First Step IOP
About First Step IOP
Intensive Outpatient Program For Young Men (14 - 22)
Potomac’s First Step IOP is for young men who are struggling with substance use and co-occurring issues that may include depression, anxiety, conflict at home with parents, and learning differences.
This level of care addresses moderate issues in some or all of the following areas: substance use; low self-esteem or mood disorders (depression, anxiety, etc.); ADHD and/or significant learning differences; and conflict with parents/family. The majority of young men that take part in First Step IOP have significant issues in all of these domains.
The theory behind First Step IOP, embraced by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, is that young people need to be working on and making progress with all of these issues simultaneously due to their intertwined nature. Our clinicians use an evidence-based treatment model developed specifically for adolescents/young adults with substance use issues called The Seven Challenges.
How It Works
Comprehensive, Integrated Treatment Approach
First Step IOP services address major aspects of the adolescent’s life including substance abuse, learning differences, family relationships, co-occurring depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Family Involvement in Treatment
Research shows that involving parents in the adolescent’s drug treatment produces better outcomes. First Step IOP includes a high level of family involvement.
Developmentally Appropriate Program
Activities and materials reflect the developmental differences between adults and adolescents.
Engaging and Retaining Teens in Treatment
A strong therapeutic alliance is required for engaging and retaining young people (Winters et al., 2009; Diamond et al., 2006). First Step IOP builds a climate of trust between the adolescent and the therapist, and between peers.
Our staff members are trained in adolescent development, co-occurring mental disorders, substance abuse, and addiction.
Gender and Cultural Competence
First Step IOP addresses the distinct needs of adolescent boys well as differences in cultural backgrounds.
First Step IOP includes relapse prevention, aftercare planning, referrals to community resources, and follow-up.
Rigorous evaluation to measure success, target resources, and improve treatment services.
Assessment and Treatment Matching
First Step IOP conducts comprehensive assessments that cover psychiatric, psychological, and medical problems, learning differences, family functioning, and other aspects of the adolescent’s life.
Who We Help
Intensive Outpatient Program for young men (14 - 22). At Potomac, we recognize that young people need a non-confrontational and compassionate approach to substance abuse treatment in order to make progress with the life challenges they face.
What Do I Get
An initial assessment with young man and parents to determine the needs of the family and the young man in treatment.
Young men attend one major outdoor adventure therapy event per month with clinician on board. Outdoor events have included mountain biking, treetop adventure courses, rock climbing, equestrian therapy, kayaking, caving, and more.
Young men attend early recovery and relapse prevention groups which include elements of experiential therapy, cognitive therapy, and motivational enhancement therapy. The group is geared to addressing issues that teens face in recovery, including:
- How to manage high-risk and stressful situations
- How to deal with old friends that are still stuck in unhealthy patterns
- Increasing motivation for school and positive accomplishments
- Communicating with parents and developing the skills to move through disagreements without relapsing into old behavior patterns
- Understanding the relapse process and the signs and triggers of relapse and recovery
The early recovery and relapse prevention group helps create a supportive community where teens come in contact with others who are exuberant about life in recovery. Young men learn to listen deeply and to encourage one another to continue taking steps towards positive change and self-empowerment.
Young men attend individual counseling to help increase motivation, support positive identity formation, identify addictive patterns and develop new, healthy strategies for living. Family counseling sessions are generally scheduled twice a month. Family counseling creates a space for deep listening, understanding and emotional healing—helping families to communicate honestly and openly without retreating into old negative patterns or “survival roles”.
For young men in First Step IOP, parents take part in a monthly Parent Support Group. Parents learn about the addiction cycle and impact of drugs and alcohol on the young man and the family. The program focuses on recognizing how parents can identify codependent (or enabling) behavior in the family, explore interactions and communication patterns, and practice new ways to engage the family in healthy patterns.
Recovery meeting attendance is highly encouraged for most program participants during early recovery. There is a list of young people's 12 Step and SMART Recovery meetings on our Resources page.
Random Substance Use Testing
Random substance use testing on-site is included and billed to insurance. Also, specialized testing is available for drugs that do not show up on most screens including LSD, Mushrooms, Ritalin, Robitussin, and synthetic cannabinoids / "spice."
The First Step IOP is an 18-week program consisting of four months of primary treatment (which includes the evidence-based Seven Challenges adolescent IOP curriculum). The groups meet three times per week. The First Step group meets three evenings per week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 4:00 PM - 7:00PM). Weekend adventure therapy events are generally held on Saturdays once per month. Individual therapy sessions are held one a week and family sessions are held bi-weekly.
Most of our families are now able to get the majority of the cost of our clinical services covered by their insurance. Potomac is out-of-network with most private insurance carriers. We work with an insurance billing company that assists us with the process of rapidly checking benefits, authorizing treatment services, and re-authorizing services as needed.