Eating Disorders Intensive Outpatient Program FAQ

Portland DBT Institute is excited to offer an Adult Intensive Outpatient Program for Eating Disorders for the treatment of Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder.


What is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?
An Intensive Outpatient Program is a ‘higher level of care’ treatment option for people who need more support than typical weekly outpatient therapy services or are ready to ‘step-down’ from a residential or PHP program. Typically, an IOP program means that there is clinical or therapeutic group programming for 3 hours per day for anywhere from 1-5 days per week. IOP programming is less intensive than a Partial-Hospitalization Program (PHP), Residential, or Inpatient program.

How do I know if an IOP is the right program for me?
Many people who are struggling with an eating disorder may find admission to an IOP program helpful. Do you find it hard to get your day started without having an eating disorder behavior? Do you struggle with the day to day challenge of food? Are you finishing up your admission to a PHP or Residential setting and want to make the next step a successful one? Has your outpatient therapist recommended that you need more help to treat your eating disorder behavior?

According to the American Psychological Association, people who are likely to benefit from an IOP setting have fair motivation for treatment, are self-sufficient in terms of being able to eat, may need some extra structure to prevent compulsive exercising, and are medically stable.

How do I know if this IOP is the right program for me?
Our IOP program is built on the foundation of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT is a type of treatment that focuses on helping people to identify their black and white thinking and behaviors AND move towards wisdom driven change and acceptance. DBT is known to be beneficial for people with many different problems including: intense emotions, suicidality, self-harm behavior, personality disorders, a history of trauma/PTSD, substance abuse—in addition to eating disorders. DBT is especially helpful for people who struggle with more than one problem or who have tried other more-conventional therapies and are still struggling.

What are the hours/days of this program? What is included in the IOP program?
Our IOP group runs 5 days a week, for 4 hours a day. During group time, you will also have weekly hour-long individual therapy appointments, and outside of group hours, will meet with a Dietitian and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (for medication management) weekly (or less often as recommended).

What happens during the IOP hours?
During the IOP hours, you will participate in several different groups. All groups are focused on teaching and practicing the principles of DBT. Our goal is to help our clients drive their own steps of recovery by providing DBT-skills based behavioral accountability. We will help you plan for the week and the coming weekend and work to understand what is getting in the way of the changes you need to make—whether it is working on motivation to take treatment to the next level or breaking the bonds of well-known problematic behavior.

How can I join this program?

The first step in getting started is filling out our electronic Interest Form.

Electronic Interest Form

For general information about the program, please contact
Charlotte Thomas, LCSW, ED IOP Program Manager. or (503) 290-3277

For registration, insurance, and billing questions, please contact our Intake Team or (503) 290-3291