Intensive Outpatient Psychiatry and Psychology


Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) at Children’s Health℠ are available for young people with eating disorders or suicidal behaviors. IOP is less intensive than hospitalization or day treatment, and is more appropriate for youth who may need more than weekly treatment.

Why Children's Health℠?

Children’s Medical Health℠ Dallas is the nation’s eighth-largest pediatric health care provider. For more than 100 years, Children’s Health℠ has been dedicated to making life better for children afflicted with complex physical and mental conditions that require optimal care.

We offer one of the most comprehensive specialty programs available for children and teens that need psychiatric and psychological services. Our program offers group therapy, individual therapy and parent and family therapy. Your teen’s participation in the program will depend on her individual needs.

If you think your child needs help, our teen suicide prevention and eating disorder programs are designed especially for people her age.

Suicide Prevention

The Suicide Prevention and Resilience at Children's Health℠ (SPARC) IOP services are provided at the Chase Bank Building Specialty Services.

SPARC is an evidence-based program designed to target risk factors associated with suicide in teens. Resilience is described as the ability to grow and thrive in the face of challenges and to bounce back from adversity.

Patients participate in group therapy three hours per day, two days per week, and attend individual and/or family therapy in conjunction with IOP. Parents also attend a parent group, one hour per week, to learn the skills their teens are learning in group medication management and other services.

Length of time in IOP is based on individual need and is usually between three to six weeks. Patients attending the SPARC IOP are referred from their current treatment providers (psychiatrist or therapist).

Outpatient Services (IOP)

Suicidal behavior and eating disorders are two of the most serious mental health conditions that affect young people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the third leading cause of death for children, adolescents and young adults between ages 10 and 24. Meanwhile, millions of young people suffer a form of eating disorder.

Outpatient treatment of these conditions requires an intensive approach. Children’s Health℠ Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) offers outpatient psychiatry and psychology services that include psychiatric, psychological and neuropsychological evaluation; individual, family and group therapy, and medication management. Services are provided by specially trained pediatric psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, psychologists and clinical therapists.

IOP is less intensive than hospitalization or day treatment and is more appropriate for the young person who may need more than weekly treatment. Goals of the intensive outpatient program are to provide patients and families with knowledge, resources and support to assist them with successful functioning in everyday life. Patients and families participate in a four-hour program, two days a week. Each unique program consists of individual, family, and group therapy, medication management and additional support services, including art and music therapy.

Treating Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are not restricted to females; young males often suffer from eating disorders, though not as often. The most common eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia nervosa – This disorder is characterized by an individual’s severe food intake restriction, obsession with body appearance, and an irrational fear of gaining weight. Young people experience excessive weight loss.
  • Bulimia nervosa – This disorder is characterized by a destructive pattern of overeating followed by vomiting or other “purging” behaviors to control body weight. About 50% of people who have had anorexia develop bulimic eating patterns

If your child suffers an eating disorder, he faces risks including possible cardiac arrest, suicidal thoughts, and even death by starvation. IOP services for eating disorders are provided on our Legacy campus. The program offers a unique group therapy approach for you, your family and your affected child. Nutritional consultation and a therapeutic dinner become part of your child’s treatment plan.