Mental Health Outpatient Treatment: What Should You Expect?

Last updated on May 30th, 2024 at 07:30 pm

Mental health concerns are a significant part of the human experience, affecting millions of people globally. The good news is that there is a wide range of outpatient treatment options available to address these issues, catering to the diverse needs of individuals seeking help. 

In this article, we will delve into some of the most common types of mental health outpatient treatment. Some of the treatment types are distinct therapeutic approaches, while others are larger categories that overlap with other treatment types on this list.

1. Individual Psychotherapy

seeking outpatient mental health care services

Individual psychotherapy, often referred to as talk therapy, is a common and versatile outpatient treatment for mental health concerns. It involves one-on-one sessions between a client and a therapist or counselor. 

With individual psychotherapy, the therapist can employ many different therapeutic approaches depending on the mental health concern. Common approaches include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to address specific issues (we’ll talk more about these later).

Individual therapy offers a confidential, safe space for clients to explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It is particularly effective for those seeking support for conditions like anxiety, depression, trauma, or personality disorders. The tailored nature of individual psychotherapy ensures that clients receive personalized care to suit their needs.

2. Group Therapy

Group therapy brings together individuals facing similar mental health challenges to share their experiences and support one another. Facilitated by a trained therapist, these sessions create a sense of community and camaraderie among participants. Group therapy can be highly effective for addressing various issues, including addiction, eating disorders, and social anxiety.

The benefits of group therapy include a sense of belonging, reduced isolation, and the opportunity to learn from others’ experiences. Participants can offer insights and feedback, which can be valuable in the healing process. It’s an excellent choice for those who can benefit from a collaborative approach to therapy.

3. Family Therapy

Mental health and relationship concerns often extend beyond the individual, affecting the entire family unit. Family therapy, or family counseling, aims to address these issues by involving family members in the treatment process. Therapists work with families to improve communication, resolve conflicts, and support one another.

This approach is particularly effective for conditions like addiction, eating disorders, and mood disorders, where family dynamics can play a significant role. Family therapy helps to identify unhealthy patterns and work toward healthier, more functional relationships.

4. Medication Management

Medication management is a crucial aspect of many individuals’ mental health treatment. Depending on the condition and the patient, mental health professionals sometimes prescribe medications to help with mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. A psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner typically manages medication.

This outpatient treatment often complements other therapeutic approaches, such as psychotherapy. Medication management often helps individuals regain stability and control over their emotions so they can implement the strategies they learn in individual or group therapy.

5. Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) offer a more comprehensive level of care than standard outpatient treatment. They are designed for individuals who require more frequent and structured support but do not need round-the-clock care provided by inpatient or residential programs. IOPs often run for several hours each day, several days a week.

IOPs provide a range of services, including group therapy, individual therapy, medication management, and psychoeducation. They are often suitable for conditions like substance abuse, eating disorders, and severe mood disorders. IOPs offer a structured and supportive environment for individuals who need more than weekly therapy sessions but do not require hospitalization.

6. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Programs

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely acclaimed and evidence-based psychotherapy approach that focuses on the interconnected relationship between our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It’s based on the idea that our thought patterns can significantly influence our emotional well-being and actions. 

The core principle of CBT is to identify and challenge negative or irrational thought patterns, with the ultimate goal of reshaping them into more positive and constructive beliefs. In CBT, clients work closely with a trained therapist to explore their thought processes and gain insight into how these thoughts impact their feelings and actions. This therapeutic approach is highly structured and goal-oriented, aiming to provide clients with practical strategies and skills to manage various mental health issues. 

CBT has been proven effective in treating a wide range of conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Its versatility and evidence-based success have made CBT a go-to choice for many patients seeking help with improving their mental well-being and managing emotional challenges.

7. Dialectical Behavior Therapy(DBT) Programs

DBT mental health services

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a specialized form of cognitive-behavioral therapy designed to help individuals manage emotions and develop coping skills. DBT programs offer structured, evidence-based treatment for conditions such as borderline personality disorder, self-harm behaviors, and emotional dysregulation.

These programs often include individual therapy, group therapy, skills training, and phone coaching. DBT programs provide a comprehensive approach to improving emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and mindfulness.

8. EMDR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a specialized approach primarily used to address trauma-related conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR involves a structured eight-phase process, including history-taking, preparation, desensitization, installation, and body scanning.

During EMDR sessions, clients revisit traumatic memories while engaging in specific eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation. This process helps reprocess traumatic memories, reducing their emotional charge and allowing individuals to move forward.

9. Art or Music Therapy

Art and music therapy provide alternative methods for individuals to express their thoughts and emotions. These creative approaches are especially useful for people who may find it challenging to articulate their feelings verbally.

Art therapy involves activities like painting, drawing, or sculpting, while music therapy involves listening to or creating music. Both modalities offer individuals an outlet for self-expression, stress reduction, and emotional exploration.

10. Mindfulness-Based Programs

Mindfulness-based programs, such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), integrate mindfulness and meditation practices to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. These programs teach individuals to be present in the moment, observe their thoughts without judgment, and develop greater self-awareness.

Mindfulness-based programs can be beneficial for a wide range of mental health concerns, providing tools to manage negative thought patterns and increase overall well-being.

11. Online Therapy

Online mental health services

In recent years, online therapy has gained popularity as a convenient and accessible option for outpatient mental health treatment. Online platforms connect clients with licensed therapists through video, phone, or chat sessions. This approach offers flexibility, making therapy more accessible to those with busy schedules, mobility limitations, or geographical constraints.

Online therapy can provide the same benefits as in-person therapy, including in-person individual, group, or family sessions. It’s a valuable option for those who prefer the convenience and privacy of virtual interactions.

How Sunrise Can Help With Mental Health Outpatient Treatment

Sunrise Services offers several different kinds of behavioral and mental health outpatient treatments for patients in Snohomish, Skagit, Island, and Whatcom counties. Our services include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Behavioral health case management
  • Chemical dependency treatment services
  • MAT/OBOT program for opioid addiction
  • Behavioral health medication management
  • Jail transition services
  • Specialty groups for DBT, women’s socialization and support, art therapy, processes, PTSD, LGBTIQ support, wellness and nutrition, dual diagnosis, and skill building

At Sunrise, we believe in integrating services to treat the whole person. We provide a wide range of behavioral health care services to address your needs, whether it be substance use, depression or anxiety, the first stages of dementia, or more acute, severe mental illness. 

Behavioral health challenges are very common and can affect anyone. Contact us today if you’re looking for community behavioral health or recovery services.

Contact Us