Outpatient Therapy Can Work — If You Work Hard

Sometimes those struggling with addiction, eating disorders, and other, more serious mental health problems assume that if they cannot commit to inpatient therapy, they might as well not bother. Outpatient therapy is seen as the willy-nilly cousin that isn't going to be effective. But this is not a fair picture to paint of outpatient therapy. It absolutely can work — but patients do have to work harder at it in order to ensure their success. If you're thinking of pursuing an outpatient therapy program, here are some ways to make it work for you.

Cut other things out of your life to make outpatient therapy a priority.

Done right, outpatient therapy is time-consuming. You will have multiple appointments each week. Many outpatient programs actually have you attend some type of therapy or another every day. If you skip some appointments, you won't get as much out of the therapy. So, be ready to cut some other things out of your life in order to fit therapy in. You may have to set aside a hobby for a while, or you may have to tell friends "no" to hangout requests for a while. Therapy needs to be the priority on your calendar.

Tell those close to you that you're in therapy and need their support.

One of the advantages of inpatient therapy is that you'll be surrounded by people who understand what you're going through and can support you. Outpatient therapy does not come with this same constant exposure to supportive people — so instead, you need to create your own support crew. Be honest with those closest to you about what you're going through, and ask them to support you in this time. That may mean listening to you as you express your feelings and talk about therapy, and it may mean driving you to therapy appointments. If you can get others on your team, outpatient therapy becomes a more immersive experience, and therefore a new effective one.

Apply what you learn outside of therapy.

Always be mindful of the need to apply what you learn in therapy to your life outside of your therapy sessions. This is how you make progress. For instance, if your therapist starts working with you on being more open about your feelings in your sessions, you should also start trying to be more open in your everyday life with friends and family members.

Outpatient therapy does require patients to be a little more independent and put in more work on their own, but if you do this, you can get the results you deserve. Look for an intensive outpatient therapy program near you.