What Is a Partial Hospitalization Program?

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) are mental health outpatient treatment plans that allow participants to attend for several hours a day and return home once their daily sessions are completed.

For individuals who don’t require a hospital stay or constant supervision, partial hospitalization programs can be an excellent alternative that allows them to dedicate time and attention to addressing their mental health condition while staying at home or with family members.

Key Features of a Partial Hospitalization Treatment Program

Some of the main characteristics of a partial hospitalization program include:

  • It is conducted in an outpatient setting, allowing participants to live at home
  • Individuals attend the program for several hours a day Monday through Friday or for a set number of days each week
  • Participants are provided with intensive treatment, including most of the modalities offered to residential patients
  • The program may help some participants avoid a hospital stay or transition back to home after a hospital or residential stay.

What To Expect From PHP

A partial hospitalization program typically requires participants to attend a combination of group and individual therapy and counseling sessions for several hours a day. Some PHP treatment plans require attendance from Monday to Friday, while others only run a set number of days a week.

Treatment times for each day can vary from center to center, but most PHP participants will be required to spend at least six hours per treatment day at the facility.

In most cases, this means patients will be served lunch at the treatment center, although other meals may not be provided. In some settings, your program may also offer transportation to and from the treatment center.


Group and individual therapy forms an essential part of any partial hospitalization program and may include the following modalities:

  • Psychodynamic therapy: This treatment focuses on discovering the subconscious thoughts and emotions that may be contributing to your mental health issue. This includes examining past experiences, internal conflict, and the defense or coping mechanisms you developed in response to these experiences.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT treatment involves addressing your perception of events and experiences. This interpretation leads to an emotional response. By understanding why you interpret certain circumstances in a particular way, you can become more aware of your control over your emotions and reactions.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): DBT helps you build coping mechanisms and strategies to counter boredom or negative thought patterns that may worsen your behavioral health.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is especially effective for people struggling with PTSD. It allows your brain to form new connections between a traumatic or stressful event and a positive belief or memory, reducing that memory’s ability to cause anxiety or fear in the process.
  • Motivational interviewing: This treatment method helps you find ways to believe in your ability to change. By focusing on past successes and how you achieved them, motivational interviewing can assist you in dealing with current issues in a logical, intentional way.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

For more severe mental health conditions, or patients struggling with a co-occurring substance abuse disorder, a health professional like a doctor or psychiatrist may recommend medication to help you cope with either one of these conditions.

Support Groups

Group therapy and support meetings form an essential part of any PHP. It helps you find and relate to people going through the same recovery process and share the struggles you may be experiencing.

Who Should Consider a Partial Hospitalization Program?

A mental health professional can help you decide what level of care you require. However, some of the guidelines for people who could benefit from PHP include:

  • Individuals struggling to function at work, school, or other obligations due to their condition
  • Those who are not at risk of harming themselves or others
  • Patients who are medically stable and don’t require a hospital stay or constant supervision
  • People who have had a hospital stay or residential stay and need support during their transition back home
  • Patients who are struggling with individual therapy or intensive outpatient therapy (IOP) and need additional structure and support
  • People who have supportive, positive home environments free from alcohol and drugs
  • Participants who are looking for a more affordable alternative to inpatient or residential treatment and who fit the criteria mentioned above

How Long Do Partial Hospitalization Programs Last?

Partial hospitalization is typically a short-term program that averages between three and four weeks in duration. However, some facilities may offer a long-term PHP plan or move you to an intensive outpatient program once you’ve completed the initial month-long plan.

Does Insurance Cover Partial Hospitalization Programs?

Most insurance companies will cover at least part of your PHP treatment.1 This may vary between insurance providers, so you should check to find your best option before committing to a program.

How To Get Treatment

Balance Treatment Center offers comprehensive programs to help address mental health disorders and their accompanying challenges.

If you or a loved one struggles with a mental condition, contact our experienced treatment team today to acquire the help you need.