Frequently Asked Questions About IOP

I’ve never heard of an IOP before. Does this sort of thing actually work?

Our program is based in cutting edge, evidence-based, third wave behavior therapies with documented effectiveness in treating a range of psychological concerns. A vast body of research confirms that treatment in mid-level care settings like IOPs can significantly improve symptoms such as anxiety and depression, as well as your ability to engage fully in work, hobbies, and time with your family. This effect is achieved through a combination of individual sessions and group therapy, and work together to help you approach your experiences in a different way. Unlike many other private practices, the SCP IOP treatment group is also actively engaged in both reviewing and generating research improving treatment and diagnosis. We place a high value in understanding how and why effective treatment works so we can provide you with the best possible care in our programs.

When does the program day start/end?

You will need to check in daily by responding to an emailed prompt every morning by 8:45AM. Please call the front desk to check in by 8:45AM if you are unable to respond to the emailed form or do not receive it for any reason. This lets the IOP team know to expect you for treatment every day, and to plan content and groups accordingly. Patients who do not check in may not be admitted to groups or sessions for the program day. The first group starts at 9 and the final group ends at 12:00, though you may have an individual session after the last group.

How long will I be in the program?

Length of stay varies depending on individual needs. On average, most people are in the program for 2-4 weeks.

Will my insurance cover this?

SCP will coordinate with your insurance company to ensure your care is covered. In the event you do not have coverage this will be communicated to you as soon as possible. Deductible and out of pocket costs vary by insurance companies and your specific policy. If you have concerns about your coverage we recommend you speak with your insurance company directly prior to enrolling (be sure to write down what they say, the date/time, and the name of the person you speak with).

What if I have an emergency and need to leave?

Please call the front desk immediately if you need to be absent unexpectedly. You may be asked to speak with an individual provider prior to checking out for the treatment day.

What if I have an appointment I can’t reschedule that interferes with IOP hours (or need to arrive late/leave early)?

Please make every effort to schedule and reschedule outside appointments to accommodate IOP hours. Let your treatment team know in advance you have critical appointments that cannot be rescheduled. Depending on the amount of treatment you will miss, you may need to cancel a day or days of IOP, or reschedule your start/discharge dates from the program. Repeated missed sessions may result in discharge from the program, so it is important you coordinate closely with your individual team about any planned absences.

I will be driving home but don’t want to miss group/individual sessions! Can I log in and just listen?

We are glad you don’t want to miss any part of the program. We don’t want you to miss your sessions either! That said, we also want you to be able to give your full attention to the treatment you are receiving, and to be safe while doing so. For these reasons, driving during any program activities is strictly prohibited. If you are observed to be driving during any part of your treatment you will be removed from the session and asked to return as soon as you have reached your destination safely.

My childcare fell through today (or my infant is very young), can I log in anyway and just do my best?

We are genuinely sympathetic to the demands of daily life, particularly childcare limitations. Even so, it is difficult to split attention between two very important tasks (childcare and treatment). There are frequently topics, stories, or other specifics happening in groups that would not be appropriate for a child to overhear. It is our experience that the needs of children requiring supervision significantly limits full participation in group activities. Therefore, the presence of children–even very young children– is prohibited during treatment activities.

Please talk with your treatment team as soon as possible if you anticipate childcare demands may limit your participation in the program, and we will do our best to discuss options that may be available to you.

I have to be away for a day (or days), but I don’t want to miss treatment. Is it okay if I log in from somewhere else?

For safety reasons it is required that you provide an accurate, physical location from which you plan to log in daily. Should anything happen requiring support we need to know where you are! Changes to your physical location should be reported on the daily check in form, or you can call the front desk directly at 401-500-0424.

That said, there are strict licensing regulations that limit where our providers can provide treatment. Currently we can only provide treatment to individuals who are located within the state of RI. Regulations and licensing can change, so please contact the front desk if you have any questions about where you can be located to receive treatment through our IOP.

How can I contact my team if they haven’t reached out to me?

Call the front desk at 401-500-0424 and ask to speak with your team or leave a message for them if they are unavailable.

How will I know if my individual team wants to meet with me?

All IOP participants are required to provide an active email address and phone number that is accessible to them throughout their admission. Your team may use either/both of these methods to contact you for individual sessions. Let your team know if you have a preferred method of contact (email vs phone call vs text). Please keep this in mind and make sure you are checking your email and phone regularly during the treatment day.

How often will I see my doctors?

You will meet with your psychiatrist on your first program day, and with your psychologist on either the first or second program day. Our intention is that you will have an individual session with at least one provider on most days.

I need paperwork to be out for TDI/work/school/etc. Can IOP provide this? What about help with SSDI?

We are happy to provide documentation of your participation in the program and dates of admission to work, school or any other relevant parties provided you sign a release for us to do so. Often we can also help with TDI paperwork, though this will depend on your specific case. Due to the short duration of the program we typically do not provide support or help for SSDI or long-term disability cases.

I need help with social services (for example, food stamps, paying bills, legal advice, housing). Can SCP IOP help me with that?

Unfortunately we do not currently have a social worker on staff at SCP.

Will my IOP team talk to my outpatient doctors?

We at SCP are committed to setting the standard for excellent and coordinated care for everyone in our programs. Part of providing good care is working effectively with your outpatient team. At intake you will be asked to provide a release of information for us to speak with each member of your outpatient mental health team, typically your individual therapist, psychiatric prescriber, and primary care doctor. We will then make outreach calls to inform them of your admission and to discuss any pertinent information to provide the best possible support while you are in IOP. After you discharge from the program we will send a brief discharge summary detailing the treatment provided as well as any recommendations for your care moving forward.

Can I still see my outpatient therapist and psychiatrist while I’m in the IOP?

We generally do not recommend seeing your outpatient providers while you are enrolled with us. IOP level care can be both emotionally exhausting and time consuming. Hearing feedback from different sources can also be confusing and make it harder for you to benefit fully from treatment in our setting. Importantly, insurance companies often will not cover outside individual sessions in addition to IOP. Please coordinate first with your IOP treatment team if you plan to see any outpatient mental health providers while you are enrolled in the program.

What if I don’t have an outpatient team, or don’t like the one I have? Will SCP help me find new providers?

It is the policy of the SCP IOP not to provide referrals for outpatient providers if you already have an outpatient team. Changes to your outpatient team should be coordinated directly with those individuals and not done in a short-term setting such as IOP. 

If you do not already have providers for therapy and psychiatric medication– and IOP recommends you have those providers– we will do our best to assist you in establishing care with providers in the community. Please note that we do not currently have a discharge planner on staff, and you will be expected to make your own appointments.

Can I change individual providers at IOP if I don’t like my team?

It is the policy of the SCP not to change individual treatment team assignments. Concerns about your treatment team should be brought up directly with those individuals, openly, genuinely, and with a spirit of willingness to find middle ground to address problems in your care. Skills and process group discussions can provide support for these discussions as well.

My individual team is out today, what does this mean for me?

We make every effort to ensure that your individual needs are met, including assigning a treatment team that plans to be present throughout your admission. That said, sometimes illness and other unplanned events keep us away. The larger IOP treatment team will make every effort to ensure your needs are met regardless of the presence of any specific individuals. Please let us know via the front desk if you have any needs in the absence of your individual team member(s).

I really like my team and want to keep them! Do IOP providers see outpatients?

Thank you, we like seeing you too! Most of our IOP team does not see individual outpatients, however it never hurts to ask. You should ask your doctors directly if this is of interest to you. At a minimum, we may be able to guide you in finding providers who are similar to us in their approach and training. Please keep in mind that as a matter of SCP policy we will not transfer care or refer out if you already have an outpatient team.

Can I talk about triggering things in group? What is off-limits?

People come to SCP IOP for a variety of reasons, and it is common for these stories to include things that others consider upsetting. These experiences are both important and treatment relevant, and you should anticipate they may come up in a general way in your groups. For example, in groups we may reference having a history of trauma, self-harm, grief or loss among other things. This is particularly true in process group, where the discussion is less structured and people may be practicing skillful ways of communicating about very painful experiences. It is also reasonable for you to talk about and receive support for your experience hearing these stories.

That said, detailed discussions of trauma, violence, substance or alcohol use, self-harm, and other difficult experiences may not be appropriate for groups. This is particularly true for stories or comments that glorify, make light of, or otherwise misrepresent the seriousness of these events. If you are unsure whether or how to talk about your experiences please check with your group leader or individual providers.

I already know someone in my groups outside of the program! What should I do?

Rhode Island can be a very small community, and it is not uncommon to recognize someone from your groups as someone you also know outside of treatment. Please bring any outside relationships to the attention of your treatment team as soon as you become aware of them, and we will work with you to determine appropriate next steps.

I really like someone in my group, is it okay if I give them my email address/phone number/social media account/etc?

It’s natural to feel caring and connection for other people you meet in IOP, particularly given the emotional intensity that passes within groups daily. This is part of being human! Nonetheless, it is important that you approach these relationships as meaningful and time-limited interactions, and not as a source of long-term support. 

We strongly discourage any contact between group members other than in our structured treatment setting. This includes (but is not limited to): exchanging phone numbers, texting/chatting, connecting via social media, initiating friendships, dating/sexual/romantic relationships, networking for business purposes, or any other contact between patients currently in treatment outside of IOP hours. Outside relationships can be problematic for treatment and for your safety. We take both treatment and safety very seriously. Violating this rule may be grounds for discharge from the program.

I want to help someone I met in group. Can I give them contact information for my therapist (psychiatrist, support group, etc)?

Although we do not prohibit it, please be extraordinarily careful with offering or accepting any outside resources or recommendations from other patients. There may be very important reasons your team has not suggested a particular resource to you, and what works for one person may not be appropriate for another. Ask your individual team if you have any questions about sharing or accepting resources from another person in the program.

I really don’t like a person in (or running) my groups. What should I do? Can I skip just the groups they’re in?

It is both human and expected that you will have all kinds of reactions to people you meet in IOP, both positive and negative. We absolutely expect some providers and group members will be a more natural fit than others! That said, it is important to find a way to minimize the impact of your personal feelings on your treatment. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to change group or treatment team members as part of IOP. 

Please bring it to the attention of your individual treatment team if you are noticing a strong reaction to any individual group leader or member, particularly if that reaction is negatively affecting your care. They will be able to help guide you in using skills and groups to address any interpersonal conflicts if needed. If necessary, they can also coordinate with the entire IOP team to intervene effectively on your behalf.

I don’t like groups (or individual sessions), or I don’t think they help me. Can I just skip that part?

It is a requirement of IOP admission that you attend all scheduled group and individual sessions daily. The program is designed with an expectation that all individuals enrolled are receiving all components of care to achieve the best possible outcome.

Nonetheless, we understand that not all experiences will feel equally helpful or applicable to your needs. If you are struggling with any individual topic you can absolutely bring questions to both skills and process groups. Your individual team can also help you to get the most from sessions you struggle with. Similarly, individual sessions are an important part of treatment and it is required that you attend these sessions as recommended by your treatment team.

What if I’m too upset to come to group?

As we’ve noted, the program is designed to work best as a complete package, and it is critically important that you attend all sessions as scheduled. Indeed, many of our sessions are specifically designed to help you in moments when you are most upset! We are best able to help you if you attend the program and we are aware of what is happening, so please absolutely attend all sessions, especially if you are feeling distressed or unmotivated.

What if I don’t think the program is helping?

Please speak with your individual treatment team about any concerns about your treatment experience. There may be ways to adjust your care to get more from your time with us. Alternatively, if a transfer of care is indicated, your individual team is best situated to make this happen in a smooth and timely manner.

If you have a complaint about your treatment experience, we first recommend you speak with your individual treatment team. If a resolution is not reached, it can then be escalated to the program director & assistant director at your request, and subsequently to the practice director(s). A copy of our grievance policy can be provided at patient request.

What if I want to talk with my IOP doctors after I leave the program?

Unfortunately we are not able to provide additional support, referrals, or treatment after you left the program. After discharging from IOP your care transfers back to your outpatient treatment team. If you think you need to return to IOP please coordinate a re-referral through one of your outpatient providers.

What if I have an emergency and need to talk to my team?

Please call the front desk at 401-500-0424 if you need assistance during program hours. Although your psychologist and psychiatrist may not be immediately available, we will pass along messages and they will get back to you as soon as they can. Note that IOP providers may not be available outside of program hours (9-12:30), so you may have to wait until the next day to speak with them if you call before/after that time.

If you are having an increase in suicidal thoughts and are unable to remain safe, please do not wait to speak with your treatment team. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you are not able to maintain safety at any point.

Enrollment and Referral Process

To make a referral please complete our secure online referral. Please note that we accept provider referrals and self-referrals.

IOP Referral

For emergency care please call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.