There seems to be an increasing number of teens and young adults struggling to find their footing when it comes to determining what they want to do for their future. It is an under recognized but rapidly growing phenomenon.
Transitioning into adulthood is a difficult time and some teens are not ready to make those big decisions. These young adults are often uncertain if they want to go to college or get a job. They may convince you that they need a year off before going to college. Some may attempt college and underperform, eventually dropping out. Others may have completed school but cannot find work. Before you know it, time is passing by and they are barely getting dressed for the day. You may find them glued to the computer or other electronics. They may make up many excuses why they are not following through with any future plans or lying about the time spent looking for work. Most of your con- versations are about what their plans are which leads to tension and conflict within the entire family. It is a frustrating situation because as a parent, you know that they are ca- pable of being successful and worry this time lost will have a lasting impact. You also may look forward to the day they become fully independent. Months and years fly by with no progress.
Causes of Failure to Launch
This is a complex problem that requires a comprehensive evaluation. There is not one answer to the problem. These young adults have a range of problems and it is neces- sary for a trained professional to assess what is going on. There are some early risk factors for “Failure to Launch Syndrome”: parental divorce, loss of one parent at an ear- ly age, immigration in a suboptimal condition and being a male. Frequently there are a number of co-occurring psychological and clinical issues: low self-esteem, separation anxiety, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, undi- agnosed mild autistic spectrum disorder, history of trauma, depression, undiagnosed learning disabilities or addiction. These disorders are often mild so they may go unno- ticed. Looking back, you may notice some red flags but back then believed these signs were “just a phase.” These red flags may have been episodes of school avoidance, a desire to be home-schooled, difficult transitions (i.e. changing schools), social avoid- ance or appearing withdrawn from the family.
The Launchpad Program
McLean Counseling Center is offering a specialized program called Launch Pad. This program is designed to study, assess and treat this challenging condition. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first center in the nation to specifically target this problem on an outpatient basis.
Early detection and prevention are key to successful treatment and to prevent further long-term impacts. Recognizing the underlying problems and effectively treating them can prevent many years of stagnation.
When you first call, you will have a phone consultation with one of our team members to determine suitability. At your first appointment, a licensed psychologist and psychiatrist will meet with both the young adult and the family to assess the nature of the problem. The team then develops a step by step treatment plan that specifically addresses the needs of the family. The treatment plan may combine family and individual therapy as well as group therapy for selected candidates. Medications may also be recommended when necessary. You will be informed of the treatment plan before we begin. We use a team-based approach that incorporates weekly team meetings and empirically-based treatments. At McLean Counseling Center we are dedicated to study this condition and help these young adults and their families recover.