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What to Expect from Your Outpatient Therapist When Getting Treatment at a Higher Level of Care

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

Hearing your therapist suggest a higher level of care can be scary because of all the unknowns. However, it is common to receive this recommendation if your therapist believes that you would benefit from more intensive therapy. Higher levels of care include residential, partial hospitalization (PHP), and intensive outpatient (IOP). These types of treatments vary in intensity and duration but are all extremely helpful when more than one or two hours a week with your therapist is needed to get your mental health back on track. Here’s some of what you can expect if you and your therapist agree that a higher level of care may be beneficial.

  • Referrals: Your therapist can help figure out what type of program is the best fit for you. All of the therapists at Cutting Edge Counseling have an extensive list of referrals for higher levels of care in the area that we will provide when necessary. Then, we can help you determine which ones will best meet your current needs. Then, you can call the various programs to do an initial assessment and learn more about their admissions process.

  • Staying in touch during treatment: Your outpatient therapist will stay in touch with the program you go to throughout the course of treatment. This way, we can stay informed about your progress and begin to plan what therapy will look like when you return to outpatient therapy. The treatment center you attend will keep us updated about discharge planning and next steps.

  • Returning to outpatient therapy: Returning to once or twice a week therapy after being in a higher level of care can be intimidating. As you work through this transition, we will help make sure that you are utilizing the skills you have learned in treatment to properly cope with the discomfort that is typically felt during this time. During your first session back with your outpatient therapist, expect to talk a lot about the progress you made and what you want to continue working on. It is important for us to understand from your perspective how being in a higher level of care helped you work towards your goals.

  • Continuing to make progress: Remember that discharging from a higher level of care does not mean that you have nothing left to work on. Instead, it suggests that you are at a place where you are able to work on your mental health more independently. Your outpatient therapist is here to help assist you in continuing to make progress. Don’t be afraid to ask for more help if you need it.

Overall, higher levels of care are extremely beneficial when struggling with more severe mental health symptoms. It may feel scary to stop seeing your outpatient therapist for a period of time, but they will still be there keeping track of your progress and planning for your return. If you feel that you may benefit from a more intensive program, don’t hesitate to bring it up with your therapist, as they can help facilitate the transition and ensure that you find a program that can best meet your specific needs.

Written by,

Alyssa Meixelsperger, LSW



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