • Versatile Application: Effective across diverse patient demographics and adaptable to various treatment models.
  • Integration of Art and Psychology: Merges psychological principles with active art-making, enriching the therapeutic experience.
  • Holistic Approach: Offers a comprehensive and integrative method to mental health care, addressing multiple aspects of well-being.
  • Skill and Confidence Building: Opens opportunities for developing new skills and boosting self-confidence through artistic expression.

Integrating Coping Mechanisms Learned in PHP and IOP into Daily Life

Therapy programs, such as PHP and IOP, can be extremely beneficial for building resilience - not only short-term functioning and well-being, but also for long-term maintenance and recovery. Continuity of care can be a crucial support for maintaining progress beyond therapeutic programs, so it is important to talk with your provider(s) about options for moving forward as you transition between levels of care.

There are many supports available through Clarity Clinic, including: regular sessions with therapists for management of emotions, maintenance of skills and coping mechanisms learned in PHP/IOP, appointments with providers for management of symptoms and medication(s), as well as options for therapeutic groups which can assist in providing support during transitions between levels of care.


Explore The Leading PHP and IOP Program in Chicago

If you're seeking comprehensive support to overcome mental health challenges, our mental health clinic is here to help. Clarity Clinic offers the best therapy treatments for various mental health conditions such as PHP and IOP for depression and so much more.

As the leading PHP and IOP program in Chicago, our structured and supportive environment is designed to provide the intensive care and coping strategies you need to thrive.

Don't wait to take the first step towards a healthier, more balanced life. Book a consultation with one of our therapists or contact us today to learn more about our partial hospitalization program and intensive outpatient program.

Whether you’re interested in adult therapy, IOP and PHP, TMS for depression, couples therapy, or other forms of therapy, Clarity Clinic has what you need to get your mental health journey started.

Visit our mental health clinic locations in the Loop, Arlington Heights, Evanston, Lakeview Belmont, Lakeview Broadway, and Mokena today!

Book a Consultation!

Related Readings:

PHP and IOP Program Coping Mechanisms: Commonly Asked Questions


Resources:

Caring for Your Mental Health

Expressive Arts Therapy

Healthy Coping Skills for Uncomfortable Emotions

National Library of Medicine - Effectiveness and Application of Partial Hospitalization

Overcoming Mental Health Struggles with PHP: Roadmap to Recovery

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