Understanding Treatment: How Long is a PHP?

Get answers to questions like “how long is a PHP?” and “what are the benefits of attending a PHP?” here.

Comprehensive Partial Hospitalization Program Treatment at Black Horse Health

At Black Horse Health, we understand how difficult it can be to plan out what kind of treatment you need, along with wondering how long your recovery journey might take.

Our team of skilled and compassionate specialists have over 100 years of combined experience, and we are committed to helping you or your loved one lead a fulfilling life by helping you understand every aspect of our partial hospitalization program.

With holistic wellness services including cognitive-behavioral therapy, structured care plans, and dual diagnosis treatment, we will create a path to recovery that best meets your unique set of symptoms.

What’s Next?

Learn more about our partial hospitalization program, other treatment opportunities, and how our Black Horse Health team of specialists can help you heal in this comprehensive article.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for more information or to begin your path to wellness today.

how long is a PHP

How Long is a PHP?: Introduction

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is a structured and intensive mental health treatment option. It is designed to provide patients with comprehensive care while allowing them to return home at the end of the day. But how long is a PHP?

Who Benefits from a PHP?

A PHP is often recommended for people who need more support than outpatient therapy but do not need the around-the-clock care of inpatient hospitalization. People in a PHP will attend therapy sessions and group counseling, and receive medical supervision during the day.

Benefits of This Level of Care

This level of care allows patients to work on their mental health or substance use disorder challenges. This may include:

  • Managing symptoms
  • Developing coping skills
  • Addressing underlying issues

This all occurs while still maintaining some level of independence and connection to their everyday lives. The specific services of a PHP can vary depending on the person’s needs and the treatment center’s offerings.1

How Long is a PHP?

How long is a PHP? The duration of a PHP can vary widely, depending on:

  • The person’s specific needs
  • The severity of their mental health condition
  • The treatment center’s policies

A PHP is designed to be flexible. It provides a level of care that is more intensive than outpatient treatment but less restrictive than inpatient care.

Standard Duration of a PHP

Often, a PHP may last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The length of stay in a PHP gets determined by the person’s progress and treatment goals.

As they make improvements and develop the necessary skills to manage their mental health, they may transition to a less intensive level of care, such as an intensive outpatient program (IOP) or regular outpatient therapy.2

How Long is a PHP Compared to Other Programs?

The length of a PHP compared to other treatment options varies significantly. But, here’s a general comparison:

  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): As mentioned, this often lasts a few weeks to a few months, but it can be longer or shorter depending on the person’s progress.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): This program often ranges from several weeks to a few months, with sessions several times a week. An IOP offers a moderate level of structure and intensity, often involving group therapy and individual counseling sessions.
  • Inpatient Treatment: This is often shorter in duration, ranging from a few days to a few weeks. But, it may last for 30 to 90 days as well. Inpatient treatment provides 24/7 care and monitoring in a highly structured environment.
  • Outpatient Therapy: Outpatient therapy is ongoing and can last for several months or even years, depending on the person’s needs and treatment goals. Outpatient therapy offers the least intensive level of care and is often less frequent, with sessions occurring weekly or biweekly.

The duration of a PHP is personalized to the patient’s needs and is assessed and adjusted by mental health professionals as treatment progresses. It’s essential for the treatment plan to be flexible and adaptable to meet the changing requirements of the person receiving care.

How Long is a PHP?: Variations for Mental Health or Substance Use Disorders

The recommended length of a PHP may also vary depending on the mental health disorder, substance use disorder, or dual diagnosis treatment that a person needs.

Below are some general guidelines for how the duration of PHP may vary for different conditions:3

Mental Health Conditions

The general length of a PHP for mental health conditions includes:

  • Depression and Anxiety Disorders: A PHP for people with depression or anxiety disorders may last several weeks to a few months. A PHP is often a step-down in treatment, as many patients generally attend inpatient treatment first.
  • Bipolar Disorder: A PHP for bipolar disorder may be more extended, often ranging from a few months to six months or more. Stabilization and mood management are crucial in this case.
  • Eating Disorders: A PHP for eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, can be longer-term and may last several months to a year or more. These conditions need a comprehensive approach to address physical and psychological aspects.
  • Schizophrenia: A PHP for psychotic disorders often varies widely in duration. This is because the length depends on the person’s response to treatment and medication, along with their response to the need for ongoing support. It can extend from several weeks to several months.

Substance Use Disorders

Many treatment centers also offer a PHP option for substance use disorders (SUD), such as:

Alcohol and Drug Use Disorders

A PHP for substance use disorders can range from a few weeks to several months. The length of treatment often depends on:

  • The substance involved
  • The severity of addiction
  • The person’s progress

Opioid Use Disorder

A PHP for opioid use disorder may include medication-assisted treatment and often last longer. They often extend for several months to a year or more.

Dual Diagnosis

When both mental health and substance use disorders are present, a PHP may be more extended to address both issues comprehensively.

General Notes on “How Long is a PHP?”

The recommended duration of a PHP should be determined on an individual basis. Mental health professionals will assess the specific needs and progress of each person in treatment to adjust the program’s length and intensity as necessary.

After completing a PHP, patients may also transition to lower levels of care as part of their ongoing treatment plan.

How Long is a PHP Signs that Indicate the Need for an Extended Stay in a PHP

Extending a patient’s stay in a PHP beyond the initially planned duration may be necessary. This occurs when certain signs suggest that they need continued intensive treatment and support.

These signs can vary depending on the person’s specific mental health condition or substance use disorder. But, here are some common indicators that may warrant an extension of their PHP stay:

Limited Progress

If the person has made limited or insufficient progress in achieving their treatment goals during the initial PHP period, an extension may be needed to provide more time for therapeutic interventions and skill development.

Continued Severe Symptoms

If the patient’s symptoms remain severe, unmanageable, or unsafe, despite intensive treatment, extending the PHP stay can help in achieving symptom stabilization and management.

High Risk of Relapse

For those with substance use disorders, if there is a high risk of relapse or a history of relapse during the initial PHP phase, extending treatment can provide additional time to strengthen coping mechanisms and relapse prevention strategies.

Complex Co-Occurring Conditions

When a person has co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders or multiple mental health diagnoses, treatment may need more time to address these complexities effectively.

Safety Concerns

If there are ongoing safety concerns related to self-harm, suicidal ideation, or harm to others, extending the PHP stay can provide a structured and supervised environment to ensure the participant’s safety.

Lack of Support at Home

If the person lacks a supportive and stable home environment or if returning home would be detrimental to their recovery, an extended stay in PHP may be necessary to arrange suitable aftercare and support systems.

Incomplete Skill Development

If the participant has not yet acquired essential coping skills, stress management techniques, or relapse prevention strategies, extending treatment can help them develop these skills more thoroughly.

Individual Choice

Sometimes, patients may request or express a desire for an extension. This may occur if they feel that they need more time in the PHP to solidify their recovery and prepare for a successful transition to lower levels of care.

Therapy Options Provided at a PHP

A PHP often offers a range of therapeutic modalities tailored to address the specific mental health or substance use disorder needs of participants.

The types of therapy utilized in a PHP can vary but often include:4

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy includes one-on-one counseling sessions with a licensed therapist or counselor. Individual therapy allows patients to:

  1. Explore their personal issues
  2. Set treatment goals
  3. Work on strategies to manage their symptoms and challenges

Individual therapy is often a cornerstone of many partial hospitalization programs. The connection that an individual makes with their therapist can help aid with recovery.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is often a core component of a PHP. Patients engage in therapeutic discussions and activities with peers who may have similar experiences. This provides a supportive and empathetic environment for sharing and learning from others.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a widely used evidence-based therapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. It helps people develop healthier coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills. CBT can be helpful for both substance use and mental health disorders.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT is particularly effective for people with emotion regulation difficulties, borderline personality disorder, and self-harm tendencies.

It teaches:

  • Mindfulness
  • Distress tolerance
  • Emotional regulation
  • Interpersonal effectiveness

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

MI is often used in substance use disorder treatment. It helps people explore their ambivalence about change and find internal motivation to address their substance use. This can provide the support needed to overcome cravings.

Family Therapy

Family therapy involves family members in the treatment process. Family therapy works to:

  • Address relationship dynamics
  • Develop health communication patterns
  • Provide support to both the patient and their loved ones

Trauma-Informed Therapy

This therapy is crucial for patients who have experienced trauma. It helps participants process and heal from traumatic experiences while providing a safe and supportive environment.

Art Therapy

Art therapy allows people to express themselves creatively. This can be particularly beneficial for those who struggle with verbal communication or who have other forms of trauma surrounding talk therapy. It can help uncover and address underlying emotions and stressors.

Mindfulness-Based Therapies

Mindfulness techniques, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), are often incorporated to promote:

  • Relaxation
  • Self-awareness
  • Emotional regulation

These therapies are beneficial for multiple types of disorders and symptoms.

Experiential Therapy

Activities such as role-playing, outdoor experiences, and expressive arts may be used to help patients gain insights into their thoughts and behaviors. The types of experiential therapies offered often depend on the location of the treatment center.

Medication Management

In cases where medication is part of the treatment plan, a psychiatrist or nurse practitioner may provide medication management to ensure the safe and effective use of medications.

Harm Reduction

This is an approach to care that focuses on minimizing the negative consequences associated with substance use or other high-risk behaviors. It also works to acknowledge that complete abstinence may not be immediately achievable for all participants.

Harm reduction principles are often applied in a PHP, especially when treating people with substance use disorders.

How Types of Therapy Influence the Answer to the Question “How Long is a PHP?”

The specific combination of therapies and their emphasis can vary from one PHP to another. This often depends on the program’s focus and the needs of the participants.

The goal of a PHP is to provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to treatment, addressing both the mental health or substance use disorder and any underlying issues or challenges.

how long is a PHP

How Black Horse Health Can Help You Harness the Power of Healing

If you or a loved one are looking for individualized care and treatment in Houston, Texas, our care team is here to help. We can provide a PHP tailored to your specific needs and symptoms.

Our programs were created with a passion to help those who are suffering from mental health or substance use disorders.

What Do We Provide?

In addition to a PHP, Black Horse Health also provides trauma-informed care, chronic pain treatment, and wellness help. Our partial hospitalization program will be specified to your specific needs.

We also include treatments such as:

  • 12-Step models
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Harm reduction techniques
  • Meditation and yoga
  • Nutritional support and counseling
  • Medication-assisted treatment

Contact Black Horse Health Today

We provide quality care by meeting people where they are in recovery. This helps us give you the comprehensive and holistic care that you deserve.

Reach out to us today for support and empathy through your recovery journey.