BiographyIt is most pleasing that the synergy of practitioner, administrator, author and editor are reflected in two of my key professional roles. 2017 marked my 40th year as a social worker with North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, the leading children's mental health center on Long Island, New York. I've been the CEO of this 65-year-old community-based nonprofit organization since 2007. I've also proudly served as editor of the quarterly professional journal Social Work with Groups since 1990.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
An area that I have paid special attention to and have written and taught extensively about is social work with groups and, particularly with adolescents. My textbook, Group Work with Adolescents: Principles and Practice, first published in 1997, is now in its 3rd edition and used widely in universities across the United States and Canada. As Editor-in-Chief of Social Work with Groups, a journal of community and clinical practice, I've been able to promote group work practice and scholarship event more widely.
Although I never saw it coming during my early years, nor did I think I had the skill or talent, writing has become a special interest of mine. In addition to my professional publications, I write a monthly newspaper column entitled Parenthood Plus and have written two books of poetry. I've written brief commentary on a number of contemporary issues. Social media is a new forum for writing that I enjoy. I am a lifetime fan of independent film. Although I'm not an exercise fanatic, I like to stay fit and I especially taking long or shorter walks in new places.
Published: Jan 08, 2018 by North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center
Authors: Andrew Malekoff, Elissa Giffords and Sari Skolnik Basulto
An Initial Study about Access to Mental Health/Addictions Care A project of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center
By: Andrew Malekoff
Subjects: Adolescent Studies, Health Psychology, Psychology, Social Psychology, Social Work
Editorial Reviews of Group Work with Adolescents: Principles and Practice (2017), now in its 3rd edition, New York: Guilford Press
Journal of Child and Family Studies
"Practitioners who do group work with troubled adolescents will find Andrew Malekoff's book an excellent introduction to this sometimes intimidating population, particularly for the inexperienced...Malekoff offers wisdom that is most often not taught in academia but can only come with experience."--Journal of Child and Family Studies (on the first edition)
Journal of Child and Adolescent Group Therapy
"This book is written in a lively style with many examples and quotations....This is a readable and practical book which can be helpful to all those who work with adolescents in groups."--Journal of Child and Adolescent Group Therapy (on the first edition)
Child and Adolescent Social Work
"Thoughtful, thorough, sensitive, and compelling....This reviewer experiences Andrew Malekoff as an excellent writer, whose ability to capture and describe the various rhythms, cycles, stages, themes, and dynamics of the group experience is truly awesome....I wholeheartedly recommend this wonderful and inspiring book to anyone who works with adolescents in groups."--Child and Adolescent Social Work (on the first edition)
Journal of Clinical Child Psychology
"With honesty, enthusiasm, and genuine concern for his clients, Malekoff shares years of experience and expertise. His very detailed book is truly a teaching tool....For the clinician who wishes to learn the secrets of successful process-oriented group therapy...this book will immerse one in the real world of treating high-risk adolescents....For the clinician who seriously plans to work with adolescents in a group setting...this book is a must."--Journal of Clinical Child Psychology (on the first edition)
Social Work Journal
"Malekoff shows a deep understanding of the issues and concerns of adolescents and expresses this to the reader in a humorous, warm, sensitive, and delightful manner....This book shows the skillful use of the group work method….It would be excellent material for use in the classroom."--Social Work (on the first edition)
Journal of Teaching in Social Work
"Malekoff's command of social group work practice shows at every turn in his presentation of skills in use. Each intervention is well rationalized....Practice examples are plentiful and well chosen to fit, exactly, with the practice approach being espoused....What makes this book so important, so timely, and so appropriate is that Malekoff is able to translate his immense proficiency at social group work with adolescents into a text that is readable, sound, and authentic."--Journal of Teaching in Social Work (on the first edition)
Families in Society
"A gift for any who want to form groups with adolescents and develop a problem-solving atmosphere--through the use of talk and activities--to deal with such issues as sexuality, substance use and abuse, violence, and prejudice....Group Work with Adolescents has to be considered as among the small number of great social work texts."--Families in Society (on the first edition)
International Journal of Group Psychotherapy
"This book is useful for beginning and advanced practitioners alike....It conveys enough of the 'how-tos' to introduce clinicians to the field. On the other hand, it is refreshing for the mature clinician seeking new inspiration when working with the adolescent population. It is eclectic in its orientation, dynamic in its approach, and very humanitarian in its orientation to the adolescent population that is described."--International Journal of Group Psychotherapy (on the first edition)
Residential Treatment for Children and Youth
"The reader is introduced to a broad range of concepts and strategies for effectively engaging adolescents in group therapy across a variety of settings. Through illustrative examples, vignettes, narrations, and literary and poetic quotations, Malekoff skillfully brings to life the critical issues and methodology of successful group practice....[This] is a comprehensive resource for clinicians at all levels of experience. This text can serve as an excellent refresher for 'seasoned' professionals, as well as a teaching tool for the novice clinician."--Residential Treatment for Children and Youth (on the first edition)
American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry Newsletter
"A standard text for teaching about group therapy with adolescents....There are many clinical examples. The book is extremely well written and fun to read."--American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry Newsletter (on the second edition)
Professsor Ron Toseland, University of
"This book is a leading resource for anyone working with adolescents in groups. I have used the second edition in the classroom as a supplemental text. Providing comprehensive coverage of important clinical issues, with illustrative practice examples drawn from the author's in-depth experience, the book is really helpful for students preparing to practice in this area."--Ronald W. Toseland, MSW, PhD, School of Social Welfare, University at Albany, State University of New York
Ariel Allena Botta, Director of Group Psychotherapy, Boston Children’s Hospital
"Writing with eloquence, artistry and heart, Malekoff takes the mystique out of group work. This is the best book I have read about how to engage and build trusting relationships with adolescents. The third edition masterfully describes how to integrate mindfulness into group work, among other new topics. It is perfect for new practitioners and will rekindle the creativity of those with extensive experience. Malekoff brings practice to life in this book."--Ariel Allena Botta, MSW, LICSW, Director of Group Psychotherapy, Department of Psychiatry, Boston Children's Hospital
Professor Shirley Simon, Loyola University Chicago
"Readable, engaging, and thoroughly grounded in theory and experience, this clear, practical text is presented in a straightforward yet thought-provoking manner. Group Work with Adolescents is one of those rare texts that students will enjoy reading! The third edition contains important contemporary content on adolescent brain development, the use of newer group work interventions such as mindfulness and animal-assisted therapy, and the important role of social media in the life of today's adolescent."--Shirley R. Simon, MSW, LCSW, School of Social Work, Loyola University Chicago
Professor Christopher Kowalski, University of Northern Iowa
"I currently use Group Work with Adolescents in my undergraduate as well as graduate-level classes that address planning strategies, growth and development, and programming when working with youth. Malekoff does a wonderful job of synthesizing the goals of youth workers with the uniqueness of adolescent life. He has developed ideas and concepts that students who have graduated from our program use in their daily work."--Christopher Kowalski, EdD, Division of Leisure, Youth, and Human Services, University of Northern Iowa
Professor Flavio Marsiglia, Arizona State University
"A very welcome addition to the literature. Malekoff identifies the assets and challenges that young people experience in contemporary society and offers group work as a current and apt approach to address them. Groups are justly presented as safe spaces for adolescents to celebrate cultural diversity in all its forms--in terms of sexual orientation, ability status, gender, and race and ethnicity--and to become engaged in their own healing and the transformation of their environments. The third edition comes alive through up-to-date research findings, discussions of alternative group modalities, and new case studies. The content is fresh and highly relevant for practitioners and students."--Flavio F. Marsiglia, PhD, Distinguished Foundation Professor of Cultural Diversity and Health, School of Social Work, Arizona State University
By: Andrew Malekoff
Subjects: Adolescent Studies, Education, Health Psychology, Psychology, Social Psychology, Social Work
REVIEW OF GROUP WORK STORIES CELEBRATING DIVERSITY (2018), NEW YORK: ROUTLEDGE, 199 PP.
These are, arguably, polarizing times in the world, specifically in our collective responses to diversity, inclusiveness and equality. We quite possibly may have lost sight of the strength of human difference as a unifying force, rather than a dividing one. As I have spent the last six months of a sabbatical writing about the joys and complexities of teaching about diversity, specifically ways of understanding myself as I teach race-related subjects, Group work stories celebrating diversity, with its open-hearted, honest first-person essays, offered me a glimpse of optimism that I badly needed. With its accessible style, Group work stories celebrating diversity, a special 40th anniversary issue of Social Work with Groups, is a thoughtful, instructional volume that may spark necessary conversations among teachers and group workers to the beauty and struggles of diversity, in all meanings of the word. I was moved by the intimate nature of the often tender stories of genuine human efforts to understand, make meaning, and help others navigate difference, while trying to be thoughtful and proactive contributors to social justice work.
Group work stories celebrating diversity includes 31 entries, written by an impressively broad cadre of contributors, including several student voices, is organized into seven sections: From the Inside-Out; Growing Up; Aging; From Medical Model to Social Model; Language; In the Classroom; Searching for Meaning and More. Pithy quotes announce the opening of each section. For example, From the Inside-Out, which includes essays generally on the humility of self-awareness (Mark Doel’s “Small acts are often not that small” and Joshua L. Miller’s “Hope and Sorrow” are two bright examples) begins with these words from Lao Tzu: “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
The section, Growing Up explores the chronology of learning as one comes of age and matures. (Notable examples are Andrew J. Peters “Group work with gay male teens at the time of 911 and Carol Irizarry’s “The Watusi girls: A legacy of inspiration”) opens with these words from Ta-Nehisi Coates: “I did not know then that this is what life is-just when you master the geometry of one world, it slips away, and suddenly again, you’re swarmed by strange shaped and impossible angles.”
As a whole, the 31 essays illuminate powerful, timely, relevant and often nuanced diversity themes, for example, empathy, self-awareness and self-understanding, questioning prior assumptions about the world, belonging, connection, and an ongoing search for meaning. As a teacher, I recognized in particular the essays that emphasized critical thinking around diversity, specifically the power and challenges of learning about diversity, as a teacher, student, group leader, or group member.
One of the outstanding aspects of this book is the international perspective, which likely rooted in part to the broad membership of the International Association of Social Work with Groups (IASWG) and among readers of Social Work with Groups. This emerged as a striking departure from the black/white dichotomy of US conversations about diversity and reminded me of the importance of taking a broad and expansive view of diversity in our consideration of human lives and experiences. Among the contributors are East Coast social work professors, faculty from Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, social work students and faculty from all over including South Africa, Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, China, UK, and Brooklyn.
On the first page of the first essay (Norissa J. Williams “When the trainer got trained: Seven things I learned about delivering diversity trainings”), the word “awakening” appears. Written in the context of “my diversity awakening” Williams’s word choice punctuates many of the book’s main ideas. Further on, Williams’ words again illuminate for readers the tension that exists in the world of learning about diversity:
Often faced with feeling, ‘other’ because of my ethnicity, my race, my socioeconomic status as a divorced, single mother in academia—I’ve been able to look at America’s institutions with a critical eye, seeing opportunities for growth as it pertains to inclusion and diversity (p. 4).
Another theme, although hardly new in group work or to group workers, is the sometimes uncomfortable but essential process of learning about oneself and becoming consciously aware of one’s assumptions, positions, perceptions, etc. For example, Jennifer A. Clements’ (“Invisible people don’t need masks”) writes openly about aspects of herself:
It is all over the media, and you cannot avoid it. It is not the city [Baltimore] we know and love, yet it is the city we know in so many other ways…I can’t really know them or their story because I am not Black. I am a white social worker reeking of privilege that the boys in my group will likely never know… (p. 18).
That the work of honestly understanding different cultures as a quest both current and historical is poignantly underscored in several of the essays. For example, Amy Nitza’s “To a classroom in Botswana (and Back) in search of cultural understanding” includes these words from E.T. Hall (1959): “Culture hides much more than it reveals and strangely enough, what it hides, it hides most effectively from its participants. Years of study have convinced me that the real job is not to understand foreign cultures, but to understand our own” (p. 28). These words from nearly 60 years ago could have been written yesterday or last month or even tomorrow.
Several essays were especially thought-provoking and relevant for readers in the academe. For example, Destinee Miguest (“Being black in a higher learning institution”) with a clarity of purpose writes:
“This narrative portrays my experience as an African American woman in a predominately white institution in which I feel diversity and inclusion are not sufficiently addressed or understood. I wrote this to encourage others who are part of minority groups to continue to find their voices in the complex world” (p.113).
Relatedly, Olufunke Oba’s (“Until the animals get their own story teller, the hunter remains the hero of all tales”) writes with unflinching candor: “The academy seeks diversity but doesn’t seem prepared for it...The academy delegitimizes experiential knowledge garnered from the school of life” (pp.118-119). In their essay, “Women faculty of color in a predominately white institution: A natural support group,” Edna W. Comer, Catherine K. Medina, Lirio K. Negroni, and Rebecca L. Thomas, show the vitality and value of a peer support group:
Although we are privileged to be working in higher education, we are baffled by the inequalities we must endure to survive and be successful… We became family to each other, chosen family (p. 148).
Another standout is George W. Turner, Michael D. Pelts and Michelle G. Thompson’s essay on their experiences as first-generation scholars. With its welcoming, revelatory language and its focus on an underrepresented student group, this essay works well as a separate article to share with new faculty: They write:
I reminisced that leaving for college was embarking on a journey that carried me away from my family, not only geographically but away from my place in the family. I was abandoning them semester by semester as my formal education and life exposure widening a profound yet unseen gap between them and me. It seems like my family, straddling between pride and apprehension, saw me as occupying some foreign new place (p. 170).
My years teaching diversity subjects in social work and thinking deeply about these topics have confirmed for me what I have often thought as the core of diversity work, that we learn about each other through conversations about every day, ordinary topics: holidays, family, loves, favorite foods, politics, sports, poetry. Small, intimate conversations beginning with openness and wonder encourage learning about another person or another group or culture. Group work stories celebrating diversity is an example of the power of words to invigorate, teach, soothe, and validate. As Melissa Eaton writes in “Come as you are! Creating community with groups” : “My group’s care for each other gives me hope in humanity” (p. 92).
This book offers me hope in humanity.
Shantih E. Clemans, SUNY Empire State College, Brooklyn, NY
Published: Jan 08, 2018
This is a 2:00 minute video that, although promotional, speaks to the importance of the physical space that children's mental health services are provided in. Let the Light In is a campaign for capital improvements and a metaphor that addresses eradicating stigma.