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“We were also looking for a way to describe these relationships that was useful in a clinical sense, that practitioners could apply this. And we really felt that these three A’s works for that… that clinicians can take this and they can help adults who are struggling with sibling relationships understand that they can hold at the same time in the air the fact that they have a great deal of affection for a sibling and the sibling might have affection for them; but they can be ambivalent and ambiguous in having trouble understanding why a sibling does what they do or understanding who they are and what motivates them. So it’s almost giving people permission for their adult sibling relationships to be complicated.”

Dr. Geoffrey Greif &
Dr. Michael Woolley

When addressing the topic of family therapy, the focus is generally on children or adolescents and their parents, or the marital/partner dyad. This podcast, however, looks at a different family system: adult siblings. These relationships are generally the longest relationships we have, but little is known about them. In this episode, Drs. Geoffrey Greif and Michael Woolley discuss their research on and clinical implications for adult sibling relationships.

Geoffrey Greif, PhD, is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work where he has worked since 1984. He was associate dean from 1996 to 2007. He received his MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD from the Columbia University School of Social Work. He is the author of more than 125 journal articles and book chapters and twelve books including three that are co-edited. In 2001, he chaired Governor Parris Glendening’s Commission to study sexual orientation discrimination in Maryland. In 2011, Dr. Greif began co-leading a fathering group for federal detainees at the Chesapeake Detention Center in Baltimore. He is a member of various community-based boards, including the Open Society Institute Leadership Council and the Shriver Hall Concert Series, where he chairs the board. He also served on the Board of Social Work Examiners in Maryland and the board of WYPR, the local National Public Radio Station. His current research, teaching, and practice interests include child abduction, family therapy, parenting issues, adult friendships, and adult siblings. He has received several awards including the Educator of the Year award in 2007 from the Maryland Chapter of NASW and the University of Maryland Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010. He has appeared on numerous television and radio programs and his research has been cited in major news outlets throughout the world.​

Michael E. Woolley, PhD, MSW, DCSW, is an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and earned his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Woolley’s scholarship is focused on the use of research methods to inform and advance data-driven and evidenced-based policy, programming and practice in public school settings. Dr. Woolley has received numerous awards for his teaching and scholarship, for example he is a Fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research, received the Exemplary Faculty Award at the UM SSW in 2012, has received seven Dean’s Teaching awards at UM SSW, and was Doctoral Student of the Year at the UNC SSW in 2003. He has published dozens of articles and book chapters on both educational issues and clinical practice with children and families.

Interviewer: Jacqueline McGinley

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