The first partial hospitalization program (PHP), or day hospital, I went to was after the Breakdown, once I was released from inpatient hospitalization. The PHP I went to was at a hospital in the suburb where my husband worked at the time. I had to ride to work with him every day so he could drop me off. The reason I didn’t go to one closer to home was to make sure that I actually attended the program instead of blowing it off.
PHP is for people with mental disorders and/or addiction. It consists of group therapy and other therapeutic activities, such as art therapy and goal-setting. In that way, it’s similar to inpatient hospitalization, except that you’re an outpatient — you go home every day.
PHP lasts from like 8:00 a.m to say, 2:00 p.m., though these hours are just an example. You go Monday through Friday, although some people who have shown improvement or don’t need as intense a program may only go a few times a week.
Sometimes, patients are referred to PHP as a transition from being an inpatient, which was my first experience with a PHP. Other patients who are experiencing difficulties, but not enough to be hospitalized on a behavioral unit, are admitted to the program, usually after an in-take interview. This has been my experience, as well.
Socialization outside PHP is a big no-no.
[NOTE: This is my definition of a PHP based on my experiences. I couldn’t find a good description online, although Wikipedia’s is all right, but then it goes into all this Medicare stuff.]
Anyway, I’ve been to about 3 PHPs that I can remember. The last one I went to was 3 or 4 years ago (PHP 3), which was the best of them all. On Fridays we would go on field trips like bowling, as part of recreational therapy.
None of the other programs I went to did that. They were impersonal, particularly PHP 2: they provided lunch, and during that break I became friendly with another patient; but if the staff saw us talking to each other we would receive a stern reminder that we weren’t supposed to. At PHP 3, we were encouraged to socialize with other patients outside the program. I cherish the fact that I still have friends from there who I keep in touch with. Again, this is an exception to the rule.