The Launching Emerging Adults Program: A Developmental and Family Based Model for Treating Anxiety in the Transition to Adulthood




Presenter:  Dr. Anne Marie Albano

Overview: Anxiety disorders (ADs) are the most common diagnosis among young adults (YAs; Auerbach et al., 2016) and leads to extended dependence on family, with early and continued parental overprotection noted for its role in the maintenance of these disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy and medication, alone or in combination, are effective in the short term (Walkup, Albano et al., 2008) but show relapse rates of around 50% at long-term follow-up (Ginsburg et al., 2014). Environmental conditions present throughout the conditioning of the anxiety responses as well as neuro-developmental limitations in ability to regulate emotion in adolescence (Drysdale et al, 2014) may explain relapse. To address this, CUCARD has established a treatment model that targets parental over involvement and youth failure to launch into independent adulthood. The Launching Emerging Adults Program (LEAP) is an integrated, developmentally informed treatment aimed at both symptom relief and maximizing functional outcomes (Albano & Hoffman, 2017). In this presentation, Dr. Albano, presents the LEAP model and provides specific guidelines for engaging parents and adolescents or young adults together, via individualized and group treatment sessions, to address key overprotection traps while increasing the adolescent/young adult’s exposure to anxiety-provoking situations. Dr. Albano will also discuss the practice of conducting exposures in group to capitalize on experiential learning in context and discuss innovations with a novel Virtual Reality program


  1. List the tasks of development necessary for adolescents and young adults to transition to adulthood.
  2. Recognize the complex interaction of parental involvement in anxiety and stalled developmental tasks that contributes to the failure to launch to adulthood.
  3. Develop exposures that make use of context and address developmental stage issues to increase ecological validity and promote mastery of anxiety for youth.