Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

A Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) refers to a comprehensive, short-term, intensive, clinical treatment program.  With regard to level of treatment, a PHP is a step below residential treatment but much more concentrated than traditional outpatient therapy. Individuals are generally referred to partial programs when they are experiencing acute addiction symptoms that are difficult to manage but that do not require 24-hour care.


Individuals in a PHP attend structured programming throughout the day, three to five days a week (12-20 hours per week) and return home in the evenings. To ensure individuals safety, many of the residential treatment center rules apply (i.e. no phones, no electronics) to PHP's.


The primary focus of a partial hospitalization program is on intensive addiction treatment therapies. Therapies employed at a PHP include:

  • Individual therapy: Private sessions with an expert addiction counselor seek to allow the individual to explore underlying causes and triggers of drug abuse or alcoholism and works to arrest denial that may be occurring about the extent of the addiction, the prognosis, or the patient’s own abilities to achieve a lifetime of recovery.
  • Group Therapy: These sessions involve a professional addiction treatment facilitator and a group of individuals in various stages of recovery. Individuals are encouraged to enter into group discussions about experiences, feelings, aspirations, coping skills, or anything else related to the treatment of addiction or alcoholism. These group sessions help to form the foundation of a strong support network that will be essential for continued recovery after the person leaves the PHP program.
  • Family therapy: It can very difficult to evaluate oneself- even when being completely honest. This is one reason why including family members in the therapy process is so critical. Additionally, family members can sometimes be the cause of or enabling factor in a person’s addictions and so addressing this in a therapeutic environment is critical.

Other therapies such as recreational outings with the group, yoga, 12 Step and other support groups, and even writing/artistic assignments all serve to teach a person how to live life without drugs or alcohol and still find happiness and contentment.


There are many advantages to participating in a PHP.  One may be worried that the program may isolate you but the opposite would be true. Many PHP provides group therapy which would allow you to interact with other people experiencing similar problems. You would also have the opportunity to interact with physicians, social workers, nurses, and other mental health practitioners. The goal of many PHP's is the development of skills that help clients better manage their lives and their symptoms.


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