Jerry Lewis is a psychiatrist who has devoted the better part of his career to studying families and promoting a consideration of families in mental health practice. He has written this book, a series of 40 brief essays, for the lay reader. These essays are the reflections of a professional who has experience in caring for patients, conducting research, and teaching medical students and house officers. Dr Lewis attempts to present ideas and information about how relationships are associated with adjustment and well-being or hardships.
In the Epilogue, Dr Lewis notes that publishers warned him that the lay readership wants answers and certainty. In his essays, he presents possibilities, several possible contributing factors to the conditions that are being described, balancing biological and classical psychodynamic concerns with the interpersonal angle.
In the first half of the book, different aspects of self-description, or self-knowledge, are described. For example, Dr Lewis presents