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Program Overview and Description

The Heartwood Integrative Mental Health Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) at Widening Circles, PC offers a comprehensive and multidisciplinary care approach to address a variety of mental health challenges, often exacerbated by/or rooted in traumatic experiences. The IOP is designed to provide intensive and structured mental health services to individuals who require a higher level of care than traditional outpatient therapy, but do not necessitate the intensity of inpatient treatment.


By integrating psychiatry, functional medicine, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, family involvement, case management, and WRAP planning, our program provides individuals with a holistic and evidence-based path to healing and recovery. Our IOP focuses on promoting mental wellness, enhancing coping skills, and facilitating sustainable recovery for individuals struggling with a variety of mental health conditions.


Program Philosophy 

Heartwood Integrative Mental Health IOP invokes the powerful metaphor of heartwood - the central, innermost portion of a tree's trunk. Heartwood is known for being the densest and strongest part of the tree. In the context of mental health care, heartwood serves as a poignant metaphor representing inner strength, resilience, and the core essence of a patient's well-being.


Heartwood IOP is philosophically rooted in an integrated and multidisciplinary treatment team approach that recognizes the complexity of human experiences and the interconnectedness of various factors impacting mental health and well-being. This approach emphasizes collaboration among professionals from different disciplines, such as psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, expressive arts therapists, somatic therapists, coaches, and more. The goal is to provide holistic care that addresses the diverse needs of individuals in the program.


  • Trauma-Informed Modalities
    At the core of this philosophy is a commitment to trauma-informed care. Recognizing the prevalence and impact of trauma, the program prioritizes creating a safe and supportive environment for individuals to explore their past experiences. The treatment team is trained to understand the effects of trauma on the brain, behavior, and emotions, and to integrate trauma-informed practices into all aspects of therapy. This includes fostering empowerment, promoting choice, and avoiding retraumatization.

  • Existential/Humanistic Concepts
    Drawing from existential and humanistic philosophies, the program emphasizes the importance of individual agency, meaning-making, and personal growth. Therapists work with participants to explore their sense of purpose, values, and the broader questions about existence. This approach encourages individuals to take responsibility for their lives, develop a deeper understanding of themselves, and find authentic ways to connect with the world around them.


  • Ecotherapy
    Ecotherapy, also known as nature therapy or green therapy, is an integral component of the program's philosophy. Recognizing the healing power of the natural world, the program incorporates outdoor activities, nature-based rituals, and mindfulness practices in natural settings. Connecting with nature is seen as a way to foster self-awareness, reduce stress, and promote a sense of interconnectedness with the environment.


  • Expressive Arts Therapy
    Expressive arts therapy provides a creative outlet for participants to express their emotions, thoughts, and experiences through various artistic mediums such as visual arts, music, dance, and drama. This form of therapy encourages self-discovery, emotional processing, and communication in non-verbal ways. It allows individuals to access deeper layers of their psyche and engage in healing processes beyond traditional talk therapy.


  • Somatic Therapies
    Somatic therapies recognize the mind-body connection and focus on the physical sensations and experiences held in the body. Techniques like yoga, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and body-centered therapies are incorporated into the program. These approaches help individuals release physical tension, process emotional blockages, and promote overall well-being by integrating physical and psychological healing.


  • Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy
    In alignment with the growing body of research on the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, the program offers a safe and regulated space for psychedelic-assisted therapy. This includes sessions with trained professionals using ketamine (and in the future if/when FDA approved) and substances like psilocybin or MDMA to facilitate transformative experiences and insights. These therapies are carefully structured and guided to promote healing, self-discovery, and personal growth.


Overall, our treatment philosophy weaves together trauma-informed care, existential/humanistic concepts, ecotherapy, expressive arts therapy, somatic therapies, and psychedelic-assisted therapy. This approach recognizes the uniqueness of each individual's journey and seeks to provide a comprehensive framework for healing that addresses the complexity of the human experience.


Program Goals and Objectives 

  • Stabilization: The primary goal of our IOP is to help patients achieve stability in their mental health by addressing acute symptoms, managing crises, and developing effective coping strategies.

  • Functional Improvement: Through evidence-based interventions, psychoeducation, and skill-building activities, our program aims to enhance patients' functional abilities and resilience in daily life.

  • Patient Empowerment: We aim to empower patients to actively participate in their treatment journey, make informed decisions, and develop skills to manage their mental health effectively.

  • Holistic Approach: Our IOP focuses on enhancing overall wellness by integrating holistic practices such as mindfulness, nutrition, physical activity, and creative expression into the treatment process.

  • Trauma Resolution: Our primary goal is to support patients in addressing and resolving trauma-related symptoms, fostering emotional regulation, and promoting psychological well-being.

  • Transition to Lower Levels of Care: As patients progress in their recovery, the IOP will prepare them for successful transition to lower levels of care, such as standard outpatient therapy, by empowering them with the skills needed to maintain their well-being.


  • Collaborative Care: We promote collaboration among our interdisciplinary team, patients, and their support networks to ensure a unified approach to care that aligns with CARF guidelines.


  • Sustainable Recovery: Through education, skill-building, and ongoing support, our program assists patients in building resilience and maintaining lasting recovery beyond their time in the IOP.


Program Components


  • Comprehensive Assessment: Upon admission, patients undergo a thorough assessment with a licensed psychotherapist to evaluate trauma history, co-occurring disorders, physical health, and other factors to inform a personalized treatment plan.


  • Psychiatry Assessment and Medication Management: A board-certified psychiatrist assesses patients’' mental health, prescribes medications if appropriate, and provides ongoing medication management. Collaboration with the therapy team ensures a comprehensive treatment plan.


  • Functional Medicine: Integrating functional medicine principles, our program addresses the interplay between physical health and mental well-being, offering nutritional guidance, lifestyle adjustments, and complementary therapies.


  • Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy: Under the guidance of trained professionals, patients have the option to participate in evidence-based psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy sessions, when appropriate and legally permissible. 


  • Individual Psychotherapy: Licensed psychotherapists offer individual sessions to delve deeper into personal trauma narratives, explore underlying issues, and develop coping strategies. Therapists collaborate with the multidisciplinary team to ensure a holistic approach. This occurs at least twice per month. 


  • Group Psychotherapy: Structured group sessions provide a supportive environment for patients to connect, share experiences, and learn from one another under the guidance of skilled therapists.


  • Case Management Support: Case managers meet with participants to address practical concerns, connect them with resources, and assist in setting achievable goals related to housing, employment, education, and social support.

  • Psychoeducation: Patients and their families receive education about mental health conditions, treatment options, medication management, and strategies for fostering a supportive environment.

  • Family Involvement: Family members or support persons are encouraged to participate in therapy sessions to foster understanding, open communication, and a stronger support network.

  • Mindfulness and Wellness Practices: Mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation techniques are integrated into the program to promote emotional regulation and self-awareness.


Program Duration

The IOP is structured as a ten-week, cohort-based mental health treatment program. A myriad of group therapy sessions are offered multiple times per week. While the duration of the program is generally ten weeks, hours of service per week may vary based on the individual's progress. 


Admission Criteria

Admission to the program is based on a comprehensive assessment that considers the severity of symptoms, complexity of needs, and appropriateness for an intensive outpatient level of care. Individuals who may benefit from the IOP include those struggling with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma-related disorders, and other mental health conditions that require intensive support.


Professional Staff

Our IOP is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of dedicated mental health professionals, including licensed therapists, psychiatrists, functional medicine practitioners, registered nurses, case managers, wellness coaches, peer support specialists and support staff. Our team is committed to providing high-quality care and supporting patients on their journey to improved mental health. We are committed to promoting healing, empowering individuals, and fostering lasting recovery through evidence-based interventions and compassionate care. Our CARF-approved program reflects our dedication to excellence in mental health treatment.

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