Is Outpatient Treatment Right For My Child?

If you’ve noticed that your child is struggling with their mental health and is in need of professional help, you may have heard the term “outpatient treatment” before.

But what is outpatient treatment? And how do you know if it’s the right treatment option for your child’s mental health?

Branches Lewisville, formerly known as the Excel Center of Lewisville, is here to help. We answer your commonly asked questions about outpatient treatment for children and adolescents, including factors to consider when seeking treatment.

What is Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatment is a common type of mental health care where patients commute to a psychiatric facility or hospital to receive care and return home after. This is unlike inpatient treatment, which requires patients to reside in a dedicated behavioral health facility for the duration of the program.

Outpatient treatment typically involves a combination of therapy techniques, counseling services (individual vs family), medication management (as needed) and other forms of treatment.

Compared to inpatient treatment, this types of service is more flexible and enables the patient to maintain a sense of normalcy while still getting the care they need.

Types of Outpatient Treatment

The term “outpatient treatment” includes any mental health treatment program that does not require an overnight stay or hospitalization. Generally, there are two types of outpatient programs:

  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs)
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs)

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), often referred to as “day programs,” are the most intensive form of outpatient treatment in terms of frequency and duration. Typically, PHPs take place 5 days per week, lasting between 4-6 hours. Partial hospitalization is often recommended for people with moderate mental health symptoms who, while not requiring overnight hospitalization, still require higher levels of support.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), on the other hand, represent a step down from PHPs in terms of intensity and duration. IOPs typically take place 3-5 days per week, lasting between 3-4 hours. Intensive outpatient programs are usually recommended to those with mild mental health symptoms but who still need support in managing their mental health.

Benefits of Outpatient Treatment for Children and Teenagers

Outpatient treatment can provide many benefits for your child or adolescent. 


Compared to inpatient programs, outpatient treatment enables your child to still pursue their daily responsibilities (such as school, work or social activities) while receiving mental health care. This can help them maintain a sense of normalcy as they navigate challenging emotions and feelings.


Outpatient programs also tend to be more cost-efficient than inpatient ones, as they do not require your child to reside on-site to receive treatment.

Support systems

Outpatient treatment also enables your child or adolescent to maintain their current support system (such as family and friends) while at the same time building new ones. New support systems may include peers met in group therapy or even the mental health professionals in charge of their care.

Acquiring new skills

Outpatient treatment also teach your child new coping mechanisms and healthy habits that they are then able to apply in the real-world. These new skills equip your child with the ability to better communicate their needs, manage their emotions and maintain mental well-being beyond the confines of their outpatient program.

Additional privacy

Finally, outpatient programs enables your child to better maintain their privacy, as they are not required to reside in a facility among other children.

Is Outpatient Treatment Right For My Child?

While outpatient treatment provides many benefits, it’s important to remember that mental health programs are never a one-size-fits-all solution. The following are questions to keep in mind when choosing whether outpatient treatment may be a good fit for your child’s needs.

1. Severity of your child’s symptoms

The severity of your child’s mental health symptoms is an important factor when considering whether outpatient treatment is a viable option. As previously mentioned, IOPs and PHPs are typically meant for those with mild to moderate mental health symptoms.

In practice, this refers to people whose mental health, while disruptive to their day-to-day activities and well-being, does not completely inhibit them from carrying out their daily tasks.

If, however, your child’s condition is severe enough to significantly interfere with their ability to cope on a day-to-day basis, outpatient programs may not be the best solution.

2. Risk of harm to self and others

Your child’s safety and well-being should always be a top priority. If your child recently experience a mental health crisis, outpatient programs may not be the most suitable option

If your child is currently experiencing a mental health crisis, call 988, or get to the nearest emergency room.

3. Level of care

Another factor to consider is treatment frequency. 

If your child would benefit benefit from 24/7 access to care, then inpatient programs may be a better option for their needs. 

If, however, your child does not require this level of supervision, outpatient treatment may be a good fit.

Building Happier Tomorrows

Overall, there are many factors to consider when seeking any kind of mental health service for your child. Fortunately, you do not have to make this choice alone.

Branches Lewisville, formerly known as the Excel Center of Lewisville, is an outpatient-only psychiatric facility for children and adolescents ages 5-18. Serving youths in the Lewisville, Texas area, our exceptional staff takes pride and care in your adolescent’s mental well-being.

If you’d like to learn more of what Branches Lewisville can do for your teenager’s mental health needs, do not hesitate to contact us at 972-906-5522 for a complimentary assessment.

If you think you or your child is experiencing a mental health crisis, call 988 or get to the nearest emergency room.

For medical emergencies, call 911 or get to the nearest emergency room.