I'd be happy to elaborate. In my opinion, a wading staff should be used to add safety and security to your wading not as a crutch to help you go beyond your normal abilities. Use it to check depth and add safety when wading slippery, uneven bottoms. Stability when wading is determined by the amount of weight you have above the water line. To use a staff to wade into deeper water then you would normally be able to wade into is putting the angler (and potential rescuers) at risk.
I let the young, bold waders try to reach those few fish I can't safely get too. Why risk a dangerous situation trying too reach every fish in the river? Too use a staff to cross the line between safety and high risk is, in my opinion, using a staff improperly.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a wuss on the river, but as you indicated in your message, you have to avoid crossing that line into high risk. Learning to use a staff properly is more then just picking up a stick and walking into the water. It's too easy to get a false sense of security and end up in a dangerous, life threatening situation.
I rate a wading staff as the second most important safety item to have with you when you wade. (Polaroid glasses are number one).
That's just one man's opinion.