Cindy Wallace

Sorry for taking so long to get back in touch.  I’ve had kids starting senior year and college back the last two weeks, so my schedule with working and taking care of all that has been crazy.  In response to seeing people only once: our programs tend to have patients here for 2-4 weeks at a time, except for the detox unit where patients are only there for 2-4 days.  So, we do have a little more time to establish a relationship.  However, after meeting with someone in spirituality group, we often get a glimpse into some pieces they are dealing with and are able to do a follow up based on that information.

Your question does remind me of my hospice work, though where we work as though we only have 1 day with the patient.  In that work I tended to dive deep rather quickly and usually the circumstance and sense of urgency helped that along.  I suppose it would depend on the patient and the situation they are facing as to how open/willing the person would be to having an in depth relationship in a short amount of time.  Mostly, though, what people have said is that they work with the assumption that everyone is dealing with some form of trauma (whether primary or secondary or lived trauma that happens over a long period of time).  So, maybe instead of trying to focus on the patient opening up quickly you change the way you frame your questions and the way you deliver care.  The other important thing would be to make sure the patient is given a good referral for follow-up when they leave you.