Optimal Counseling and Consulting

Taking Risks in Order to Launch

As I continue to work with men in their twenties, and watch them take the steps necessary to progress in their lives, I recognize how important it is for these individuals to get over the initial embarrassment of going to counseling. There are many individual and complex reasons that an individual is not progressing towards independence and adulthood. As I discuss these topics with other individuals, I always have the term “arrested development,” in the back of my mind, probably in part because I enjoy the TV show so much. I like this term because it is a metaphor that represents this idea of being jailed or trapped. Most young adults I work with do feel trapped in a variety of reasons and are not enjoying their “failure to launch,” and are in many ways paralyzed by anxiety.

There are a variety of jobs I have as a mental health counselor in terms of diagnosing and assessing any mental health concerns and even referring on to a psychiatrist in certain cases. I have changed my approach from focusing on motivation to focusing on risk-taking, as a result I enjoy the work more, and clients are more engaged. I have found that while many may be risk adverse (at first), they are aware of their lack of risks. And excitement about risks is natural. Each individual responds differently as I work to engage the clients in healthy risk taking. Some like to be pushed off the high dive. Some like to start at the edge of the pool, then progress to the low dive, then progress to the medium dive and then jump off the visual high dive before actually diving in. Often times it is helping them get re-acquainted with their risk-taking side, and ensuring that we as therapist and parents are preparing them for the future, but not protecting them from failure. It wouldn’t be a risk, if there wasn’t a possibility of failure. When was the last time you took a risk? This article highlights the advantages to risk taking.