Intensive Outpatient Program

We offer a highly specialized Intensive Outpatient Program for adults with moderate to severe OCD and other anxiety-related disorders. Clients in the Intensive Outpatient Program will be assigned to work with a cognitive-behavior therapist.

The client will first meet with a behavior therapist to complete a thorough diagnostic assessment that utilizes empirically validated instruments, behavioral observations, patient and family history, and past treatment records. Next, the client will collaborate with the behavior therapist in developing an individualized treatment plan based on your symptoms and unique difficulties. We will then implement an evidence-based cognitive-behavioral intervention, the gold standard treatment for those suffering from anxiety disorders. Our goal is to not only alleviate your symptoms, but also to prevent these symptoms from returning again. To achieve this goal in the context of our short-term intensive program, we actively address relapse prevention early on in treatment to help you feel prepared for tackling future challenges after your treatment stay. Finally, as you are often living with family (spouse, partner, parents etc.), we include family education and support within our IOP.

Individuals in the Intensive Outpatient Program typically meet with their cognitive behavior therapist for three hours per day, five days per week. However, length and frequency of meeting is flexible and can be tailored to your needs based on severity of symptoms and personal schedule. Most clients stay in our program 4 to 8 weeks. Clients can also reduce frequency and length of sessions over time, offering a nice further step-down as they experience improvement in symptoms.

Individuals Who May Benefit From Our Intensive Outpatient Program Include:

  • Individuals with moderate to severe OCD or other anxiety disorders;
  • Individuals who have tried weekly outpatient therapy in the past but have not made sufficient progress;
  • Individuals who are currently utilizing outpatient therapy and are looking for a way to make more significant progress in a shorter period of time; and/or
  • Individuals who are looking for a step-down from a residential or inpatient program.

Our intensive programs are not appropriate for individuals who have active addictions, active eating disorders, and/or are actively suicidal. For these individuals, we recommend an inpatient setting or other intensive programs that specialize in these disorders.

Treatment Approach

The program is based on empirically supported research which asserts that intensive specialty treatment, utilizing evidence-based treatment protocols, is most effective in treating severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders, anxiety disorders (such as social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder), and other coexisting conditions. To achieve maximum benefit for patients, the program adheres to the following assumptions:

  • State-of-the-art evidence-based cognitive-behavioral and/or psychopharmacological treatment modalities should be employed to foster lasting change.
  • Treatment should be provided in a supportive and caring environment that encourages patients to actively participate in developing their treatment plan
  • Services should always strive to support, educate, and empower the patient.
  • The individual’s physical, emotional, social, and economical problems must be attended to throughout treatment.
  • The long-term goal of treatment should be to establish healthy functioning for not only individuals but alsotheir families.


A diagnostic assessment is completed within one week of admission by the patient’s behavior therapist. The behavior therapist utilizes observations, specific interventions, patient and family history, parent and patient reports, past treatment records and (if pertinent) psychological testing, in formulating a cognitive-behavioral case conceptualization. Given the complex presentation of severe OCD and anxiety disorders, this thorough and careful conceptualization is crucial for future treatment to be effective. Assessment findings comprise the foundation of treatment and are shared with the patient and with loved ones who are involved in the patient’s care.

Core Treatment Program

The OCD & Anxiety Program of Southern California’s behavior therapists specialize in OCD and anxiety disorders treatment to target the issues impacting the patient’s life. Treatment planning focuses on symptom reduction and relapse prevention with the patient’s active involvement in the treatment design. Discharge planning begins upon admission to assure community reintegration and tenure, as well as planning for future treatment to address the long-term care needs of the patient.
The behavior therapist designs and implements the individual treatment plan with the patient and provides initial assessments and evaluations. They conduct individual behavior therapy sessions, as well as family sessions. The direct delivery of the behavior therapy techniques are provided by the behavior therapist and may be supplemented by a residential counselor. Residential counselors are trained to help patients to enhance response prevention by blocking their rituals (or pertinent anxiety reducing behaviors), as well as to implement behavior therapy techniques through the provision of support and coaching to utilize effective coping skills.

Family Education and Support

Throughout treatment, the behavior therapist provides psycho education about OCD/anxiety and the impact such conditions have on family relationships. Behavior therapists coach family members on how to work with loved ones, without providing accommodations or minimizing any enabling behaviors, and how to help boost their loved one’s recovery. It is especially important, in the work with patients who live at home, to include the family in the treatment. Hence, in addition to the work described above, the behavior therapist typically has at least one meeting of either face-to-face or a phone therapy session with both the family and patient each week.

Discharge Planning

Discharge and aftercare planning are an ongoing process, which begins at the onset of treatment. This is completed in both group and individual contexts. As patients near completion of treatment, therapeutic passes from the program to the home are scheduled to promote the application of CBT skills, and to facilitate ways to challenge OCD and anxiety triggers in the patient’s home environment. Every effort is made to find an experienced cognitive-behavioral therapist at discharge, if the patient was not seeing one at admission, in an effort to ensure continued success.