Failure To Launch
Treatment Programs

Failure to Launch Program for Young Adults

Young adulthood is “supposed” to be a period of making new friends, exploring various job opportunities, and learning more about oneself and one’s role in society. For many teenagers and 20-somethings, this process is not as linear and their fear of the future may halt their progress towards these goals. They may be used to their comfort zone and are scared of entering the zone of proximal development, where they can learn new skills with the mentorship and assistance of others. Feelings of denial and hopelessness can lead to failure to launch during these transitional periods. Failure to launch programs give young adults the tools to launch into independence successfully.

The guide is meant to be comprehensive, but as such, not every section will be applicable to everyone. Instead, we invite you to click on the links in the table of contents to jump to the sections that most interest you.

What Does Failure to Launch Mean in Young Adulthood?

For young adults, failure to launch is a complex situation. In life, transitions are fundamental and essential. While failure to launch is often used to describe the transition immediately after high school, it can occur after any major transition in one’s life. Sometimes, failure to launch is subjective based on personal expectations and can be a gradual realization that one is not where they thought they would be. 

Independence and self-sufficiency is critical during transitional stages of young adulthood. This stage is full of unknowns that a young adult might face, testing their limits and challenging them. Many individuals enter young adulthood, realizing that they’ve underestimated the skills and responsibilities of assuming an adult role. They equate independence with freedom, not the ability to make healthy choices on their own. When they gain this freedom, they may realize that they are not prepared to take these initiatives, especially if they are used to relying on others to complete tasks for them and make decisions for them. blueFire PulsaR supports young adults as they transition into adulthood and overcome challenges associated with failure to launch.

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What are the Signs of Failure to Launch in Young Adults?

Young adults may experience failure to launch for a number of reasons. They may be struggling academically, have difficulty maintaining relationships, or mental health struggles may affect their motivation or energy to work towards their goals. As young adults struggle to come up with realistic goals, they may have a hard time feeling a sense of achievement and instead, feel an immense pressure to succeed that leads them to doubt their potential.

Signs of failure to launch in young adults may include:

  • Not knowing what to do with unstructured time
  • Lack of meaningful relationships
  • Poor self-care habits, including changes in sleep schedule or appetite
  • Limited motivation and purpose in life
  • Problems finding and maintaining employment
  • Postponing postsecondary education or dropping out of college
  • Ongoing depression and anxiety
  • Resistance to support offered by friends and family
  • Hopelessness about the future

How Does blueFire PulsaR Help Young Adults Set Goals and Gain Independence?

Wilderness therapy programs, like blueFire PulsaR, are designed to help young adults take charge of their lives. We understand that young adulthood is a difficult period for navigating relationships, particularly with family members. As young adults are in a transitional period in their life, they often struggle to understand what relationships should look like. College friends may feel like “party friends” or “temporary” friends and parent relationships may no longer seem as important. We remind the young adults we work with that there is a difference between doing things alone and actually being independent. 

Our focus is on teaching students life skills that will help them launch into independence, like communication, emotion regulation, and problem-solving. These skills are learned and practiced through adventure activities, community service opportunities, and group therapy. With feedback from a supportive group of peers, young adults are encouraged to reflect on and reimagine their personal goals and the steps they may need to take to work towards them. Learning these skills in a group setting helps young adults build confidence that they have valuable skills and realistic goals that are recognized by others. A wilderness therapy environment is designed to help young adults discover their full potential in life and provide guidance to young adults as they pave a successful future for themselves.

How Does Wilderness Therapy Address Failure to Launch?

  • Adventure Therapy as the centerpiece of a program which explores personal growth through a variety of new experiences: rock climbing, backpacking, mountain biking, white water rafting, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, horsemanship, caving, historical outings
  • Service work in the community which helps clients expand their worldview and think of the needs of others.
  • Daily yoga, meditation and mindfulness
  • Weekly equine therapy to develop healthy relationships and improved communication
  • More therapy as therapists are “in the field” with clients four days per week
  • Individual therapy two times per week. Group therapy four times per week.
  • A family-centered approach  involving parents in a comprehensive program to reconnect the entire family through a family systems process when appropriate

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