Families and how to survive them – robin skynner/john cleese. A random book picked up from my dad’s spare room bookshelf but fascinating nonetheless. Having recently read a John Cleese biography which mentioned his foray into group therapy it was interesting to read the book that came out of it. Rather than being biographical though ‘families’ is a simple to understand ‘conversation’ between Cleese and Skynner about how we develop psychologically as individuals within a family unit. From birth and our attachment to our mothers, through adolescence and rebellion we finally come to marriage and loving relationships – Skynner expresses his belief that all problems within family relationships are due to being ‘stuck’ at an earlier development stage, and the importance of understanding that yourself in order to move past the issue.
There are a lot of interesting perspectives in this book, different ways of looking at familiar family situations, and Cleese’s input is to make the whole affair highly readable – although not laughable (this is a serious book). Whether or not it’s a suitable replacement for a full tranche of psychiatric help is a decision you’ll have to make yourself, but this book will help you make that decision and perhaps let you see ways to make your own progress. I’m definately going to check out the ‘sequel’ and see how that reads.