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How Much Time Is Required to Attend a PHP?

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Many people get concerned about the amount of time that treatment may take up in their lives. They get concerned about how much time is required to attend a PHP. Questions often arise, like “What about finding time for work and making ends meet?” For those in school, “How will I make the time to study?” “How can I fit time in for family and friends?” But what about when we were in active addiction, did we have time for anything else either? Most likely the answer is no. Also taking the time to take care of ourselves in treatment will inevitably ensure more time for everything and everyone else later on.

Should I Attend a PHP? The Importance of Determining the Right Recovery Path

Before considering how much time is required to attend a partial hospitalization program (PHP), it is important to consider which regimen is the right treatment program for us. It may not even be a PHP.

Some of us may need more attention and require a detox and residential treatment program in the beginning. Still, others may be surprised to find out that they may be okay with an intensive outpatient program based on the signs and symptoms of their addiction. But for some, somewhat in the middle stages of addiction, a PHP is exactly what is needed at the time.

What Exactly Is a PHP?

According to the clinical journal, Psychiatry (Edgmont), “Partial hospitalization programs represent a midpoint along the treatment intensity continuum between an inpatient and an outpatient service. Partial hospitalization programs can be used in place of an inpatient unit for patients who need crisis stabilization and amelioration of their acute symptoms, but who are not imminently homicidal or suicidal.” The key word here is “midpoint.”

So, then who is a PHP best suited for? The answer is that PHPs can be ideal programs for anyone who needs significant attention, but can still functionally “manage” their day-to-day lives. Now, the question then becomes, “What is the difference between a PHP and an intensive outpatient program?” Essentially, the difference is the amount of time and intensity required is much higher in a PHP.

How Much Time Is Required to Attend a PHP?

While the answer may vary from treatment center to treatment center, here at Lantana Recovery, we believe that a good amount of engagement time for a PHP is roughly 30 hours a week. However, this “engagement time,” is not the only time that a client should be focused on their recovery.

The 30 hours refers to the time that is spent specifically working on recovery at the facility. This may include therapy or psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). It often also includes group therapy and engaging with others in recovery. Also, it may involve working with clinical professionals if there is any aspect of pharmacology being used in the recovery process.

However, as previously mentioned, an individual attending a PHP should also be working on their recovery before and after they leave the facility. This may include attending recovery meetings (such as 12-Step meetings), working with family therapy, or connecting with and possibly doing service through community outreach programs. Remember, by helping others in recovery, we are actually helping ourselves stay recovered.

Moving From a PHP to an Outpatient Program or a Sober Living Facility

PHPs can also be great programs for transitioning to the next level of recovery. This may include an IOP or a general outpatient program (GOP), both of which may include utilizing a sober living facility.

These options can be particularly helpful if utilized with the same recovery center that the PHP attended because there is already a connection with the recovery professionals and recovery peers that are there. They will also know our history and can adjust any recovery plan based on our progress.

However, it should be noted that just because we have transitioned from a PHP, doesn’t mean that we should rest on our laurels. If anything, the time that has been freed up from transitioning to a less intense program should be used to focus more on our outside recovery practices. It is important to remember that the more time we spend on our recovery, the better we are going to feel, and when we ignore the work, we are only cheating ourselves.

The Importance of Individualized Care at Lantana Recovery

Whether it be residential, PHP, IOP, or sober living, here at Lantana Recovery, we believe in creating recovery plans that are wholly unique to the individual. No two people are exactly alike, so why should their recovery plan be the same?

Yes, recovery is going to take time. But we know that the time spent up front pays dividends in a life beyond our wildest dreams down the happy road of recovery.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs) differ from residential treatment, or sober living programs in that they do not require clients to live on-site while receiving treatment. However, this means that clients must balance their work, school, and other life responsibilities with their recovery to make time for a PHP. Many may wonder how much time this requires. At Lantana Recovery, our PHP is about 30 hours of engagement a week. Yes, this is still an intensive program, so potential clients must understand the time commitment and be ready to prioritize their recovery. For more information on PHPs, the time required, and what to expect at Lantana Recovery, please reach out to us today at (866) 997-2870.


Warren Phillips

Warren is a Licensed Master Social Worker, who specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment. Clinically, Warren has developed a therapeutic skillset that utilizes a strengths-based perspective, Twelve Step philosophies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

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Charleston South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina

Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.