The Pros and Cons of Outpatient Therapy

If you look at the outpatient therapy benefits, you’ll see that there are many advantages to this form of treatment, not the least of which is the chance to start feeling normal again. However, there are some cons as well, including the need for more careful consideration to avoid relapse triggers.

Inpatient Treatment

As the name implies, inpatient treatment is when a person resides full time at a treatment facility. Typically, these stays last a few weeks to a couple of months, depending upon the severity of the addiction and the willingness of the participant. Medical professionals may also call inpatient treatment “residential treatment” and different facilities have slightly different structures to their programs.


  • Treatment is done under 24-hour supervision by trained professionals and therapists;
  • You’ll be in a community setting, one in which other residents are also battling their addiction;
  • Inpatient programs provide a higher level of care and for those who have relapsed before, this type of setting is more focused;
  • In this setting, more of your day is focused to include group therapy sessions, individual counseling and other treatment;
  • You are free from the distractions of life’s daily activities and stressors.


  • Freedom is more limited as you are not free to come and go as you please;
  • In this highly structured environment, you have more a rigid schedule that dictates when you wake up, when you eat, and scheduled counseling sessions. This structure might seem overkill, but this strategy has proven to be more effective;
  • Obviously, you can’t work when you’re in an inpatient program. This is a big difference between outpatient programs;
  • Insurance coverage typically only covers outpatient treatment. Insurers like BlueCross offer plans that include coverage. You’ll want to ask your rehab center as to what options you have to handle payment.

Outpatient Therapy Benefits

Outpatient therapy is, as the name suggests, treatment where the patient has more freedoms. There are many variations to outpatient treatment, including residential programs in which residents live in a community setting but are free to work or attend school. Outpatient programs might also include sober living facilities.


  • Outpatient treatment provides the basic structured living environment, but allows residents the freedom to work, care for children, attend school or take job training;
  • Counseling and therapy sessions, which we structure in a manner conducive to ensuring participation;
  • Outpatient therapy provides a great opportunity to slowly segue into a normal life. It gives residents the chance to use it as a test run for their eventual reintegration into society, free from addiction;
  • Many outpatient therapy facilities include family counseling sessions that can help resident’s family members understand the challenges to be faced post-treatment;
  • Outpatient therapy is generally a more affordable treatment option and is usually covered by insurance.

As with anything else, there are some cons. While the outpatient therapy benefits are appealing, it’s important to understand that this is a critical transitional period.


  • There’s a higher risk of being exposed to some of the bad influences, risks and relapse triggers that pushed you towards substance abuse in the first place;
  • You may still have access to drugs/alcohol;
  • Daily life distractions could distract you from focusing on recovery;
  • Access to your counselor is more limited than in a residential/inpatient facility.

Advice for Choosing Outpatient Therapy

Understanding the pros and cons is the best way to select the program that is best for you. To further increase the chances of success, an honest self-assessment is necessary at every junction of treatment including before and after rehab. Fitting in recovery to a busy life of work, school, and family can be challenging. Determining what length you would like to stay is a matter of circumstance and clinical opinion. While shorter stays like detox are effective at relieving the body of the substance and getting you started on the right path, you may still need to address many underlying issues.

The next step in recovery is residential treatment. Outpatient residential treatment is just one of the options. A more intensive version of outpatient treatment is called “intensive outpatient treatment.” IOP is an ideal level of care for those who would benefit from intensive therapy but cannot attend inpatient treatment. IOPs also cater to those who have finished a residential treatment program and seek continued support in their recovery. The first few months after completing a residential program are often the most challenging, as young adults learn to successfully maintain their recovery while managing increasing independence.

Renaissance Recovery‚Äôs intensive outpatient therapy benefits residents in many ways, as this type of program helps to stabilize this transition, offering support, camaraderie and continued sobriety skill development. Whatever your choice, you should enter into recovery treatment with your eyes wide open. After rehab/detox, you’ll have a very short time to choose your next level of treatment. Rehab cleanses the body of toxins, but cleansing the soul requires continuing treatment.

Get Treatment Today

Whether you choose IOP, outpatient therapy or some sort of hybrid between the two depends on your needs and preferences. The best piece of advice we can give is to call around and talk to Admissions Directors at a few places. They’ll speak candidly about their program’s strengths and this conversation goes a long way toward helping your decision. If you’re ready to choose outpatient therapy, we’re ready to help you. At Renaissance Recovery, we offer a variety of treatment programs, including:

To learn more about our treatment programs, call [Direct] today.

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Renaissance Recovery Coronavirus Policy Update

As the national pandemic continues to make it increasingly difficult for individuals to receive quality aftercare, The District Recovery Community & Renaissance Recovery has provided a solution to all those seeking long term care. We are proud to announce that we will be offering all aspects of our treatment including intimate groups, one on one therapy, and case management to individuals in all states from the comfort and safety of your home. This is a great option for clients that are in need of continued treatment, but are returning home to be with their families during this time.

The District Recovery Community and Renaissance Recovery will remain in operation during this time and continue to serve our mission of treating those suffering from alcoholism and addiction.

We encourage you all to reach out to learn more about how we can work together to ensure that our clients remain sober, safe, and continue to get the help that they need.