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Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program (AIOP)

The Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program (AIOP) at SUNY Upstate Medical University is an outpatient, mental health treatment program for teens with moderate to severe symptoms of depression, anxiety or other symptoms related to a mental health condition. It is uses dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to help teens develop and practice healthy behaviors and coping strategies. The AIOP is a DBT – informed program, all licensed clinicians in the program have received a high level of DBT training.

Adolescent mental health is as important as physical health. It’s not always obvious when a teen is struggling emotionally but recognizing the symptoms early and effective mental health services are important for long-term health.   

Our Goals

The goal of the AIOP is to provide intensive level of services to client currently in outpatient treatment in order to prevent hospitalization. The program can be used as an initial point of entry into mental health care. We can be the first point of service for clients who need crisis stabilization and assistance with finding outpatient services for long-term therapy. The program can provide step-down services to hospitalized clients as a transition to outpatient care. The program can also be a step up from routine outpatient services.

Who is Eligible?

Adolescents ages 13 through 18 with the presence of suicide ideation and / or self-injurious behaviors, defined as any intentional harm to self, in addition to at least two of the following criteria:

  • Psychiatric hospitalization(s) and/or emergency room visit(s) within the last 12 months.
  • Significant impairment and demonstrated decrease in functioning at home and/or school.
  • Moderate to severe symptoms of depression or anxiety or frequent mood swings
  • Impulsive and/or risk-taking behavior
  • Extreme emotional outbursts
  • Chronic emotion dysregulation affecting home, school, extra-curriculars, or social life w/ peers.

*Because the family is an integral component to an adolescent’s wellness, family members or guardians are required to be involved in the program. At least one parent / guardian must attend IOP parent or multi-family group.

Treatment Process

All new clients to the AIOP will be given a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation by staff, in part to determine if the AIOP is best therapeutic intervention for them.  Once participants are admitted into the program, they are assigned an individual therapist who will work with adolescents and their families to create treatment plans that are individualized, flexible and focus on stabilizing problematic moods and behaviors.

Treatment Details

  • Clients will participate weekly in skills groups, groups include:
    • Emotion regulation skills
    • Coping skills,
    • Problem-solving skills,
    • Distress tolerance skills,
    • Skills to decrease / cease substance use,
    • Interpersonal effectiveness skills,
    • Mindfulness skills
    • Dialectical thinking skills
  • Family members are involved in treatment and attend weekly parents’ group or multi-family skills group.
  • Clients can also work with a child and adolescent psychiatrist or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner for medication consultation and management as needed.
  • Adolescents attend weekly individual sessions with a licensed therapist.
  • Phone coaching outside of clinic hours is available as needed.
  • Family Therapy is provided as needed.
  • Parents will also able to work on specific problem behaviors and parenting goals by combining techniques learned in the skills group with parent coaching. Offered on an as needed basis.
  • Clients will also actively work with our discharge / intake coordinator to ensure that once client’s complete program they are transitioned to a less intensive outpatient treatment.


  • All groups are held after school hours
  • All licensed clinicians in program have received DBT training
  • Access to child and adolescent psychiatrist and psychiatric nurse practitioner
  • The teen remains living at home providing an opportunity to learn skills to cope with environmental stressors in real time
  • The teen continues to attend school and remain connected with activities, sports, employment, friends and family while receiving treatment
  • The duration and frequency of attendance is determined by the individual’s needs.
  • Support is provided to the family to assist in the teen’s ongoing wellness and recovery.
  • Case coordination with other providers and school
  • Crisis support as needed
  • Access to intake/discharge coordinator to assist in finding outpatient services for long-term therapy
  • Team approach to treament
Call the AIOP Intake Coordinator for more information at 315-464-2479.