Failure to Lauch: Young Adults in Crisis

As described in the section on Self-Disorders, some young people appear to suddenly stall out: college students who have always done well in school suddenly seem to be disoriented and unmotivated; 20-somethings who cannot seem to obtain or hold onto employment or who are apparently unable to take care of themselves.  On occasion, referrals come from the client themselves, but just as frequently, the family will contact the therapist to try to find help for their son or daughter.  As a clinical psychologist, I have long had an interest in both assessing and treating these young adults.  Assessment can involve a Therapeutic Evaluation or may require both the client and the family to attend sessions to try to determine when the young person became derailed as well as what will be necessary to help them get back on track.  My experience has been that, although these young adults are chronologically adults, it is usually necessary for their parents to be involved in the treatment due to both financial reasons and because the parents themselves need help in determining when and how to intervene with their adult child and when to allow the young adult more autonomy and independence.  Psychotherapy involves helping the young adult to develop the Self-functions that are necessary to move forward in their life.