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Failure to Launch: Aspects of an Effective Treatment Program

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More and more young adults facing tough emotional issues are stranded on the road to adulthood.  Each young adult’s journey toward independence is different; while some make the journey independently, others may need a helping hand, guidance, and even a gentle nudge. If you are reading this, your young adult may need the empowering benefits of our failure to launch programs.

What is Failure to Launch?

As a parent, we aim to raise healthy children who become well-adjusted, independent adults. But what do we do when our adult children are not moving forward with their lives? This is commonly referred to as “failure to launch.” Even with the term utilizing the word failure, that can confuse the topic.  Adult children struggling to move forward in life is a common social problem facing many families nationwide. So what exactly is “failure to launch”?

Before we discuss what it is, let’s clear up what it’s not. According to Resources to Recover:

  • Failure to launch is not a diagnosis
  • Failure to launch is not a failure
  • Failure to launch is not the result of bad parenting
  • Failure to launch is not just a problem for millennials

Failure to launch is a situation that needs to be worked through. One could find themselves in such a situation for various reasons, including other diagnosed issues such as anxiety or depression. Often, when working through a failure to launch program, the young adult may need to address any mental health issues affecting their ability to move forward. It could also be the need to help them focus on desires, needs, and goals.  Our failure-to-launch program builds your child’s confidence, allowing them the strength and energy to create a life plan. Not knowing where to begin can be incredibly overwhelming, but that’s why we are here.

Signs Your Young Adult Might Be Experiencing Failure to Launch

Young adulthood is a pivotal time in one’s life; there are often important decisions to make, which can increase the pressure young adults face. When young adults face challenges, such as trauma, family conflict, depression, anxiety, or substance abuse, getting lost on the road to independence can be easy. While “failure to launch” is not an accurate diagnostic category, many young adults live back home, stuck in a rut.

You may see signs of a failure to launch situation when your young adult is reluctant to move forward with any of the following life steps:

  • Moving out of the family home
  • Learning to self-monitor or self-regulate
  • Working towards a long-term career choice or simply finding a job
  • Continuing their education through college, vocational training, or additional training
  • Not meeting or acting out age-appropriate life tasks (paying their bills, showing interest in independent life, etc.)

The first steps in helping your loved one achieve independence are recognizing that he or she needs help and recognizing the differences between helping, empowering, and enabling. If you are here today, you are already making the best possible step toward helping your young adult.

Characteristics of a Credible Adventure Therapy Program

With the overwhelming variety of treatment programs available, some characteristics make an adventure therapy program truly effective at helping young adults get through a failure to launch. So many options can leave you wondering if the program you are choosing is the right one for your child, and there are certainly some that have caused harm and hurt the young adults entrusted to these programs. 

We stand firmly against any version of treatment that harms clients, and we focus explicitly on holistic, healthy, research-backed modalities to help our clients. We are not a wilderness/survival-style program, we use the healing features of nature, adventure, group and individual therapy, and community immersion to build confidence and self-reliance in the young adults who come into our program. In fact, many people looking for programs for gap year students would benefit from sending their children to adventure therapy.

To find a credible, safe program for your young adult child, you’ll need to consider a few important details about the program. We’ve outlined several characteristics and processes that a credible adventure therapy program should implement to ensure they follow best practices within the industry.

Formal Evaluation

A reputable adventure therapy program should evaluate young adults upon admission to craft an individualized treatment plan. In addition, routine, formal evaluations should be conducted periodically to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment path.

Expertise in Their Field

A credible treatment program should have expertise in its field of specialty. If you are considering treatment for yourself or a loved one, it is vital to determine whether the program specializes in working with young adults and how they will help facilitate the transition through a failure to launch.

It is also important to find out whether the treatment program has experience dealing with your loved one’s particular challenge, whether low motivation, depression, anxiety, or a lack of social skills holding him or her back.

Specialized Training

Licensed therapists should lead the program curriculum at a reputable adventure therapy program. Field guides should receive specialized training and certification in CPR and first aid, wilderness first aid, and first responder training. Field guides should also obtain additional certifications for their adventure activities, such as technical ropes rescue, open water scuba diving certification, swift water rescue, and lifeguarding certification. 

Individualized Treatment Plans

No two individuals are alike, and neither are their struggles; a credible adventure therapy program should provide an individualized treatment plan for each young adult who comes through the program. The individualized plans should be based on each young adult’s personal issues, needs, and goals; progress should be monitored closely by therapists and field staff.

After Care

The healing and growing process doesn’t stop on the client’s last day of treatment, and neither should the care that the client receives. A credible adventure therapy program will work to ensure that the young adults have the support they need to have a smooth transition through a failure to launch and back into the “real world.”

Research-Based Clinical Model

While each young adult should receive an individualized treatment plan, a reputable adventure therapy program should have a clearly defined clinical model based on best practices in mental health.

Stuck In A Rut?

Young adults facing difficult life challenges are finding themselves stuck in a rut. Each individual’s journey toward independence is different; while some will make the journey seamlessly, others may need a helping hand, some guidance, and even a gentle nudge. Recognizing that your loved one needs help transitioning to adulthood is the first step to getting him or her through a failure to launch and back on the road to independence.

To find out more about helping young adults living at home achieve their independence, including more information about wilderness adventure gap year programs, download our FREE, 12-page white paper, The Road to Independence Can Be Rough: It’s Okay to Ask for Help

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Learn More About Adventure Therapy from Pure Life…

The Pure Life Program

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