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Can outpatient therapy work for me?

Young black man looking concerned.(Updated Feb. 10, 2023)

You’ve come out the other side of detoxification. Now it’s time to figure out how you’ll stay substance-free long-term. Phrases like “residential treatment” and “outpatient” get tossed around a bit. But aside from the obvious, you’re wondering: what is outpatient therapy, and will it work for you?

Outpatient therapy can range in its degree of time commitment and intensity. Some programs require you to be in attendance all day long, while only returning home for overnight stays. Other programs have daily check-ins for various therapy and medical sessions. Though there is no hard and fast rule, generally outpatient treatment can be a good solution for those who:

  • are approaching treatment relatively early in their misuse of substances
  • have strong support systems at home or outside of treatment
  • are clearly dedicated and focused on recovery.

Outpatient therapy can be a very appealing option for those who have life circumstances that make it hard to be away from home. For example, primary caregivers of children or aging parents. That said, outpatient therapy allows you to have greater exposure to the people, places or stressors that may trigger a return to substance use. Because of this, it’s important to be honest with yourself about your ability to navigate these triggers. And don’t be ashamed if the answer is “I can’t.” Being honest with yourself is an important part of the treatment journey. And it will get you that much closer to living substance-free.

If you’re ready to learn more about your treatment options or just want to talk to someone and hear more about it, contact Your Life Iowa. We’re here to help. No judgment. Just open minds and usable information for whenever you are ready.