Touch and go meetings are the initial interactions of the patient with his family after he is being inducted into indoor treatment program. These are brief interactions having the therapeutic significance and must be followed with some necessary instructions. These meetings usually start on the very next day when he is being brought in to indoor treatment. Touch and go usually comprised of a very little duration initially which is 3-4 minutes. But the patient and the family follow the instructions of this interaction then the time can be extended accordingly.
What is the purpose of Touch and Go?
Its therapeutic purposes can be defined as follows:
- To establish the writ of the family.
- Makes the family able to manage its emotions effectively.
- Establishing the compliance of the patient towards family, professionals and the treatment.
- Enhancing the emotional stability of the patient while interacting with family.
- Making the family also compliant towards the treatment style and follow the instructions given by professionals.
- It also serves to manage the resentments of the patient towards the treatment facility.
- It helps the family to assert him in more therapeutic ways.
- It serves as a baby step in the process of learning the good emotional control of the family in the face of patient’s rude conversation.
- It helps greatly in reducing the anxieties and fears of the family while having the conversation with the patient as the family didn’t feel comfortable with the patient during active addiction.
- It helps the family to be more supportive to the patient in the treatment process of disease of addiction.
Preparation of the family before Touch and Go
As these interactions take place during the very beginning of the treatment, so the family is greatly emotionally disturbed at this stage. Due to the prolonged crises and chronic stress of handling the addictions of the loved one, the family has very weak emotional state and it is operating the situation with fear and anxiety. On the other hand, the patient is quite resentful towards the family, accuses the family for any dys-functionality in his life not the drugs, and is operating the situation with anger and even rage. Keeping these facts into consideration, the family needs to be handled therapeutically before first ever Touch and Go.
For this Willing Ways professionals cover following aspects:
- Briefing is given about disease concept.
- Manipulations like, crying, false promises, threats, silence and complaining about physical aches and pains are told to the family, which can be used by the patient in order to end up the treatment.
- Training is given to them to follow the instructions by the professionals.
- Educating them to handle their emotions effectively in front of the patient and not showing themselves weak.
Instructions for Touch and Go:
Following instructions are given and need to be followed by the family.
- They would meet him while standing, not allowed to sit, maintains the healthy distance from him and standing near the door.
- Not to give him much of the physical contact like hugging or patting on the shoulder.
- They are not supposed to ask the questions, like, how are you?, did you sleep well? Do you like the place? Do you have any objection? Did you eat something? These are all those questions on which the patient can get aggressive and can react, which would cause emotional disturbance to the family.
- Family is supposed to give the messages like, ‘you are looking better’. ‘I am happy that haven’t drank or drugged since many hours’. ‘Be compliant with the treatment and professionals’. ‘Get the advantage of this opportunity’. ‘Your complexion is looking fine now’. ‘Seems that your health is getting better’. ‘We are hopeful that you would get better now and can lead your life without drugs.
- Professional would be supervising the Touch and Go while standing in between the family and the patient in order to maintain the safety.
- Family needs to talk to the patient in clear tone and words not whispering tones.
- Family must take a step back naturally is the patient get emotional or tries to show any manipulative behaviors.
- Family can say while leaving, “will meet you next time and your behavior is disappointing”.
- If the patient calls the family from the back, they are not supposed to look behind or listen to him.
After the Touch and go, if the family is emotionally upset and are unable to manage them, they are given empathy and feed back about their conduct during touch and go. On the other hand the patient is also given the feedback about his conduct with family and feedback to improvise it with family. If the patient and family follow the instructions, then the duration of Touch and Go would be increased and the therapeutic purposes mentioned in the beginning can be achieved.