Outpatient treatment is the least restrictive level of professional care available. Patients in this level of care struggle with some aspects of daily functioning based on their symptoms or behaviors. Treatment must be provided by a mental health professional licensed to practice independently in the state in which services are sought. Treatment at this level of care should be primarily focused on relieving specific troublesome symptoms and resolving specific issues or crises. In addition, treatment should focus on restoring functional abilities and maintenance of stability persistent or recurrent chronic behavioral health disorders. Individual, group and family counseling are the primary modalities used at this level of care.
Intensive outpatient is considered to be on the lower end of intermediate level care. Patients at this level of care need frequent check-ins to make sure improvement in behavioral symptoms is continuing. Intensive outpatient programs typically operate anywhere from three to five hours per day and typically run three to five days per week. There are minimum requirements for intensive outpatient care that need to be met. For an individual to succeed they must meet three times each week for a combined total at least nine hours. This level of care primarily provides group counseling, but should also include individual and family counseling as well as psycho-social rehabilitation to be effective.