Partial Hospitalization Programs Demystified: Your Path to Recovery

Learn more about the benefits of a partial hospitalization program and how Black Horse Health can help.

How Our Partial Hospitalization Program at Black Horse Health Works to Support You

At Black Horse Health, we understand just how debilitating unsupported symptoms of mental health or substance use disorder challenges can feel. They can leave individuals feeling hopeless and lacking autonomy over their life and well-being. Know that you or your loved one don’t have to struggle alone.

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 get the treatment you need through our partial hospitalization program.

By providing more intensive treatment than an outpatient program while still allowing patients to return home each day, we can help you address your needs while ensuring you remain supported and cared for.

Read On and Reach Out for Support

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.

partial hospitalization program

What is a Partial Hospitalization Program?

Mental illness affects more than 1 in 5 Americans, highlighting the need for accessible and effective mental health treatment.1

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is a mental health treatment program that provides intensive care and support for people struggling with mental illness, substance use disorder (SUD), or dual diagnosis.

What Happens in a Partial Hospitalization Program?

In a partial hospitalization program, patients receive:
  • Structured therapy sessions
  • Medication management
  • Various therapeutic interventions
This program allows people to get intensive treatment during the day. But, they can return home in the evening and maintain normal routines.

How Does a Partial Hospitalization Program Fit Within the Spectrum of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Care? 

A partial hospitalization program offers a structured and intensive level of care. It bridges the gap between inpatient hospitalization and outpatient treatment. Below are a few insights into the partial hospitalization program’s significance and role in health care.

Assessing Individual Needs

Before entering a PHP, people undergo a thorough assessment. The aim is to determine their treatment needs.
This assessment is conducted by a team of medical professionals, including:
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Addiction specialists

Intensive Treatment and Support

Once enrolled in a partial hospitalization program, patients receive intensive treatment. This support is similar to inpatient care but without the need for overnight stays. A PHP operates on a structured schedule, often five days a week, for several hours each day.
During this time, participants engage in activities such as:
  • Therapy sessions
  • Group counseling
  • Yoga
  • Medication management
  • Other evidence-based interventions

Transitioning from Inpatient Care

A PHP helps people move from being in a hospital all the time to transition back to normal life. It lets them keep getting help while they go back to their normal life step by step. Partial hospitalization programs teach skills and support to help people avoid problems in the future.

Comprehensive Care for Dual Diagnosis

People with mental health conditions often struggle with drugs or alcohol. Partial hospitalization programs address dual diagnosis.

They offer integrated and comprehensive care for both mental health and substance abuse issues. This ensures that people receive all the support they need to manage their complex conditions.

Flexibility and Individualized Care

Partial hospitalization programs help patients balance treatment needs with other commitments. Unlike inpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs provide treatment during the day. Participants can return home in the evenings.
This flexibility accommodates work, school, or family responsibilities. As a result, participants are able to maintain a sense of normalcy.

Continuity of Care

Partial hospitalization programs ensure there’s no gap in care. They help people move from more intense care to less intense care smoothly.
This means that:
  • Treatment can continue
  • The plan can change if needed
  • Support is always available
It’s all about helping patients get better and stay better.

Disorders and Conditions Treated in a Partial Hospitalization Program

In 2021, a staggering 61.2 million people aged 12 or older used illicit drugs.2 As a result, comprehensive programs like PHP are even more important.
But what exactly can a partial hospitalization program treat? Let’s find out:


21 million U.S. adults faced at least one major depressive episode in 2021.3

Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in daily activities. A PHP provides structured therapy and medication help for people with depression to feel better.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders cause people to worry excessively or experience intense fear. Partial hospitalization programs help by teaching skills to cope with these feelings. They also offer therapy to talk about and manage these worries.

Substance Use Disorders

Partial hospitalization programs are effective in treating substance use disorders. They do so by providing support and therapy to people struggling with addiction.
These programs offer a combination of modalities, such as:
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Education on relapse prevention
  • Meditation
  • Art therapy
The aim is to help patients overcome substance abuse and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Dealing with Trauma

Trauma occurs when an event or situation causes deep emotional scars. It might result from:
  • An accident
  • Abuse
  • A natural disaster

Therapy and support groups during a partial hospitalization program can help people heal and find ways to cope with their trauma.

Navigating Suicidal Thoughts

More than 49,000 people died by suicide in 2022.4 Partial hospitalization programs play a critical role in treating people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts. These programs prioritize the safety and well-being of those at risk.
Partial hospitalization programs target the underlying causes of suicidal thoughts through:
  • Individual counseling
  • Crisis management techniques
  • Group therapy

Comparing a Partial Hospitalization Program to Inpatient Treatment and Traditional Outpatient Therapy

In comparison to other modalities, a PHP provides a unique combination of support and flexibility. Below is a comparison of how PHP care compares to these other treatment options:

Structure and Support in a Partial Hospitalization Program

A PHP offers a higher level of support compared to traditional outpatient therapy. People attending a partial hospitalization program take part in productive activities, such as:
  • Therapy sessions
  • Group activities
  • Various evidence-based treatments 
As a result, patients receive consistent support and guidance throughout recovery.

Flexibility of Living at Home

Unlike inpatient treatment, a PHP allows people to return home every night. This provides a sense of comfort and normalcy since people can stay in familiar surroundings. It also enables them to maintain their relationships, responsibilities, and daily routines.

Intensity of Treatment

A partial hospitalization program is more intensive than traditional outpatient therapy. In a PHP, people attend therapy sessions for several hours a day, often five days a week. This intense care is beneficial for those with severe symptoms or complex needs.

Comprehensive Care Services

A PHP offers a wide range of comprehensive care services, similar to inpatient treatment. These services can include:
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Psychiatric evaluations
  • Medication management
  • Holistic approaches such as yoga or meditation
In this way, participants receive a tailored treatment plan based on their specific challenges.

Transitioning Towards Independent Living

One of the primary goals of a PHP is to help people transition from a higher level of care, such as inpatient treatment, toward independent living.
As patients progress in their recovery journey, the level of support in a PHP gradually decreases. This allows them to develop essential coping skills while still receiving ongoing guidance.


Compared to inpatient treatment, a partial hospitalization program is often more cost-effective. Being an outpatient program, a PHP does not require patients to stay at a facility. This reduces accommodation and 24/7 supervision expenses.

Typical Structure and Daily Schedule of a Partial Hospitalization Program

A partial hospitalization program follows a structured format and involves various activities. Below is an example of a standard PHP format.

Morning Session

The partial hospitalization program often starts with a morning session. This training focuses on fundamental skills and daily routines.
The session may include activities such as:
  • Personal hygiene routines
  • Dressing exercises
  • Basic mobility exercises
Therapists and caregivers work together to help patients perform these activities independently. This promotes self-care skills and enhances confidence.

Group Therapy Sessions

Group therapy sessions form an integral part of a partial hospitalization program. These sessions provide a supportive and interactive environment where participants can:
  • Discuss their challenges
  • Share insights
  • Learn from one another

Group therapy sessions usually last for about 60 minutes and cover topics such as coping skills, relapse prevention, and emotional regulation.

Individual Therapy Sessions

Individual therapy sessions are conducted by licensed therapists with a focus on personal issues. These sessions are tailored to each person’s needs and can involve techniques such as:
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • SMART Recovery
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
The duration and frequency of individual therapy sessions can vary depending on the treatment plan. But, they often last between 45-60 minutes.

Skill-Building Activities

Skill-building activities are incorporated into the partial hospitalization program. Developing new strategies and abilities to manage symptoms effectively is the goal.
These activities can include:
The duration of skill-building activities varies from a few hours to shorter periods throughout the day.

Meal Times

Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is crucial in a partial hospitalization program. Participants are provided with nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day.
These nutrient-dense foods get prepared by qualified professionals. Participants also engage in conversations and practice mindful eating during mealtimes.

Medication Management

Partial hospitalization programs offer medication administration and management for those who need it. During these times, participants have a medical professional monitor their medications.
They assess the effectiveness and address any concerns. The duration of medication management sessions can vary, but it often lasts about 15-30 minutes.

Afternoon Reflection and Review

Toward the end of the day, participants engage in a reflection period. It’s a chance to review their progress and discuss any thoughts with their treatment team.
This reflection period allows participants to gain insights and set goals for the following day. The afternoon reflection and review session often lasts about 15-30 minutes.

Duration and Intensity

The duration and intensity of a PHP may vary depending on each person’s needs. Programs often range from a few weeks to several months. Sessions last around 4 to 6 hours, combining therapy, breaks, and relaxation.

Are There Specific Criteria Used to Determine if Someone Should Attend a PHP?

Yes, careful evaluation is necessary. Before the start of the PHP, a thorough assessment is conducted.
It’s important to evaluate the person’s:
  • Strengths
  • Challenges
  • Specific therapy needs
Based on this assessment, specific goals are set to address the patient’s unique needs.

Therapeutic Approaches and Modalities Used in a Partial Hospitalization Program

Some commonly used therapeutic approaches practiced in a PHP will be detailed below.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness practices. It’s a therapeutic approach that focuses on helping people develop skills to:
  • Manage emotions
  • Improve relationships
  • Cope with distressing situations
DBT sessions may involve group therapy, individual therapy, and skills training.

Skills Training

The skills training component covers four main areas, including:
  • Mindfulness
  • Distress tolerance
  • Emotion regulation
  • Interpersonal effectiveness

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT aims to identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors. In a PHP, CBT is often employed to help people challenge and modify unhelpful beliefs.
The goal is to develop healthier coping strategies. CBT is conducted through individual therapy sessions, group therapy, and homework assignments.

Art Therapy

Art therapy uses creativity as a form of communication and emotional expression. In a PHP, art therapy can be beneficial for people who may struggle to express their thoughts through words.
Art therapists provide a safe and supportive space for participants to explore their feelings and experiences through various art mediums.
By engaging in the creative process, people can:
  • Improve their self-esteem
  • Gain self-awareness
  • Develop better coping skills

Yoga and Mindfulness

Yoga and mindfulness practices promote self-awareness and stress reduction. Yoga involves postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. Mindfulness focuses on the present moment.
Both are used in partial hospitalization programs to improve emotional regulation.

Who Is an Ideal Candidate for Participation in a Partial Hospitalization Program?

Partial hospitalization programs serve people who need intensive care without 24/7 hospitalization. This program is designed for people who may have completed inpatient treatment. It’s best suited for patients with symptoms that need more structure than outpatient care.
Ideal candidates are those who are motivated to engage in tasks such as therapy, medication management, and group activities.
They may be experiencing severe mental health symptoms, substance abuse issues, or both. Intensive care may also be needed to stabilize their condition.

How Does Family Involvement and Support Factor Into the PHP Treatment Process? 

Family involvement and support are essential in partial hospitalization program (PHP) treatment. Involving the family enhances treatment effectiveness and increases the chances of recovery.
Here’s how:5

Creating a Supportive Environment

Family helps create a supportive home environment. They provide emotional support and a stable atmosphere, which is crucial for recovery.

Enhanced Communication

Family involvement improves communication. Open discussions help express concerns and resolve misunderstandings, strengthening support.

Education and Understanding

Education sessions by professionals foster understanding and empathy. In this way, the family learns about the individual’s condition and treatment.

Collaborative Treatment Planning

Collaborative planning includes family. Setting goals together ensures everyone’s needs are met, motivating positive changes.

Skill-Building and Reinforcement

Family involvement empowers members to learn skills that support recovery. They manage stress, resolve conflicts, and promote healthy coping methods.

Long-Term Support and Relapse Prevention

Family involvement extends beyond the treatment program itself. They participate in relapse prevention, reducing the risk and ensuring long-term recovery.

The Role of Medication Management in a Partial Hospitalization Program

Medication management plays a crucial role in partial hospitalization programs. It involves the careful use of medications to support patients in their treatment journeys.
Here’s how it’s integrated into the treatment plan:

The Assessment of Medication Needs

At the beginning of treatment, doctors check patient history and feelings to decide if they need medication.
They examine:
  • How serious the issues are
  • How past treatments worked
  • Other medicines patients take
This helps them understand if medication is a good course of action.

Collaboration Between Medical and Mental Health Professionals

Professionals who prescribe medicines work with therapists and counselors. They choose medicines that best fit each person’s treatment.

Tailoring Medications to Individual Needs

Each patient in a PHP has unique treatment needs, and medication management takes this into account. Medication plans are tailored to each person.
The plan considers:
  • Symptoms
  • How much medicine is needed
  • Frequency of dosage
  • Time of dosage

Monitoring Treatment Progress

After starting medication, healthcare professionals monitor patients for side effects and treatment effectiveness.
This is done through:
  • Regular check-ins
  • Tests
  • Patient feedback

Adjusting and Modifying Medication Plans

Medication management recognizes the dynamic nature of mental health treatment. Healthcare professionals keep checking if medications are working. If needed, they adjust it to meet patient needs to ensure the best treatment outcomes.

Educating Patients and Providing Support

Effective medication management is not just about prescribing and monitoring medications. It also involves educating patients about their medications and potential side effects. Healthcare professionals answer patient questions and provide support when needed.

Collaborative Decision-Making

In a partial hospitalization program, medication management is not dictated by healthcare professionals. Instead, it involves collaborative decision-making between the patient and the care team.
Patients take part in discussions about their treatment plans, including medication choices. Their input and feedback are valued. This promotes a sense of empowerment as well as medication adherence.

Transitioning From a Partial Hospitalization Program to Less Intensive Levels of Care

Transitioning from a PHP to less intensive levels of care is a significant step in the recovery journey. This process ensures a smoother shift to more independent living.
Here’s how this transition works:

Evaluation and Assessment

Before transitioning, the treatment team will conduct a thorough evaluation. They’ll assess patient progress, strengths, and challenges. They’ll also discuss a patient’s goals and preferences for the next phase of treatment. This evaluation helps determine the most suitable follow-up care.

Creating an Individualized Plan

Based on the evaluation, the treatment team will create an individualized plan for ongoing care. This plan outlines treatment goals and the frequency of sessions.

In addition, it describes specific interventions tailored to each patient’s needs. As a result, it serves as a roadmap for long-term recovery.

Gradual Reduction of Treatment Sessions

As patients transition, there’s a gradual reduction in the frequency of treatment sessions. In a partial hospitalization program, patients might attend therapy daily or several times a week. In outpatient therapy, this may decrease to once a week or biweekly, allowing more flexibility.

Ongoing Individual Therapy

Individual therapy remains a crucial component of recovery. Patients will continue working with a therapist who knows their history and progress.
These sessions provide a safe space to explore challenges and set new goals. Moreover, they help develop strategies for managing mental health conditions or substance use disorder.

Group Therapy and Support

Patients may still take part in group therapy sessions, albeit less often. These groups provide peer support, sharing experiences, and learning from others. They continue to foster a sense of community and help patients realize they’re not alone in their journey.

Building Coping Skills

Throughout the transition, patients focus on building and refining coping skills. These skills help manage stress, triggers, and cravings effectively.

Therapists act as guides in developing coping strategies like:
  • Mindfulness
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Problem-solving techniques

Relapse Prevention Planning

Relapse rates in substance use disorder can reach as high as 59%.6

Preventing relapse is a priority. The treatment team will work closely with each person to develop a relapse prevention plan.

This plan:
  • Identifies potential triggers and high-risk situations
  • Provides strategies to avoid or cope with them
  • Establishes a support network for emergencies or moments of vulnerability

Aftercare Support and Follow-Up

Even after transitioning, patients won’t be left on their own. Aftercare support is essential. Patients have access to resources, including helplines or support groups. Follow-up appointments with therapists or counselors ensure further progress and provide a safety net.
partial hospitalization program

Black Horse Health’s Partial Hospitalization Program

Our Black Horse Health team is dedicated to providing a comprehensive partial hospitalization program that meets the unique needs, goals, and circumstances of each client. Our tailored approach and commitment to your well-being ensure you get the best care possible.
Here’s what makes us stand out:

Individualized Treatment Plans

At Black Horse Health, we understand that every person’s journey is unique. That’s why we start by creating individualized treatment plans.

Our team of experts conduct a thorough assessment, considering your specific needs, goals, and challenges. This plan serves as your roadmap throughout the PHP program.

Multidisciplinary Team

You’re not alone on this journey. Our multidisciplinary team includes:
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Therapists
  • Medical professionals
They collaborate to provide you with holistic care, addressing both your mental health and physical well-being.

Structured Environment

In our PHP, you’ll experience an environment that balances support and independence. Daily schedules include therapy sessions, group activities, and skills training. This structure ensures you receive consistent guidance and support.

Transition Planning

We don’t just focus on your time in the PHP. Our team works with you to plan your transition to the next phase of care, whether it’s outpatient therapy or aftercare support. This seamless transition minimizes disruptions in your treatment and maintains your progress.

Medication Management

If medication is part of your treatment plan, we provide comprehensive medication management. Our healthcare providers regularly monitor your medication’s effectiveness. They adjust dosages if necessary and address any concerns or side effects immediately.

Ongoing Counseling and Therapy

Therapy is at the core of our PHP care. You’ll continue to work with your therapist, who is familiar with your journey.
These sessions provide a safe space to:
  • Explore challenges
  • Set new goals
  • Develop coping skills

Coping Skills Development

Developing coping skills is essential for long-term well-being. Our program focuses on teaching you practical strategies to manage stress, triggers, and cravings. From mindfulness to problem-solving, these skills empower you to navigate challenges effectively.

Aftercare Support

Your journey doesn’t end after the PHP. We offer aftercare support, including access to resources and an active alumni aftercare program. This ensures your progress and provides a safety net as you transition to more independent living.

Contact Black Horse Health Today

Now is the time to take the first step toward healing. Reach out to us to kickstart your recovery journey today.