• Every great journey begins with a First Step!
  • banner

    Intensive Outpatient Treatment

    Happy group participants

    Intensive Outpatient Program, “IOP”

    First group at no cost. Begin group counseling before Labor Day and receive the first group free. No up front fees, no enrollment fees.

    First Step provides Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) at all our locations.  IOP by definition is an outpatient counseling group that meets for 3 hours, no less than 3 times per week. The typical duration of IOP is 12 weeks if attending 3 times per week. The next step is continuing care or aftercare to help the participant remain focused on recovery during life changes of early recovery.  Intensive Outpatient Program groups are typically small with no more than 12 -15 participants per counselor. Attending individual and family counseling during, and in conjunction with, IOP adds support and the likelihood of long term success. Participation in community self help programs such as 12-step programs supports long term abstinence and success. Length and frequency of treatment is a key to long term sobriety. The longer a participant remains active in treatment, the more likely the participant will achieve long-term sobriety.

    We stress abstinence from all mind-altering substances during the course of treatment. Building a strong support network through client attendance and participation in outside self-help groups increases the likelihood or achieving treatment goals. First Step’s IOP program relies mainly on the power of the group therapy modality and employs cognitive-behavioral and motivational enhancement therapeutic techniques. We stress the progressive nature of addiction, honest self-disclosure, client-driven feedback, and “telling on the disease” of addiction. Above all, we stress the recovery progression of sobriety. The IOP programs typically have the client start for the first few weeks attending group every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday night from 6-9 pm.  First Step in Raleigh provides both morning IOP treatment groups on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm as well as evening sessions.

    My first time in IOP, I was angry, scared, ashamed, tearful, and couldn’t see hope. I met my counselor and the group members and over the sessions, I started to change. I initially was having difficulty expressing my feelings. through group, I have learned it is okay to feel my feelings. Group therapy has been very eye-opening for me. My life has improved as a direct result of this IOP. I learned it’s good to get help. I needed help, and I surrendered to my addiction. The counselors are caring and do a great job keeping the group focused. I appreciate everyone at First Step. Treatment has changed me because I can love myself again. I no longer feel tremendous shame and guilt. I am living in the present and truly enjoying my sober life. –Anonymous

    Rather than sticking to a strictly didactic formula, we employ creative experiential activities during group (River of Addiction, Trust Walk, art therapy exercises, small group interaction, brainstorming, etc.) to engage the client in a dynamic learning and support environment. At the heart of each three-hour group session is the process portion of the group. Here clients are encouraged to openly share in a safe environment about their recovery achievements and pitfalls. Client feedback, questions, and interaction with each other are just as important as timely clinical feedback given by the counselors. We have a strong family program and encourage our clients to take advantage of it.  At our Raleigh facility, we offer a free program that meets each Tuesday from 6-8:00 pm for family members/loved ones/members of the community.  This is the F.A.C.E. Program (Family And Community Education).

    We make it clear to clients that family involvement is not only a requirement of insurance companies but also greatly improves rates of success for substance abusers. We feature a Family Night, which is generally held each month during IOP time at no extra cost to the client.  (Please check with the facility for dates). Clients attend a special family IOP session with their loved ones.  Both facets of our family program are facilitated by Masters Level therapists with years of substance abuse counseling experience.  We encourage our clients to consider family therapy sessions with our trained counselors as a supplement to their treatment.  Family therapy sessions can further educate family members and help facilitate open communication and help minimize enabling, codependent, and dysfunction in the family system.

    First Step is in-network with Cigna Behavioral Health, Magellan, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Behavioral Healthcare, Aetna, MedCost, Value Options, CompPsych, NC State Health Plan, Managed Health Network (Military Veterans) and other insurance companies. We do everything we can to get you authorized for all our outpatient services. When someone uses insurance, they typically only have to pay a co-pay for each service rendered (each individual group session, each individual session, each family therapy session, etc). We will be happy to update concerned others (employers, family, etc.) by phone, fax, e-mail, or mail on the patient’s progress on a monthly basis or more often if requested.  Of course, we need a signed “consent to release information” so that we can share this information. Otherwise, we cannot acknowledge you have ever been to First Step.

    “I actually came in late my first day, but the group was more than accepting and inviting. Whatever nerves I had were diminished. I loved the group dynamic, even as it changed, and thoroughly enjoyed the activities, especially in the beginning. I made great connections with the people and gained a lot of tools and looked forward to coming to group a great majority of the time. The regular expectations and structure sitting in a circle, reading the rules break half way through was way comforting and inviting.” Anonymous

    Your privacy and confidentiality is something we take seriously. Finally, we offer a wide range of other treatment options here at First Step.  We cover the spectrum from a few hours of education all the way to 12 or more weeks of Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) Treatment.  Occasionally we design a short intensive outpatient program for a client.  The 12 week IOP is the highest level of care we offer. Longer stays in the IOP are possible and aftercare programs supplement IOP or other treatment programs. We do not offer residential or inpatient services. We have at our fingertips information about these services and have strong connections with these providers.  We provide space to an AA meeting at our Raleigh office every Friday at noon. I hope this is helpful for you.

    What comes after IOP? Every client who successfully completes any level of counseling groups, is remaining abstinent, and no longer requires monitoring or reporting, is welcome to continue aftercare  for as long as he or she would like to attend. Some participants choose to “step down” to attending our Aftercare group one evening per week or attend individual counseling at First Step to help with maintaining the benefits gained in the program. Others participate in the 12-step programs such as AA or NA in addition to the Aftercare program. A few choose to attend other self-help groups such as Smart Recovery and some participate at a new level in their church or spiritual support groups. Our goal is to help program participants and graduates maintain the gains earned during their time in our programs. Research and our experience proves that the longer a program participant remains in treatment and aftercare, the higher the chances are for maintaining sobriety.

    “My first initial impressions were good I honestly was nervous, just because everyone else seemed to know each other. After a few sessions I felt that those strangers were my family and I couldn’t wait to see them the days of our meeting. I learned that alcohol is a really major issue and that more should be done to help those who are addicted. I feel like those dealing with the addition do not have the same resources as others who may have something else. I also learned what it meant to be a “sponsor” and now I want to become one to help others out. I was also educated on many preventive measures and how alcohol addiction is very serious in my community here in Durham. All in all I’m thankful for my new family I met here and the counselor’s for all their support.” Anonymous

    Gender Specific  Intensive Outpatient Program Counseling groups: Women’s Group, Men’s Group

    First Step provides gender specific treatment to address a number of experiences and issues to better assist specific groups of people. Our gender groups are typically small groups with specialized discussions appropriate for each group. This group is part of our IOP program, but accepts women and men who are not IOP patients. Standard fees and enrollment apply. Our Women’s and Men’s groups meet Monday evenings 6:00 – 9:00 PM at our Six Forks Road Raleigh location.

    Inpatient, Residential & Hospital Aftercare:

    First Step Services, LLC provides Intensive Outpatient and General Outpatient aftercare for people completing and discharging from inpatient programs & hospitals across the country. We provide intensive group counseling, family counseling, individual counseling and other services as needed. The goal is to provide people discharging  from facilities with continued treatment and recovery while they transition back into community living; returning to work, to families and resuming a “normal” lifestyle after completing inpatient or hospitalization.  We provide this service at all our locations. We can begin meeting with you by video conferencing before you leave your inpatient facility to ease the transition, if you would find it helpful.

    What about going to a detox or inpatient substance abuse treatment  program?  After completing “detox” and/or an inpatient treatment program from alcohol or drug abuse, the chances of lasting abstinence and recovery are greatly improved by completing an  intensive outpatient for 3 or more months. Most hospitals and residential treatment centers strongly recommend an intensive outpatient aftercare program.

    “I’m blessed to still be here and know that I’m here for a reason and I have a purpose. My first impression of group was scared, nervous & embarrassed and ashamed and depressed. The group has helped pull me out of that darkness and that I’m not alone. You are awesome! I really appreciate all you do for the group. You make 3 hours fly by, as well as demand respect, and personal accountability. I have learned a lot from group that I will take with me. To the group – ya’ll are my teammates and I honestly hope the best for all of you. Thank you for bettering me!!” Anonymous

    How do I get started? Our groups are “open” which means you may start at almost any time. The IOP has a recommended capacity of 12-14 clients per counselor. To get started, call First Step  today and schedule an intake and orientation appointment. You will likely be able to begin counseling the same day as your initial phone call. First Step is able to see clients within 24 hours and you can start at the next scheduled group if you choose.

    First Step Services, LLC, is a private agency with four locations: Raleigh, Garner, Durham and Cary, NC. All our facilities are NC Department of Health and Human Services licensed outpatient substance abuse treatment facilities and all are CARF accredited. At all locations we offer a wide range of outpatient substance abuse treatment options for persons with substance use concerns. Additionally, we are licensed by the State of NC and NC DWI Services to provide all outpatient levels of DWI services and assessments. For many patients who are not at the point of needing inpatient or hospitalization, the treatment that might be appropriate is our intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment program (IOP). The IOP of care is available at all our locations. This program lasts 3-5 months and weekly aftercare options are available that include 3-hour or 1 hour groups. The likelihood of success for people who complete IOP and follow the treatment plan is excellent.



    Aftercare from Inpatient, Residential & Hospital Programs

    Aftercare from Inpatient, Residential & Hospital Programs

    An aftercare program provides ongoing support and services as people go through life changes post
    NC DWI Offenses

    NC DWI Offenses

    First group at no cost. Begin group counseling before Labor Day and receive the first
  • Client Experiences

    “I came to First Step because I got a DUI. The counselors are the best there is. They treat everyone the same no matter what illness you are dealing with. Group really helps you learn to open up about yourself and confront your problem. The illness never ends but First Step helps you manage it

  • Read All Testimonials