Szalavitz, Maia

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Szalavitz, Maia

ADDRESSES:

Home—New York, NY. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Journalist. Public Broadcasting Service, associate producer and segment producer for Charlie Rose talk show, series researcher and associate producer for Moyers on Addiction: Close to Home; Statistical Assessment Service, Washington, DC, senior fellow.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Drug Policy Alliance, Edward M. Brecher Award, 2005, for achievement in journalism; American Psychological Association, Division 50 Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Understanding of Addictions, 2004.

WRITINGS:

(With Joseph Volpicelli) Recovery Options: The Complete Guide, Wiley (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Bruce D. Perry) The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us about Loss, Love, and Healing, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids, Riverhead (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to numerous periodicals, including Huffington Post, Washington Post, Newsday, New York Magazine, New Scientist, Newsweek, Elle, Salon.com, Redbook, O: The Oprah Magazine, New York Daily News, Village Voice, Brill's Content, Cerebrum, and the New York Times.

SIDELIGHTS:

Maia Szalavitz is a journalist with experience behind the camera in the medium of television. Szalavitz has worked on documentaries, including as a segment producer with the American Broadcasting Companies (ABC) for a Barbara Walters special on AIDS. She also worked with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) a number of times. With PBS she was an associate producer and segment producer for the Charlie Rose talk show. She served as a series researcher and associate producer for the Moyers on Addiction: Close to Home documentary as well.

As a journalist Szalavitz works with the Statistical Assessment Service, or STATS, in Washington, DC, as a senior fellow. STATS is a media watchdog group that investigates media coverage of science and statistics. Szalavitz is a contributor to numerous periodicals, including the Huffington Post, Washington Post, Newsday, New York Magazine, New Scientist, Newsweek, Elle, Salon.com, Redbook, O: The Oprah Magazine, New York Daily News, Village Voice, Brill's Content, Cerebrum, and the New York Times. In 2005 she won the Edward M. Brecher Award from the Drug Policy Alliance for high achievement in journalism. She has been interviewed on various national television programs, including on Oprah, Cable News Network (CNN), MSNBC's News with Brian Williams, and National Public Radio (NPR).

In 2000 Szalavitz published Recovery Options: The Complete Guide. Written with the physician and psychologist Joseph Volpicelli, Recovery Options gives information for struggling and recovering addicts of all sorts. Readers can find advice on how to choose a counselor, type of treatment, or self-help group. Steps of recovery are also outlined with an emphasis on the progress through accomplished steps as opposed to how much further there is to go. Reviews for the book were quite positive. Booklist contributor William Beatty stated that "this is realistic, open-minded, and humane guidance for dealing with addiction." Beatty was impressed with Volpicelli's "considerable experience" helping addicts recover. Paula N. Arnold, writing in Library Journal, noticed the book's "handy tips" and useful information. Arnold concluded that Szalavitz's unique role in the book "lends an experiential voice that makes this book even more empathetic."

With Dr. Bruce D. Perry, Szalavitz wrote The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us about Loss, Love, and Healing, published in 2006. The pair discuss how emotional abuse can chemically alter a child's brain development, creating occasionally troubling consequences into adulthood. Reviews were mostly positive. A contributor to Publishers Weekly found the stories to be "beautifully written, fascinating accounts." The same contributor commented that "the stories exhibit compassion, understanding, and hope as Perry paints detailed, humane pictures of patients" and their traumatic experiences. E. James Lieberman, writing in Library Journal, described the book as "readable, informative about the workings of language, memory, trust, and choice, and ultimately optimistic." Peter Zama, writing on the Three Rivers Adoption Council Web site, concluded that "overall, this book should be required reading for therapists, for parents, for those subjected to trauma in the past, and for human beings at large."

Szalavitz also published Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids in 2006. She investigated the industry of teen counseling and rehabilitation clinics. Using firsthand accounts and research evidence, she outlines some dangers at the centers and their overall lack of success. Reviews were mostly positive. Library Journal contributor Linda Beck called the book "excellent" in that it "exposes an unregulated industry and alerts adults to the severe harm inflicted by these ‘schools.’" Booklist contributor Vanessa Bush concluded that Help at Any Cost "is a revealing, at times horrifying, look at the troubled-teen industry."

Szalavitz told CA: "I've wanted to write for as long as I can remember, but I have also always been drawn to science. So writing about science was a way to encompass both of these interests. After I became addicted to cocaine and then heroin in my late teens and early twenties, I was astonished to discover that while I had picked up many ‘drug myths’ on the street, most of what I'd been taught in school and rehab was also inaccurate. Investigating why misinformation about drugs and addiction was so prevalent gave me an education in both skepticism and basic statistics, which I have drawn upon in much of my work. I hope that my writing will inform, inspire, and outrage people enough to demand more effective and compassionate treatments and policies for people with addictions and ‘troubled teens.’"

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 1, 2000, William Beatty, review of Recovery Options: The Complete Guide, p. 1632; February 15, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids, p. 27; January 1, 2007, Donna Chavez, review of The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us about Loss, Love, and Healing, p. 25.

Library Journal, June 1, 2000, Paula N. Arnold, review of Recovery Options, p. 172; March 1, 2006, Linda Beck, review of Help at Any Cost, p. 107; January 1, 2007, E. James Lieberman, review of The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook, p. 128.

Publishers Weekly, January 2, 2006, review of Help at Any Cost, p. 51; October 16, 2006, review of The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook, p. 44.

Science News, February 17, 2007, review of The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook, p. 111.

Union-Tribune (San Diego, CA), February 19, 2006, Mark Sauer, review of Help at Any Cost.

ONLINE

Help at Any Cost Web site,http://www.helpatanycost.com (December 15, 2007), author profile.

Huffington Post,http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ (December 15, 2007), author profile.

International Cultic Studies Association Web site,http://www.icsahome.com/ (December 15, 2007), Doni Whitsett, author profile and review of The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook.

Statistical Assessment Service Web site,http://www.stats.org/ (December 15, 2007), author profile.

Three Rivers Adoption Council Web site,http://www.3riversadopt.org/ (December 15, 2007), Peter Zama, review of The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook.