A Day in the Life of Outpatient Addiction Treatment

outpatient addiction treatment group knees and feet

Many options exist for treating drug or alcohol use while navigating real life.

Have you ever wondered what outpatient addiction treatment is like? Have you or a loved one considered getting help with alcohol or drug misuse but were afraid to call a treatment center because of the unknowns? Perhaps your schedule does not allow for a residential stay. Many options exist for treating drug or alcohol use while navigating real life. At Sanford Behavioral Health, we are proud of our full continuum of care, from residential treatment to long-term support. We want to open the door and show you what a  day in the life of outpatient addiction treatment is like. Welcome to Sanford Outpatient Center and real-life recovery.


compress sanford west front door closeup

Welcome to Sanford Outpatient Center!



The first step is making the call. When you talk to an admissions specialist, they will provide information and conduct a phone screening.  Psychiatric and medical assessments are performed before you enter a Sanford treatment program. Assessments identify the appropriate level of care, current physical and mental health symptoms, issues in life, medical and mental health treatment history, substance use history, family dynamics, trauma history, presence of risk to self or others, and more. Additionally, assessments are conducted by master’s level therapists who will also facilitate group and individual therapy.

Nursing assessments are completed at the outpatient level of care to pre-screen and determine if medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is appropriate. Nursing assessments are performed by a registered nurse (RN).


“We are going to ask a lot of questions initially and be prepared for those questions because we’ll want to know where you’ll best fit on our continuum of care. Our goal is to put you in the least restrictive level of care possible that is going to help you the most.” Alec Green, Managing Director Sanford Behavioral Health


outpatient addiction treatment ad with features


A Day in the Life of Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Outpatient treatment comprises day (PHP) and half-day (IOP) programs. Once you enter treatment, you will have a specific track and schedule and be assigned an individual therapist. There is an orientation for all new clients. Your therapist will meet with you once a week and facilitate family sessions. Also, you can access your therapist via the patient portal, email, and text.


You will arrive at Sanford West Behavioral Health Campus for all in-person outpatient programs. There is plenty of free parking, a discreet entrance, and attention to privacy. At the door, you will be met by a Sanford staff member and receive a color-coded visitor badge. Most folks grab a coffee and head toward their assigned group room. Telehealth clients are privy to the same evidence-based practices that our in-person programs provide. However, telehealth sessions are conducted by “video chat” technology using smartphones or computers.


Sanford West Behavioral Health Campus

Sanford Outpatient Center is conveniently located at Sanford West Behavioral Health Campus in Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan. Outpatient is an excellent place to gather for treatment and community support. We welcome current clients, family, and Sanford alums to our many long-term education and support groups.


It is wonderful to see how our clients support each other. Especially if someone is having a difficult time. Outpatient treatment is an opportunity to make sober friends and build a close-knit community. Our clients text each other and even get together for sober activities like going to a coffee shop or 12-step meetings.” Amber Robertson, Sanford Outpatient Supervisor


Intensive Outpatient Program (also called IOP or Half-Day)

Half-day programs take place three times a week for three hours. Tracks are conveniently scheduled in the morning (9:00 – noon, Monday, Wednesday, Friday) or evening (5:00 – 8:00, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday). Flexible schedules allow clients to continue real-life activities like school, childcare, or work outside the home. The program duration is typically 18 sessions which cover approximately six weeks. Our IOP includes the following services:

  • Three group therapy sessions each week
    • First-hour check-ins and sharing
    • Second- and third-hour processing groups (see sample schedule)
  • Outdoor breaks for stretching and socializing
  • Individual and family therapy
  • Individualized treatment planning
  • Diagnostic assessments
  • Medication treatment and medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Supportive housing
  • Withdrawal management
  • Continued care for those stepping down from a residential program
  • Family programs and support groups for loved ones (no charge)
  • Aftercare and continuing care planning

Sample IOP Group Schedule


“Group sessions in PHP include relapse prevention planning, recognizing triggers and cravings, human behavior chain, neurobiology of addiction, and emotional regulation. We also address coping skills, distress tolerance skills, anger management, relapse drift, emotional sobriety, the 12 steps, SMART recovery, AA meetings, stress management, addressing stigma, tips for early sobriety, and much more.” Kim Van Hooser, Sanford Clinical Manager


Partial Hospitalization Program (also called day program or PHP)

Day programs take place five days a week for six hours a day. The schedule is 9:00 – 3:00, Monday through Friday. Day programs provide therapy, structure, and accountability during the day while allowing clients to practice their learned skills in their homes, at supportive housing, or in a sober living environment after daily programming concludes. The program duration is typically two weeks.

Some of the services we offer include:

  • Daily group therapy using an evidence-based curriculum (see sample schedule below)
  • Lunch provided
  • Outside breaks for socializing and clearing the mind
  • Weekly medical visits and follow-up
  • Multidisciplinary diagnostic assessments and exams
  • Education on early-stage relapse management
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Crisis safety planning
  • Supportive housing
  • Family programs and support groups for loved ones (no charge)
  • Aftercare planning and referrals
  • Case management services
  • Nutrition and wellness education
  • Individual and family therapy
  • Personalized treatment planning

Sample PHP Group Schedule

outpatient addiction treatment schedule

After 3:00 pm activities are for those in Sanford supportive housing.

Continuum of Care – Outpatient Addiction Treatment

At Sanford Behavioral Health, all our programs are entry points to the recovery continuum of care. When our patients are comfortable within the organization, it makes for a smooth transition from one level of treatment to the next.

Successful treatment of substance use disorders requires evaluation and adjustments. Therefore, we aim to place each individual in the most clinically appropriate and least restrictive level of care. In addition, we recognize the importance of a long-term continuum of treatment programs, classes, and resources. If you or a loved one are struggling with an alcohol or drug addiction, don’t wait to change your life. Click the link below for information or admissions:


Sanford Behavioral Health is licensed and accredited as an addiction, eating disorder, and co-occurring mental health treatment facility, serving all of Michigan and beyond. Each of Sanford’s facilities in Greater Grand Rapids is carefully and diligently crafted to create a welcoming and comforting environment. Sanford is led by a psychiatrist-led team of medical, clinical, and support personnel providing medication-assisted, evidenced-based treatment to residential, outpatient, and telehealth patients. For more information, visit www.sanfordbehavioralhealth.com.