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PHP are a scheduled, weekly series of therapy sessions, which generally meet 5 days per week.

PHPs can function as a step-down program from inpatient or residential treatment. PHPs are used to prevent or minimize the need for a more intensive level of treatment, while also allowing a patient to return home at night. They offer individual, group, and family therapy, as well as evaluation and treatment by a psychiatrist and/or advanced practice nurse for medication management (Houvenagle, 2015).

The following are some general guidelines for PHPs:

  • PHPs typically meet Monday through Friday for about six hours (usually 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

  • Some PHPs offer transportation and meals, but this can vary by program

  • PHPs can last from one to six months, or as little as one week

  • Before you finish the program, your treatment team will help you make a plan for the next level of care. This could include IOP, individual psychotherapy or medication management with a psychiatrist or an advanced practice nurse.


The following are the goals for PHP:


  • Recognize personal strengths and areas for growth

  • Develop healthy coping skills

  • Identify, challenge and modify unhealthy thoughts and beliefs

  • Change unhealthy behavior patterns

  • Problem solve and cope with emotional crises

  • Improve communication skills and interpersonal boundaries

  • Set immediate and long-term goals

Many PHPs offer a family component. Research has shown the individuals whose families are involved in treatment have a much better prognosis and a higher success rate. The goal of the family education program is to provide family members with information and support that will assist the client in their recovery (Dowell & Ogles, 2010).

Dr. David Houvenagle Interview

Dr. David Houvenagle received his Ph.D. from the University of Louisville, a Master of Divinity from Bethel Theological Seminary, and a Master of Social Work from Southern Seminary. Dr. Houvenagle is the author of Clinician’s Guide to Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Practice.


Click the links below to find out more about PHP.



Find a PHP



PHP Guidelines

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