Lightfully’s Teen IOP: What to Expect
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Lightfully’s Teen IOP: What to Expect

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Maintaining mental wellness is a huge part of teens staying physically healthy — and yet, mental health treatment has been clouded by stigma, misinformation, misunderstandings, and negative portrayals in movies and TV. Many people don’t know that there are levels of mental health care between outpatient therapy and inpatient treatment

Well, there are! Structured outpatient programs typically offer several different kinds of treatment during the day, and clients go home at night. A Teen Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is for teens who need a bit more care than weekly or biweekly therapy sessions can provide. If your teen is experiencing moderate to severe mental health symptoms, a Teen IOP may be the best place for them to start treatment.

We created this guide to help you decide which Lightfully Teen program is right for your child and get ready for their first days in treatment.

What can my family expect from Lightfully’s Teen IOP?

Family involvement is strongly encouraged throughout the treatment process. You may be invited to attend family therapy sessions or support groups with your child. Second, each teen has a unique experience in an IOP because they’ll get a fully personalized treatment plan. They’ll develop a trusting relationship with an individual therapist and attend support groups with other teens who care about improving their mental health.

Our Teen IOP is different from other programs in a couple of important ways. We use a process-based therapy (PBT) approach, which means our programs are holistic, compassionate and whole-person-centered. We treat people, not symptoms. Also, each person in our treatment community is seen, heard and valued as their authentic selves.

Another important aspect of an IOP is the flexible schedule that allows teens to keep up with school and practice their new skills in familiar environments. Your teen will attend programming three to five days a week for about six to eight weeks of treatment while receiving in-program academic support.

Here are a few highlights about Lightfully’s Teen IOP:

  • Personalized treatment plan
  • Develop skills for managing emotions, thoughts, behaviors and relationships
  • Multiple evidence-based treatment interventions
  • Impactful group sessions with other teens doing their own mental health work
  • Time to practice new skills and maintain everyday routines outside of treatment
  • Certified teachers present to help with schoolwork

What steps will we take during the admission process?

The first step is to reach out to an Admissions Counselor who will collect some information and answer any questions you have. Then, we’ll verify your insurance (with your permission) and your teen will take a phone assessment with one of our masters-level clinicians. We’ll ask them in-depth questions to get a clear understanding of your child’s needs and how we can help. After our team reviews the information, we’ll send you our treatment recommendations and let you know our soonest available start date. Your Admissions Counselor will connect you with a member of our on-site team who will greet you at the door when you arrive on your first day.

What can my teen expect in their first days at Lightfully’s Teen IOP?

Your teen will take a tour of our facility on their first day, get to know their individual therapist, and learn more about the therapeutic modalities they’ll engage with. They will start attending group sessions right away — but there’s no pressure to participate until they feel comfortable doing so. Many of our teens bring fidget toys or stress balls for sensory stimulation during treatments. 

What treatments will my teen receive? Who makes that decision?

Lightfully takes a unique approach to treatment called process-based therapy (PBT), which you can think of as a fully personalized framework using the most effective aspects of the evidence-based modalities listed below. These target the drivers behind mental health disorders and symptoms while teaching skills that will remain valuable for the rest of your child’s life. 

Our clinical team makes the initial recommendations for the modalities your child will engage with, and you’ll be able to discuss these with your child’s treatment team. We believe families are integral to a teen’s healing process, so your thoughts and your teen’s thoughts will be an important part of this decision-making process.

PBT incorporates aspects of the following therapeutic modalities into your child’s personalized care plan:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Cognitive processing therapy (CPT)
  • Compassion-based therapy
  • Somatic therapy

What else should I know about Lightfully’s Teen IOP?

Our IOP is one of three care levels we offer in our Lightfully Teen programs. Our holistic treatment model reinforces four core processes for mental wellness: skills for managing emotions, thoughts, behaviors and relationships. Your teen will learn a lot about themselves and gain valuable perspective on life during this experience, and they might make some good friends, too. 

Your teen may not want to share many details about treatment in their first days. They may be a little extra tired after long treatment sessions, especially if they’re taking new medication. Once you get involved with family therapy sessions, you’ll start learning some specific ways to support your teen. You might learn a few new skills or something new about yourself along the way!

How do I start the conversation about Lightfully’s Teen IOP with my child?

Approaching the topic of mental health with your child for the first time can be challenging, especially if you think that it’s time for them to try an IOP. The conversation can also lead to some new insights and deepen your relationship with them. The key is to let them know you’re there to listen, that they aren’t alone and that an IOP can help them make the changes they’re striving for. 

If you need some help starting this conversation with your teen, our article on how to help a teen with depression has some good tips. You can also share this one with them on the benefits of attending a Teen IOP

What questions do you have about navigating this process or talking with your teen about treatment? Contact us for answers. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together.

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