SURVIVING FAMILY LIFE: The Seven Crises of Living Together by Sonya with Josleen Wilson Rhodes

SURVIVING FAMILY LIFE: The Seven Crises of Living Together

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KIRKUS REVIEW

How ""recycled family problems""--issues unresolved by preceding generations--dog the course of family life and erupt in particular at crisis points. Blending the perspective of orthodox family therapy with the work of life-cycle theorists, Rhodes--a psychoanalyst and family therapist--posits seven stages of family life from early marriage (when partners face the choice between games and intimacy) through the natural progressions of parenthood (the birth of children, identities beyond the family, the storm of adolescence) to the empty nest and the three-generation household (ideally, bonds without bondage). It is at times of transition or change--here termed crisis--that, in her construct, past problems are most likely to recur. Other family therapy concepts--like enmeshed/disengaged family life styles, complementarity, and the triple threats of sex, dependency, and power--also provide insights into a range of family relationships. These are sometimes described in short-story detail, sometimes revealed in brief paragraphs. Warning signals and hazardous patterns are set out too--from the obvious (affairs) to the subtle (""we never fight"" or ""we always fight""). A grim reminder of what may happen when patterns are established early and danger signals are ignored are the case studies of teenage paranoia and prostitution here. In the aggregate, useful insights for a lay audience--without, however, the intellectual pith of Lily Pincus and Christopher Dare's Secrets in the Family (1978).

Pub Date: March 30th, 1981
Publisher: Putnam