Intensive Outpatient

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) – Adult and Adolescent Tracks


A 12-week group program for clients who need more structure and support beyond the traditional outpatient setting. We continue a client-centered approach yet place more emphasis on skill development. The IOP is designed to provide structured interventions utilizing a blend of family and individual psycho-education, nutrition education, skills building, mindfulness, exposures, and processing. The program curriculum draws from the most effective and evidence-based therapeutic approaches in the field, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), family-based therapy (FBT), Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), and person-centered modalities.  


Clients will engage in nine (9) hours of group therapy per week, which is distributed over three (3) days per week. In addition, clients continue individual psychotherapy and nutrition therapy. Each week clients (and family) will participate in the following groups:


Multi-family Psychoeducation Group (Adolescent Track)


Family can be a valuable source of support and strength for clients on the journey to eating disorder recovery. In the Multi-family Psychoeducation group, members are able to gain insight and learn from each other, provide support and encouragement, alleviate their sense of isolation, and improve communication. Group topics will cover material on eating disorder psychoeducation, nutrition education, and process-oriented support for families. 


Open Process Group


The process psychotherapy groups are loosely structured sessions in which clients can share struggles, learn how to be vulnerable, and develop intimacy with one another to heal wounds in a safe and supportive environment. These sessions can follow a week’s theme set by other modalities with IOP or can be adapted to the needs of the group’s current processing needs. Clients can utilize open process groups to practice engagement with others in preparation for the outside world.  


Psycho-Education Group


Psycho-education groups are a time for clients to learn new coping skills, discovering common emotional and behavioral themes that clients may repeat, and identifying issues to further explore in other IOP groups (expressive arts or yoga groups). The curriculum for these groups draws from evidence-based theories such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and person-centered modalities.


Exposure Response Prevention (ERP)


Exposure therapy works through exposing you to a feared or anxiety producing thought, image, object, activity or situation in a safe controlled environment. Although it may seem counter intuitive to expose a client to something they fear, the more one avoids the fear the stronger that fear becomes. In exposure therapy, the clinician sets up a safe controlled environment to expose the client to the feared stimulus in order to reduce fear and avoidance of the stimulus. Repeating the exposure over time causes the client to become less fearful, anxious and avoidant which is a psychological process called habituation. In individuals with eating disorders habituation fosters a greater ability to tolerate uncomfortable feelings and stop engaging in compulsive behaviors. Exposure therapy is used to address multiple areas of concern including:

  • Fear foods
  • Fearful eating situations
  • Clothing: wearing appropriate and/or form fitting
  • Body image
  • Weighing and/or body checking
  • Rituals
  • Social situations and activities


Expressive Arts Group


The expressive arts group will work on a combination of individual pieces and collaborative projects, weekly and long-term assignments to enhance the expression of thoughts and emotions relating to disordered eating, past trauma, and negative body image. 


Nutrition Education Group


The nutrition education group, led by a registered dietitian whose philosophy aligns with the Intuitive Eating and Healthy at Every Size models, provides opportunities for the client to develop an improved awareness of how food affects the body’s ability to operate optimally, challenge your food rules, and dispel nutrition myths.    


Shared Meal


The overarching objective of the shared meals are to (1) restore normal eating and a connection between mind and body through support, guidance, empathy, and validation of your feelings, (2) decrease rituals and target behaviors around food fears, (3) increase self-confidence around eating, and (4) introduce eating as a pleasant experience.


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