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  • Writer's pictureAdam Kimber

What Is a Virtual IOP Program?

For several years, many people have turned to Virtual IOP programs for their addiction treatment needs. Instead of going to a physical location, you can attend real-time therapy sessions online. With its flexibility and ease of access, Virtual IOP services have become a viable option for people in recovery.

If you’re considering a Virtual IOP program, you may have a lot of questions. How does it work? What services are available? Is it effective? We have answers to those questions and more right here.

Everything to Know About a Virtual IOP Program

How Do Virtual IOP Programs Work?

During a Virtual IOP program, you’ll have regularly scheduled counseling sessions that happen online. This can happen via video chat platforms, such as Zoom or FaceTime, or even through phone calls.

The types of services you receive will depend on your treatment plan. You may have individual or group therapy, career support sessions, and/or ongoing support to keep your recovery journey on track.

Services to Expect From a Virtual IOP

A Virtual Intake Assessment

An essential first step in your recovery journey is an intake assessment, which is an evaluation conducted by the program’s counselors. The goal of this assessment is to gather crucial information about you and your addiction history. This information is then used to determine the most appropriate treatment approach.

With Virtual IOP, you can complete this assessment online from the privacy of your home instead of in person at a facility or an office. This assessment will most likely happen via a video call on a device of your choice.

A Personalized Treatment Plan

After your virtual intake assessment, you’ll receive a customized treatment plan, just like you would in person. Your treatment plan can focus not just on your needs, but also on your overall wellness and long-term goals. The big difference is that the majority of your services will be provided online.

For instance, let’s say part of your recovery is to find a less-stressful work environment. You may have a case manager who helps you write a new resume via a video call, guiding you through the process.

If you’re receiving evidence-based interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy as part of your treatment, these interventions will also be delivered to you in an online format. Or, if improving family dynamics is a part of your treatment plan, your family members may be invited to attend an online session with you from time to time.

Supportive Connections & Relationships

Even though your therapy sessions happen online during Virtual IOP, you’ll still be able to create meaningful connections. Whether it’s individual therapy or group therapy, you’ll have ongoing opportunities to form new relationships while learning how to strengthen and improve your existing ones.

What Are the Benefits of a Virtual IOP?

There are quite a few advantages to doing your treatment online, including:

  • Convenient scheduling: Many facilities hold in-person treatment sessions only between certain hours. And while some programs may offer some flexibility for attending in-person meetings, attendees will still have limited options. Virtual IOP, on the other hand, can happen at nearly any time that accommodates an individual’s work and personal schedule.

  • No need to travel: People wanting to do a recovery program can face transportation barriers that prevent them from participating in an in-person program. With Virtual IOP, you can access treatment from anywhere as long as you have a device and an internet connection.

  • It can reduce social triggers: Many people in recovery programs face the fear of being judged by others or have social anxiety. This can make going to a physical location and being around other people nerve-wracking. Since Virtual IOP allows you to receive treatment from your choice of location, it provides you with a more private, controlled environment. This may help some people feel safer and more comfortable while receiving treatment.

Are Virtual IOP Programs Effective?

Telehealth services have been on the rise since early in the COVID-19 pandemic, and their effectiveness is still being studied. However, there’s already promising evidence that Virtual IOP programs produce positive outcomes for people in recovery.

A 2020 study by the Butler Center for Research found that telehealth services for addiction treatment were just as effective as in-person programs. They even found that virtual IOP patients (and those who transitioned from in-person to virtual care) were “discharged against medical advice” at a lower rate than in-person patients.

And a 2022 study found that Virtual IOP programs had higher admissions, attendance and completion rates than in-person programs, along with fewer cancellations.

It’s important to note that whether someone does in-person or virtual treatment, their success depends on their level of participation in and commitment to the program. To achieve the most favorable outcome, attendance and engagement are crucial.

Are Virtual IOP Programs 100% Online?

While the majority of your treatment will occur virtually, there are a few things for which you’ll need to show up to your treatment facility in person.

Insurance providers typically require regular toxicology screenings, which have to be completed in person. Your program may also provide other services that need to happen at a physical location, such as a physical exam or nutritional counseling.

If you have transportation, scheduling or other barriers that make it difficult for you to attend in-person appointments, be sure to communicate with your program’s staff. They may offer supportive services or solutions to help you travel to a facility.

Learn About Untethered Recovery’s Personalized Virtual IOP Programs

We know how important it is to be in a safe, welcoming environment during your recovery journey. Whether you’re doing your treatment online or in person,

our caring staff cultivates an inviting atmosphere where you’ll never feel judged.

Our holistic services treat you as a whole person, focusing on recovery, well-being and self-empowerment for the long term. Learn more about Untethered Recovery’s services by calling or texting us at 720-953-8040, or emailing us at

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