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What Are Partial Hospitalization Programs In Recovery?


Partial hospitalization programs (PHP), also called day programs, offer a high level of short-term specialized care for individuals struggling with substance abuse and Partial hospitalization programs mental health issues. These programs do not require the patient to live in the treatment facility. Partial hospitalization programs are a step up from the intensive inpatient programs and therefore require more time in treatment. Thirty years of research supports the efficacy of these programs, and statistics show PHP to be extremely effective in treating these disorders. The programs are highly structured and designed to produce a specific outcome. The treatments are tailored to each individual’s needs.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate?

PHP is not for everyone. Some people require full-time inpatient care to stabilize their symptoms. They need to receive access to 24-hour support and to reduce their risk of harm. However, there are instances where a patient does not require such a high level of care and / or has completed treatment in an inpatient facility. In this case, they can benefit from the PHP program.

Before entering such a program, a qualified medical professional will assess the patient, and the right program will be chosen based on the patient’s criteria. Medically stable individuals who are not at risk of harming themselves, have adequate support at home, and who are motivated to participate in the treatment are considered for the partial hospitalization program. Like any therapy, the recovery depends on the person. Each person is going to respond differently, and not all interventions are going to work the same way. An unmotivated person will simply not recover. Motivation is key when working toward recovery, and therefore motivation is a requirement for the program.

What Happens In A PHP?

The patient in the partial hospitalization program is medically monitored while undergoing treatment and participates in a variety of evidence-based therapies for up to five hours per day, five days a week. These programs can run for between three to five weeks. Patients are expected to meet their weekly commitments and attend intensive therapy sessions. Patients have access to educational services, medication management, and an array of specially designed therapies. Care teams of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and psychologists, etc. are appointed as deemed necessary and are part of their treatment plan.  The aim of these treatments is to provide comprehensive care for a range of mental disorders like addiction. At the same time, allowing the individual to have the freedom to live their life outside of the program. This also allows the person to take skills learned for coping with life as a recovering addict and applying these skills to their everyday life. This is in order to remain clean outside of the rehab center.

It offers an easier transition back into society and helps the patient gain confidence and independence.

What Methodologies Are Utilized?

Because addiction is a multifaceted disorder and everyone’s needs are different, it can’t be healed by one method alone. The partial hospitalization program uses several types of treatments. Some of the treatment types used include behavioral therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a psycho-social intervention. This approach aims to determine what leads to the negative behaviors the individual exhibits by identifying underlying issues.  It is one of the core treatment methods for addiction. Individual counseling allows the therapist to delve deeply into the issues surrounding the behavior of the person by focusing on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions. Allowing them to develop personal coping strategies, reduce or extinguish maladaptive behaviors, develop healthier relationships, and lead a more values-directed life.

Behavioral therapy, combined with support groups, allow individuals to relate to others who are struggling with similar issues. These groups provide insight and an opportunity to share coping strategies and to learn more about the disease. Having a mental disorder can lead to feelings of guilt and shame. Groups, therefore, allow people to share their experiences and alleviate these negative feelings. A study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health found that over half of the patients that received therapy experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms. Group therapy is, therefore, an essential part of the recovery process.

Complimentary Therapies

Other therapies include art therapy. Art therapy is used as a creative process to explore emotions, reduce stress and anxiety, improve self-management skills, alleviate symptoms of depression, etc. Regardless of artistic experience or talent. The aim is to manage behaviors, process feelings, and create a feeling of well-being.

Some partial hospitalization programs offer dual -diagnosis treatment for co-occurring mental disorders. Often, people suffering from a substance abuse disorder have an underlying mental health disorder or vice versa, such as a mood disorder, anxiety, or depression. People who are diagnosed with mental health disorders often use substances to feel better. Those with a mental illness are far more likely to abuse substances and become an addict. Dual diagnosis works to treat both disorders so the person can have a long-lasting recovery.


Compared with inpatient programs, the PHP costs far less, making this option more affordable to a broader range of private paying clients.

When the individual leaves the partial hospitalization program, they should have detoxed from their substance abuse, and they should know how to function on their own. They should have a thorough understanding of their disorder and have learned how to deal with triggers that might otherwise lead to a relapse. Individuals that complete the program often graduate to an outpatient therapy program that continues to monitor their progress. Because PHP is a short-term program, some people will need to continue receiving support, whether it be continuing with support groups or therapy. Therapy sessions are held less frequently and can be continued for as long as needed.


In conclusion, the partial inpatient hospitalization program is highly recommended and successful in treating a variety of mental health issues. It allows the patient to lead a normal life while receiving a wide variety of treatments designed specifically for mental illnesses. Along with the support and guidance needed to overcome their illness and maintain a balanced and fulfilled life, this is a winning formula.