There’s a limit to the notion of not wanting to grow up, much to the dismay of Peter Pan.
More young men and young women today are struggling to achieve age-appropriate milestones, which gets them labeled as “failure to launch.” They battle anxiety and depression, and some of them abuse substances to cope, which can lead to addiction.
Janice Gabe, a licensed clinical social worker, speaker and author, specializes in addressing these issues for teens and young adults. She delivered the keynote speech at the second Rosecrance Forum, held Nov. 4 at Rockford County Club.
The Forum was developed in 2014 to educate the community about Rosecrance’s work and keep people informed about significant trends in behavioral health care.
Wednesday’s event was a coming home of sorts for Gabe, who worked for Rosecrance for about seven years starting in 1979, first as a therapist and later as clinical director. She went on to work for other treatment centers and in 1988 founded New Perspectives of Indiana, an innovative, comprehensive and multidisciplinary outpatient therapy practice for adolescents, children and families in Indianapolis.
Gabe’s presentation was titled, “Peter Pan is Alive and Well and Living in His Parents’ Basement.” She emphasized the importance of helping young people learn to trust themselves and make their own decisions, as well as involving parents and families in promoting those changes.
“Our kids are moving into adulthood with no confidence in themselves, no sense of competence in their world,” Gabe said. “They feel like their successes don’t belong to them (but instead) belong to other people because we don’t allow them to kind of muddle through, make some mistakes and figure some of this stuff out. The core of the avoidant young adult is that they do not trust themselves.”
Rosecrance started recognizing this trend about a decade ago, President/CEO Philip Eaton noted during the Forum. Specific programming has been developed for young adults and their families to enhance opportunities for lasting recovery. Rosecrance also recently received zoning approval for a new recovery residence for young adults in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago.
“With heroin on the scene, many families realize that reaching out for help is a life or death decision,” Eaton said. “The goal in all of our programs is, of course, to help these young people get back on track and achieve their life potential. The great news is that treatment works.”
After Wednesday’s Forum, Gabe did a training session for 123 Rosecrance employees at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford. “The Avoidant Young Adult” presentation delved deeper into effective treatments for that population.