Make an Appointment: 214-606-7523 | [email protected]

  • Navigating “Failure to Launch”: How Therapy Can Help Older Teens and Young Adults

    The transition from adolescence to adulthood is an important life milestone, often characterized by new responsibilities and increased independence. However, some older teens and young adults struggle with this process, experiencing what’s commonly known as “failure to launch” syndrome. These young individuals may face challenges in taking on adult roles, finding stable employment, or leaving home. This blog post will delve into how therapy can be an effective tool in overcoming these obstacles.

    Understanding “Failure to Launch”


    Lack of Motivation: General disinterest in pursuing career or educational goals.

    Dependence on Parents: Continuing to rely heavily on parents for financial and emotional support.

    Avoidance of Responsibility: Delaying or avoiding tasks and decisions that are part of adult life.

    Low Self-Esteem: A lack of confidence which contributes to fear of failure.

    Contributing Factors

    Economic Challenges: High cost of living, student loan debt.

    Mental Health Issues: Anxiety, depression, or other emotional challenges can hinder progress.

    Parenting Styles: Overly supportive or “helicopter” parenting can contribute.

    The Role of Therapy


    Therapy provides a non-judgmental space for young adults to explore their fears, aspirations, and identity.


    With the guidance of a therapist, clients can set realistic, achievable goals and work on a plan of action.

    Cognitive Behavioral Techniques

    Therapy often involves retraining thought patterns to help clients perceive challenges as opportunities rather than threats.

    Emotional Regulation

    Learning emotional self-regulation techniques can provide these young adults with the tools they need to manage stress and anxiety effectively.

    Skill Development

    Beyond emotional support, therapy can offer practical life skills training such as budgeting, job-hunting, and interpersonal communication.

    Case Study: Therapy in Action

    “John,” a 20-year-old with a history of job-hopping and college dropouts, was resistant to therapy initially. However, through cognitive-behavioral therapy, he was able to identify underlying anxieties and develop a more constructive mindset. Today, John is back in college and works part-time, confident in his pathway to adulthood.

    Taking the First Steps

    Identify the Need: Acknowledge that there is an issue that requires professional help.

    Research Therapists: Look for someone specialized in working with young adults or specific challenges like “failure to launch.”

    Initial Consultation: Most therapists offer an initial meeting to discuss the situation and set therapeutic goals.

    Failure to launch is a complex issue, but it’s not an insurmountable one. With the right support and guidance, older teens and young adults can gain the tools they need to move forward in their lives confidently. 

     If you or someone you know is struggling with the transition to adulthood, therapy could be the answer. 

    Don’t hesitate to reach out and take that vital first step.