Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) at CHOC

Adolescence can be a time of both discovery and confusion for teenagers. Teens who lack positive coping skills to manage life stressors during this transitional period may struggle with mental and emotional health. As a result, they may develop mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety or resort to unhealthy or unsafe behaviors such as self-harm, suicidal thoughts and more.

At CHOC, our pediatric experts offer solutions and hope to teens and their families seeking help or intervention. Our intensive outpatient program (IOP) provides a validating, supportive environment for participants to gain healthy behaviors and learn how to manage their feelings, emotions and personal interactions.

If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1.
To reach the Crisis Text Line, text HOME to 741-741 or visit
To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 9-8-8 or visit

What is the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

The Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) at CHOC is an outpatient, mental health treatment program for high-school teens with moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety, depression or other symptoms related to a mental health condition.

The IOP is held four days a week for eight weeks with after-school hours. It uses dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), including mindfulness exercises, coping and problem-solving skills, art therapy and other expressive therapies to help teens develop and practice healthy behaviors and coping strategies. The CHOC IOP is a DBT-adherent program, meaning all licensed clinicians in the program have received the highest level of training in DBT. Parents or guardians also participate in family counseling and skills groups.

What to Expect During Intensive Outpatient Therapy for Teens

Adolescent mental health is as important as physical health. It’s not always obvious when a teen is struggling emotionally, but recognizing the symptoms and seeking early and effective mental health services are important for long-term health.

Who is the IOP designed for?

The IOP is designed for teens with:
  • Moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Extreme emotional outbursts
  • Significant conflict with family or friends
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Decreases in functioning at home or school
  • Self-harming behaviors, such as cutting, burning, pulling out hair, excessive picking and scratching the body to cause bleeding

What are the expected outcomes of the IOP?

The primary goal of the program is to promote emotional wellness of young people. Expected outcomes include:
  • Significant reduction in symptoms of anxiety, depression and anxiety
  • Improved functioning at home, in school and with friends
  • New skills to cope with stress
  • Decrease in unsafe thoughts and behaviors

IOP details

  • 8-week program, 4 days a week
  • Teens attend program Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 3:30 – 6:45 p.m.
  • Parents attend program Monday and Thursday from 5:30 – 6:45 p.m.
  • New patients join every two weeks
  • Dialectical behavioral (DBT)-adherent program
  • Weekly individual sessions
  • Family sessions as needed
  • Skills training groups
  • Phone coaching outside of clinic hours
  • Art and other expressive therapies
  • Insurance-based

IOP benefits

  • After-school hours
  • Program run by experienced, licensed clinicians who specialize in working with teens
  • DBT-adherent program, meaning all licensed clinicians in the program have received the highest level of DBT training
  • Board-certified adolescent psychiatrist for consultation and medication management as needed
  • Case coordination with other providers and school
  • Crisis support as needed

Contact the Intensive Outpatient Program at CHOC

Our staff is happy to assist you in making an appointment or obtaining a referral from your doctor or insurance company if needed.

Building: Centrum North
1120 W. La Veta Ave., Ste. 400
Orange, CA 92868


 Office hours
Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Closed Saturday, Sunday and all major holidays.

Centrum North Building

Click on image for directions.
Download our campus map here: English map | Spanish map