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March 26, 2024

A Day in the Life of a Client in PHP/IDP and IOP Care

A Day in the Life of a Client in PHP/IDP and IOP Care

Seeking support for an eating disorder is not only okay, it’s necessary. The longer care is delayed, the longer disordered thought patterns and behaviors have to take root and complicate recovery.

Eating disorder treatment and recovery can (and do) look different for everyone. Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, race, or background, there is a recovery path for anyone. The Emily Program’s day treatment programs are ideal for many individuals with eating disorders because they allow clients to practice recovery skills in their everyday lives while receiving comprehensive, evidence-based treatment at a higher level of care and structure.

The Emily Program is committed to providing evidence-based treatment that meets you at any stage of life. Breaking free from these all-consuming illnesses is possible. Read on to learn how our day treatment programs promote lasting recovery from an eating disorder.

An Overview of PHP/IDP and IOP Eating Disorder Care

Day treatment at The Emily Program includes our partial hospitalization/intensive day programs (PHP/IDP) and our intensive outpatient program (IOP), both of which are offered to adolescents, teens, young adults, and adults of all genders. With greater flexibility than residential treatment, intensive programming allows clients to live at home while receiving the professional care they need throughout the week.

An Overview of PHP/IDP

PHP/IDP is an all-day treatment program, often the next step after residential care or a starting point for those who don’t require 24/7 support, but do need more than non-intensive outpatient services to build healthy living skills. While treatment varies based on location and client age, clients typically spend a minimum of 30 hours a week in a PHP/IDP program, either in our facilities or in a virtual telehealth environment. Comfortable, convenient lodging is available in St. Louis Park and St. Paul, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington, and Cleveland, Ohio for adult clients 18+ coming from a distance.

PHP/IDP is one of the best options for young clients needing the most symptom-reduction attention and staff support while still living at home. Depending on the site, some PHP/IDP programs have allotted time for school work. We advise checking in with your specific location for specific schooling information.

An Overview of IOP

This level of care offers support for those stepping down from PHP/IDP or those starting off who need more intensive structure than non-intensive outpatient treatment. Clients typically spend a minimum of 12 hours per week in this group-based program, either in our facilities or in a virtual telehealth environment. These sessions provide many of the same components as outpatient care, just at a greater frequency or intensity.

IOP for children, adolescents, and young adults also integrates weekly family participation to enhance the development of coping and recovery skills.

Components of PHP/IDP and IOP Eating Disorder Care

Admission to our intensive day programming starts with a comprehensive assessment to determine each client’s individual program needs, length of treatment, and specific schedule as they progress through care.

Components of PHP/IDP

PHP offers clients a full day of treatment, typically 5 days a week for 6 hours per day. Clients spend the majority of their days in treatment. Their remaining daily hours offer space to work on recovery strategies outside of the treatment setting. Programming includes structured therapeutic meals, behavior exposure groups, and experiential challenges. During treatment, clients will meet with their therapist, dietitian, and other medical professionals. Psychiatric assessment, medication management, and medical monitoring may also be part of a client’s intensive day/partial hospitalization program. In addition to one-on-one therapy, many of our programs for adolescents are based on the Maudsley Approach, which recognizes the importance of family involvement in the treatment of eating disorders.

Components of IOP

Clients in IOP typically spend 4 days per week in treatment, for roughly 3 hours per day. Dividing time between treatment sessions and everyday life allows clients to practice their recovery skills in the settings where they navigate their daily activities. Focused group-based intervention and therapeutic meals provide enhanced therapeutic support and symptom interruption.

Each individualized PHP/IDP and IOP care plan will feature a variety of age-appropriate therapeutic modalities designed to help clients develop recovery skills, navigate triggers, and better understand and manage the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that maintain their illness.

Multidisciplinary PHP/IOP treatment at The Emily Program includes:

  • Skills-based group therapy is held in age-appropriate groups typically made up of 5-10 clients, led by a licensed therapist. Group therapy incorporates recovery skills foundational to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), such as psychoeducation, self-monitoring, mood management, mindfulness, and distress tolerance.
  • Therapeutic meals are dietitian-designed and staff-supported. These shared meals allow us to address our clients’ relationships with food during the actual eating experience, as well as provide support and model healthy eating behaviors.
  • Expressive arts/movement therapy promotes a reconnection of a client’s mind and body, offers anxiety and stress management, and gives clients a chance to explore the confusing and overwhelming emotions tied to their eating disorder without judgment or shame.
  • Food skills groups challenge maladaptive beliefs about nutrition and improve clients’ comfort and efficacy in meal planning, grocery shopping, and food preparation.
  • Individual therapy and nutrition sessions target the distorted thoughts, maladaptive behaviors, and interpersonal difficulties that maintain eating disorder symptoms. Sessions also aim to provide clients with knowledge of their eating disorder triggers and personalized relapse prevention plans.
  • Psychiatry and medical services may be a part of a client’s partial hospitalization/intensive day program. The medical and psychiatric team at The Emily Program is committed to providing as much education and support as clients need regarding the unique complications of eating disorders and co-occurring conditions.
  • Case management services provide a client’s designated case manager with the opportunity to check in on their progress and communicate with clients’ treatment teams outside of The Emily Program to ensure the best possible quality of care.
  • Educational support during the school year allows clients to maintain academic progress during treatment. Study hall during programming hours is only included in certain PHP programs. While participating in IOP, schoolwork time is not included due to shorter programming hours. We recommend checking in with your specific location and/or Admissions Coordinator for school details for the level of care/programming you intend to pursue.
  • Lodging accommodations make PHP/IDP accessible for adult clients coming from a distance. Lodging is another way we’re committed to encouraging lifetime recovery for our clients. Our comfortable and secure lodging options are specifically designed for clients 18+ to practice real-life recovery skills in a peer-supportive, non-therapeutic setting.

For more specific timelines, view the sample schedules for a typical day in PHP/IDP and IOP:

Sample Day Schedule for PHP/IOP at The Emily Program

Within The Emily Program’s PHP/IDP and IOP treatment, you or your loved one will be among those who innately understand the pain and challenges of an eating disorder, and are equipped to provide the highest level of evidence-based care. If you have additional questions about our intensive day treatment, please call us at 888-364-5977 or complete an online form.



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