Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) in Austin, Texas

Lean Into Fear [with] Empowerment (L.I.F.E. Program)

The L.I.F.E. program is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for children, adolescents, and adults with moderate to severe OCD. OCD can make it difficult to live the life you want to live. It creates rules that are exhausting to follow. It takes up time, disrupts relationships, and essentially makes your world a lot smaller. Through our program, we will provide you with the current gold-standard treatment for OCD to help you live the value-driven life you deserve. We are here to serve as your teammates in your journey to recovery!


Individuals with moderate to severe levels of OCD who would benefit from a higher level of care due to the functional impairment caused by their symptoms, dissatisfaction with progress in weekly therapy, stepping down from a residential or Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), or having a special circumstance limiting their ability to seek ongoing care (geographical or time limitations). You do not need to have prior experience in therapy.

What therapy do you use?

The L.I.F.E. program uses the current gold-standard, evidence-based treatment for OCD: Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). ERP is a specific form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) that teaches individuals:

  • how to respond to intrusive thoughts
  • how to approach situations that they currently avoid or situations that require compulsive behaviors
  • how to tolerate the associated discomfort and how to reduce or eliminate the avoidance and compulsions that are typically present.

We also incorporate Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) into our program to help individuals experience the benefits of taking a more mindful stance toward their symptoms and how to live a freer life that is more in line with their values rather than the life OCD wants for them. The L.I.F.E. program is entirely one-on-one, and there is no group therapy component.

What is the time commitment? Do you offer evenings or weekends?

The L.I.F.E. program typically takes place over a two-week period for a total of 20 hours (with an additional 2-hour intake for new clients). We offer three options:

  1. Weekday mornings (Monday-Friday from 8:45 am-10:45 am) at the rate of $2500/week + $400 intake fee for new clients.
  2. Weekday evenings (Monday-Friday from 6:30 pm-8:30 pm) at the rate of $3000/week + $400 intake fee for new clients.
  3. Weekends (Friday from 3:00 pm-6:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 am-1:00 pm) at the rate of $3250/week + $400 intake fee for new clients.

Where will the therapy take place?

The COVID-19 pandemic can prohibit access to some environments we typically use for our L.I.F.E. program sessions, such as restaurants, stores, parks, patients’ homes, and other places in the community. When it is safe to use these spaces, we will do so. Depending on the current local risk level at the time of your treatment, sessions may occur at our Round Rock, Allandale, or Westlake Hills locations with specific health and safety protocols in place. At any time, we are able to complete sessions virtually through our secure teletherapy portal.

What can I expect?

You can expect to work with two therapists from Austin Anxiety and OCD Specialists who will serve as your treatment team. If you are new to our practice, before your first day you will complete a virtual or in-person intake and treatment planning session with the IOP coordinator. Individuals who currently see a therapist at AAOCDS can identify goals for treatment with their therapist which can then be provided to the IOP therapists. The first day of the program will include the finalization of your treatment plan as well as psychoeducation about OCD, ERP, and the program as a whole. The second day of treatment will continue with additional psychoeducation, as well as starting the active components of ERP. While we have a general treatment protocol, we tailor that protocol to fit your individual needs and goals. At the end of each session, you and your therapist will decide what you will do for your action plan before your next session. The vast array of literature on OCD treatment suggests that those who benefit the most from treatment engage with the treatment both in and out of session. Therefore, to ensure you are getting the most out of it, we will ask that you complete action steps between sessions. Our therapists are dedicated to making this a beneficial experience and are open to feedback throughout the process. Near the end of the program, your therapists will work with you to develop a relapse prevention plan and step-down plan for ongoing support if needed.

Will my loved ones be involved?

We know that when OCD takes hold, it often impacts the family, in addition to, the individual sufferer. To ensure the highest level of success, we will assess the level of accommodation that occurs by those you live with or those closest to you. OCD can convince loved ones to “co-compulse.” Your loved ones do not want to see you in distress and might engage in avoidance with you in response to OCD. With your permission, we will provide you with resources for those individuals or offer them guidance during sessions on how they can best support your treatment. There are also times when it might be helpful to include loved ones directly during exposure practices. We will always obtain your consent before involving other people.

How will I know I am making progress?

At the onset of treatment, you and your treating therapists will develop a treatment plan with objective, measurable goals. Throughout your treatment, progress will be measured by observing whether those goals have been met, by obtaining symptom scores using reliable and valid questionnaires and scales, and through your subjective report of whether you see yourself improving. Your treatment plan is a modifiable document that can be adapted to better suit your needs and progress at any time throughout treatment.

What is your success rate? Will I need to continue therapy after?

On average, our patients see a 50% reduction of symptoms over the two weeks they spend in the L.I.F.E. program. Since going from several longer sessions per week to no sessions at all is a big leap for most individuals, we often encourage them to “step down” to individual therapy with an OCD specialist in our clinic or externally to continue working toward full completion of treatment goals or to work on maintenance of progress and relapse prevention. The frequency of treatment following completion of the L.I.F.E. program depends on the individual.

Can I use my insurance?

The L.I.F.E. program is self-pay only. AAOCDS does not file insurance claims for intensive services; however, you can request a Superbill to submit to your insurance company.

How will billing and payments be structured?

You will be asked to place a credit card on file when you schedule your initial appointment. 50% of the estimated cost of treatment will be charged to your credit card at the time of scheduling and the remaining 50% will be charged to your credit card on the first day of treatment. Additional fees incurred (e.g., intake session, additional treatment time, travel time, consultation with other treatment providers, requested letter and/or report writing, legal services, etc.) will be charged on the day services are rendered. Credit cards are securely stored through our encrypted client portal and we are only able to view the last four digits of your card and the expiration date.

What if I change my mind?

Choosing to complete an intensive outpatient program is a big decision, and one that involves multiple factors. Please review our rescheduling and cancelation policies within this section when making your decision. Once you have completed your intake or consulted with your AAOCDS therapist and request to complete the L.I.F.E. program, our IOP coordinator will build a proposed schedule for you. You will have 72 hours to accept or decline the schedule once it is provided to you. Because intensive treatment requires reserving a significant number of hours specifically for you, there will be no refund if you cancel or miss a session for any reason. However, if you need to reschedule treatment before your first day of intensive treatment begins due to illness or emergency (e.g., death in the family, car accident, etc.), we will make every effort to reschedule your treatment within three months at no additional charge. Additionally, no refund will be given if therapy interfering behaviors are exhibited. Examples include, but are not limited to, substance abuse, failure to comply with assigned homework, consistently arriving late for sessions, etc. For whatever reason, if you decide to cancel at least 30 days prior to your scheduled treatment start date, a refund of the deposit will be issued minus a $250.00 administration fee. If you cancel within 7-29 days prior to your scheduled treatment start date, you will receive a refund of half of your paid deposit. If you cancel within fewer than 7 days notice, you will forfeit your entire deposit and no refund will be given. If at any time during the two weeks of treatment your treatment team determines that further treatment is not indicated, a refund minus the fees for treatment already received, minus a $250.00 administrative fee, minus the cost of one additional treatment day will be issued to you within 5 business days. Reasons your treatment team may suggest early termination of treatment include, but are not limited to, accelerated and rapid progress or a higher level of care is deemed more appropriate. No refunds will be provided for services rendered.

If you have additional questions or are interested in starting the L.I.F.E. program, our office staff would be happy to chat with you or connect you with our IOP coordinator. Call us at 512-246-7225 or reach us by e-mail at [email protected].

If you have any additional questions please contact us at 512-246-7225. If you are ready to get started, please visit our client portal.