Failure to Launch

Failure to Launch

Helping Young Adults and Their Parents Navigate the Road to Independence

CE Hours available

In countries around the world, clinicians are seeing a similar phenomenon:

Increasing numbers of young people — especially men — are struggling to navigate the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

These young people can remain fully dependent on their parents well into their thirties, failing to find adequate employment, explore and express their values, and form meaningful relationships. 

This issue, often called “failure to launch” in the U.S., has many parents worrying that their children might never leave home or lead full, independent lives.

Due to a combination of economic, cultural, and social variables, clinicians are increasingly seeing these individuals, or their parents, in therapy…

And yet the literature on this enormous clinical population and how to treat them is practically nonexistent.

This makes serving these clients a particular challenge for a clinician.

Even if a therapist immediately sees what the young adult should do differently, they often find themselves in a perpetual deadlock.

They can’t get the client to engage in behavioral activation or exposure therapy.

The young person doesn’t seem to have any real goals — other than perhaps preventing their situation from changing.

And though the doors of possibility appear to be open to them in every other way, the client seems intent on rejecting their own agency.

These failure to launch individuals represent a unique category and require a unique understanding and approach on the part of clinicians. 

While they may share features of social anxiety or depression, for example, they don’t fit neatly into existing diagnostic categories.

This could be why resources for treating this population are so rare — and it’s simultaneously why they’re so desperately needed.

Failure to Launch is a new and innovative course designed to fill gaps in skill and information that so many therapists contend with in this area of practice.

If you’re like the vast majority of clinicians who work with this population or their families, it will be an invaluable training opportunity for you.

Inside this course

Failure to Launch provides clinicians with a wide variety of tools for helping young people step into adulthood and independence, expand their comfort zones, and get into the driver’s seats of their own lives

The course is taught by Dr. Randy Paterson, a psychologist and prolific author who has looked closely at the failure to launch population and developed a suite of materials to help clinicians gain a deeper understanding of the underlying issues and treat them effectively.

In 5 live online sessions, you’ll gain a deep understanding of this problem, the fears that often prevent progress, and how taking a family systems approach can accelerate movement.

You’ll also learn strategies for:

  • Building and reinforcing the therapeutic alliance when this work often begins in a conflictual space
  • Identifying reasonable goals and motivating clients to take real steps forward
  • Constructing lifelong skills and habits to support young people in forming relationships and pursuing the lives they want
  • Implementing behavioral activation and exposure therapy successfully with this population
  • Guiding parents in how to support their young person’s independence rather than hamstringing it — without cutting the young person off

Interventions in the course are drawn from cognitive therapy, behavioral activation, exposure-based work, and family systems work. 

Whether you’re working with the young adults, their parents, or both, this course offers a rich perspective and set of tools for helping the young adult develop more independence and creating a family dynamic built on mutual respect and responsibility.

Join us and Dr. Paterson inside this unique and necessary course to learn how to put young adults in the driver’s seats of therapy — and their lives — so they can create futures of more freedom and fulfillment.

This training offers 10 CE hours if attended live. We can only provide CE to those who are present via Zoom for the live sessions. However, the sessions will be recorded and available to watch later. Registrants may access these recordings at any time for up to nine months after the live training ends.

Before enrolling, please review conflict of interest disclosures and complete CE information here.

Session 1 | The HomeBody Problem
September 6, 2023, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
Hour 1

  • Who are we talking about? Defining our scope
  • Why staying at home can be fine – and not our concern
  • Epidemiology of the problem
  • Cross-cultural comparisons
  • Characteristics of the population

Hour 2

  • Diagnostic near-misses
  • Economic and cultural risk factors
  • The role of the educational system
  • Parenting styles and the cultivation of avoidance

Session 2 | Getting the Train Out of the Station
September 13, 2022, 12 PM—2 PM EDT

Hour 1

  • De-triangulating from referral sources
  • Identifying the client’s personal goals and ideals
  • Coping with grandiosity and inadequacy

Hour 2

  • Identifying and filling skill deficits
  • Assessing readiness for change
  • Working at the client’s pace

Session 3 | The Components of Change
September 20, 2023 12 PM—2 PM EDT

Hour 1

  • Goal-setting and emotional support
  • Anxiety management and tolerance
  • Mourning and releasing childhood

Hour 2

  • In vivo exposures and excursions
  • Financial self-management
  • Job hunting and career
  • Addressing societally-induced distortions (“Find your passion!” and more)

Session 4 | Parenting and the family system
September 27, 2023 12 PM—2 PM EDT

Hour 1

  • How and why families can sabotage progress
  • Incorporating family in independence
  • A look at the family system
  • When parents are the identified clients

Hour 2

  • Changing the parents, not the offspring
  • Intrinsic versus adaptive motivation
  • Setting effective limits
  • How to support momentum, not inertia

Session 5 | Adult-Raising
October 4, 2023 12 PM—2 PM EDT

Hour 1

  • The two tasks of parenting: Safety and preparation
  • The myth of natural development
  • Adolescence as apprenticeship

Hour 2

  • Skills adults need
  • The shifting line of responsibility
  • Encouraging independence without risking safety
  • Conclusions

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify the failure-to-launch phenomenon and distinguish it from related phenomena such as social anxiety and depression.
  • Identify the precipitating and maintaining factors operating in individual cases, and use these in formulation and treatment planning.
  • Discuss ways to build an alliance with the young adult without getting caught in the power struggle with caregivers.
  • Discuss how to conduct exposure-based work on anxiety-producing situations with the young adult, based on their priorities and plans.
  • Address ambivalence and despair in identifying and building a functional adult self.
  • Describe ways to work with young adults and families at identifying and resolving “adulting” skill deficits.
  • Describe ways to work with the family to shift supports from enabling dependence to facilitating confidence and personal development.
  • Identify tools for assisting parents to set boundaries, gently withdraw superfluous caregiving, and manage their own transition to post-parenting life.

Please review complete CE and conflict-of-interest disclosure information prior to registering. This live online course is sponsored by Praxis Continuing Education and Training and is approved for 10 CE Hours by the following listed below. There was no commercial support for this activity. None of the planners or presenters for this educational activity have relevant financial relationship(s) to disclose with ineligible companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.

Praxis CET maintains responsibility for the program with the CE approvals outlined below:

Joint Accreditation: In support of improving patient care, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

IPCE: This activity was planned by and for the healthcare team, and learners will receive 10 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credit for learning and change.

Nursing: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc designates this activity for a maximum of 10 ANCC contact hours.

Physicians: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc designates this live activity for a maximum of 10 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Psychologists: Continuing Education (CE) credits for psychologists are provided through the co-sponsorship of the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Continuing Education in Psychology (CEP). The APA CEP Office maintains responsibly for the content of the programs.

Social Workers: As a Jointly Accredited Organization, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. Regulatory boards are the final authority on courses accepted for continuing education credit. Social workers completing this course receive 10 clinical continuing education credits.

Drug and Alcohol Counselors: This course has been approved by Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for 10 CE hours. NAADAC Provider #165310, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc, is responsible for all aspects of its programming.

National Counselors: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6759. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

NY Social Workers: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0467

NY Counselors: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. #MHC-0198.

NY Psychologists: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0002.

NOTE: Many state boards accept offerings accredited by national or other state organizations. If your state is not listed, please check with your professional licensing board to determine whether the accreditations listed are accepted.

Some familiarity with ACT is advised, because the goal of this workshop is not to teach classic ACT in detail.
Mental health professionals at all skill levels. The program may be of particular interest to school and university counselling program staff, and those clinicians working with adolescents, young adults, and parents of adult children

Burn, K., & Szoeke, C. (2016). Boomerang families and failure-to-launch: Commentary on adult children living at home. Maturitas, 83, 9-12.

Kato, T.A., Kanba, S., & Teo, A.R. (2019). Hikikomori: Multidimensional understanding, assessment, and future international perspectives. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 73, 427-440.

Lowe, K., & Arnett, J.J. (2019). Failure to grow up, failure to pay? Parents’ views of conflict over money with their emerging adults. Journal of Family Issues, 41, 359-382

We understand, sometimes things come up!

Praxis will offer a full refund to registrants of both live and live-online trainings who cancel their registration up to 14 days before the course or workshop start date, minus an administrative processing fee of $30 for a 2-day workshop or online course, and a $50 fee for a 4-day workshop. If cancelled within 14 days, no refund will be issued, however, a credit for the same amount will be applied toward another learning product, which expires within 1 year. Please email us at to cancel a registration.