Doing Better Therapy

A Blog For Mental Health Professional's

The Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)


Sometimes children, adolescents, or adults find that a problem has grown too large or complex to manage in outpatient psychotherapy, yet they still do not require immersion in an inpatient psychiatric setting. Others complete a course of treatment in an inpatient setting and feel the need for a gradual transition back to weekly outpatient therapy. These patients can safely remain outside of a hospital setting, but can not necessarily manage the demands of work or school. What’s a family to do? Some families try adding an extra outpatient session per week, or going to a support group. Others require a more systematic and coordinated approach to the issue, and they, in conjunction with their inpatient or outpatient therapist, seek an intermediate level of care.

Four Winds Hospital offers intermediate treatment at the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). Easy access to the program is achieved by calling the PHP directly. PHP is considered the highest level of outpatient care. This level of care offers regular monitoring for patients who struggle with personal safety issues or impulse control problems, and it offers therapeutic structure for patients who have impairments in initiation, motivation, or overcoming avoidance. PHP meets every weekday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm and is a short-term treatment strategy, lasting approximately 2-3 weeks, aimed at treating acute problems.

At Four Winds PHP, the day is packed with group therapies in a variety of modalities. Our three PHP communities offer developmentally appropriate therapies to children, adolescents, and adults. PHP patients are evaluated by a multi-disciplinary team in a variety of treatment settings, including individual sessions, group therapies, the art workshop, school for children and adolescents, and even over lunch at the cafeteria. This broad sampling of behaviors in different contexts, combined with the expertise of the diverse team, facilitates clarification of diagnostic questions. Throughout the ongoing assessment, patients have the opportunity to learn and rehearse new coping skills, and to set goals for generalization of these skills to the home on evenings and weekends. 

Each morning, patients discuss whether their application of skills at home was successful. Clinical staff problem-solve with the patients regarding barriers to the use of new skills. This intensive support is a wonderful way to help patients make the connection between what’s discussed in group and what to do in real life. As patients achieve stability and can use skills with confidence, they are often encouraged to transition back to work or school, so that they can rely on the staff for creative problem-solving of any issues that might arise. We at PHP are very proud of our patients for all of their achievements, and grateful for their trust in us.



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