Failure-to-Launch Young Adults: A New Approach

When school started, I heard about several kids who went to college—very good colleges to which the students had happily anticipated going for months—and after only a few days, called their parents to pick them up and take them home.

I see this more and more. Some will go back to school. Others will sit in their parents’ basements playing video games, with their parents wringing their hands because they do not know what to do. This can go on for years, and failure-to-launch young adults make up a large part of my business.

What I find when I talk with these teens and 20-somethings are young people who have never faced adversity, are full of shame and doubt, and lack a sense of themselves or autonomy. When I talk with the parents, I find adults who thought they did everything right and are mystified about where things went wrong.

How did they get there? And, more importantly, how to get them past this? Read more

Using the Eight Ages to Heal Trauma

One of the things I do with most of my individual clients is talk about psychological theory. I don’t expect they will read all 24 volumes of the Complete Works of Sigmund Freud, but a little psychological theory really is helpful when working with kids—understanding why we are the way we are and how what we do with kids can have such a great impact.

For example, I remember learning about Erik Erikson’s “The Eight Ages of Man” in college, and, even to this day, his simple distillation of all the most complex, mystifying psychology I’ve ever studied rings true and right. You can read more about them here (Cherry, K. A. (2005). “Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development,” Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/psychosocialtheories/a/psychosocial.htm), but basically what Erikson said was that people go through eight stages (“Ages”) in their lives, and their experiences during these eight stages shapes who they are. Seems obvious, right? But it is amazing how many people don’t understand how this relates to them personally. Read more