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What Is Involved in Inpatient Psychotherapy?

Lainie Petersen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Inpatient psychotherapy is mental health therapy or counseling that is provided while a patient is being treated in an inpatient mental health or substance abuse program, sometimes also known as residential treatment. There are many variables in inpatient psychotherapy, including the frequency of the therapy, the type of therapy offered, and the credentials of the individual who offers the therapy. The amount of inpatient psychotherapy an institutional client receives can differ significantly and depends on the patient's condition, ability to afford therapy, and the policy of the program in which he or she is enrolled.

People who have substance abuse or other mental health issues can often be treated on an outpatient basis. This means that they can continue to live at home and hold down a job while undergoing treatment. There are, however, situations in which a person may require inpatient treatment in which he or she will stay in a hospital or other facility for intensive treatment. People may enter inpatient treatment if they are a danger to themselves or others or if their condition is severe enough that they are unable to function normally in their home or workplace. Some individuals may also choose residential treatment if they and their medical advisers believe it is in their best interests to do so.

During residential treatment, a patient may be expected to participate in inpatient psychotherapy as part of his or her treatment. He or she may attend one-on-one therapy sessions with a psychiatrist, clinical social worker, or psychologist. Group therapy is often a part of residential treatment, and patients may also have the opportunity to experience family therapy with spouses and other family members. There is also some concern within the mental health community about the effectiveness of ongoing inpatient psychotherapy for some individuals who are severely mentally ill. In such cases, patients may benefit more from supervision and care rather than ongoing psychotherapy.

Not all residential treatment centers include frequent individual inpatient psychotherapy meetings. In some cases, the cost of psychotherapy may be added on to the cost of the treatment program, particularly if a patient needs individualized care that can't be provided in group therapy or within the program's normal program. The cost of additional therapy may vary considerably, often according to the level of expertise held by the psychotherapist.

Before a patient is discharged from inpatient treatment, he may need to make arrangements for follow-up care that may include ongoing counseling and psychotherapy. In some cases, the patient may be able to continue working with the same therapist who provided his inpatient psychotherapy. In other cases, he may work with a counselor in his own community who has been briefed about the patient's situation and needs by the patient's previous therapist.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Lainie Petersen
By Lainie Petersen , Former Writer
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an editor. With a unique educational background, she crafts engaging content and hosts podcasts and radio shows, showcasing her versatility as a media and communication professional. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any media organization.

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Lainie Petersen

Lainie Petersen

Former Writer

Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an...
Learn more
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