RiverMend Health Center’s badge awarded by The Joint Commission  - National Quality Approval for being a leading Georgia drug rehab.
    • 19 NOV 17
    Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) – A Day in the Life

    Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) – A Day in the Life

    Many people entering treatment for drug and alcohol addiction choose to get help through outpatient rehab, specifically an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP).

    IOP at RiverMend Health Center of Atlanta is offered as a 5-day a week program or a 3-day a week program, with 3 to 4 hours of therapy, programs and other services daily.

    Clients often start in the 5-day a week IOP program and transition to the 3-day a week program as their recovery progresses. Daily sessions may include individual counseling, group therapy, family therapy, recovery coaching and a medical check up from our nurse practitioner or registered nurse. Led by Dr. Stacy Seikel, a physician with board certifications in anesthesiology and addiction medicine, our staff includes master’s level therapists and recovery coaches, who draw from their own recovery to help others.

    IOP at RiverMend Health Center of Atlanta helps men and woman cope with cravings, overcome challenges, achieve their recovery goals and prevent relapse. IOP may be a starting point for care, or a step-down from a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or residential care. Prior to enrolling patients in IOP, patients receive a full-day assessment from our medical and clinical staff that includes their addiction, dual disorders and a full medical and psychiatric history.

    Here’s what a typical day in our IOP looks like.


    Morning meditation group – Each morning, a therapist facilitates guided meditation. During meditation, clients practice mindfulness – being present in the moment, self-aware and tapping into internal wisdom. Through mindfulness, individuals can learn to recognize triggering emotions, and develop strategies to cope with them.

    Reflections worksheets discussion – Recovery reflections worksheets are for processing challenges using the written word, similar to journaling. Patients may write about their experiences, goals or struggles, and then discuss it in group therapy, receiving support and advice from their peers.

    Skills group – Using the RecoveryMind training system, clients in skills group develop and practice specific skills needed to function and thrive in the world outside of treatment. These skills may include strategies for avoiding triggers or coping with cravings, communication skills such as giving and receiving advice, and learning to control powerful emotions. The group practices experiential role playing, acting out high-risk situations for drug and alcohol use and developing ways of refusing offers for drugs or exiting compromising situations.

    Gender-specific process group – Led by Clinical Director Catherine Baer, the goal of the process group is to build trust, to encourage open and honest communication, and promote an environment in which individuals feel safe to share their struggles and work collaboratively to understand one another. Process group allows participants to receive multiple perspectives, support and feedback from other individuals in a safe and confidential environment. The interactions in promote deeper levels of self-awareness and interpersonal effectiveness, as patients practice relating to others, expressing their feelings, hearing the thoughts of others and responding constructively and compassionately.

    Relapse prevention group – Relapse is a serious risk, especially early in recovery. The relapse prevention group develops the tools that help individuals in recovery avoid returning to the circumstances, habits and thought processes that led to the substance use. Topics covered include dealing with emotions such as anger and resentment, navigating potentially triggering situations, and building healthy coping skills and lifestyle habits to support recovery.

    Trauma recovery – Many people with a substance use disorder have suffered significant trauma in their lives. For some, alcohol and drugs is a way to self-medicate or soothe emotional pain and the physical symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). RiverMend Health Center uses Seeking Safety, an evidence-based curriculum that provides integrated treatment for addiction and trauma. With a gentle and empathetic approach, clients are guided in envisioning what safety would look and feel like for them, and deal with powerful negative emotions that memories of traumatic experiences can stir up. We also offer EMDR, which research has shown can help make memories of traumatic experiences less distressing, allowing people to move past them.

    Medical check up – Each session, patients see a registered nurse or nurse practitioner for a check up to ensure their medications are working as intended, they’re feeling physically and mentally healthy, and to conduct drug screening if needed.

    Yoga – Movement to strengthen the body, breath work and meditation to calm the mind, and mindfulness to learn to be in the present, yoga has much to offer people in recovery. Yoga helps men and women heal mentally, physically and spiritually from the damage of alcohol and drug use.

    IOP Weekly Programming

    Family therapy – Families are integral to care at RiverMend Health Center, Once a week, family members are invited to attend our family group, where they learn about addiction’s impact on the brain and behavior, and how to support their loved one’s recovery in a healthy manner. Because addiction hurts the whole family, families also work through the emotional pain and anger that addiction has caused them personally, and meet other families who have been through a similar situation.

    Individual Counseling – Group therapy is incredibly powerful for building community, sharing ideas, and getting feedback from others who are walking a similar path. But one-on-one time with a licensed marriage and family counselor (LMFT) or a master’s level licensed professional counselor (LPC) to work through issues, discuss issues that you might not want to bring up in group, is also essential to treatment for addiction and dual disorders. Our therapists used evidence-based techniques, such as cognitive behavioral training (CBT) and dialectical behavior training (DBT).

    Recovery Coaching – People who have struggled with addiction and achieved long-term recovery provide important support, a deep level of understanding and practical advice for others on a similar journey. Our recovery coaches have personal knowledge of the pain of addiction and now are dedicated to helping others recovery. Recovery coaches act as guides to recovery, including making sure individuals have a sponsor, attend community-based 12-step or other support meetings, and have sober living arrangements if needed. Recovery coaches also give patients specific assignments related to their recovery. Progress is discussed during group therapy.

    Find out more about IOP.