A modern clinical analysis of music icons Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. The Faris' have written a modern clinical analysis, detailing a surprising coincidence about the lives of Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. They raise the answer the following questions: Why did they behave so outrageously? Why were they so self-destructive? What did they have in common? What could have helped them? What really killed them? Their work examines how Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin, the 'king and queen' of rock and roll, suffered from a little understood psychiatric disorder that eventually took their lives. To form the conclusions in their book, they carefully analyse the voluminous literature, films and other pertinent information about the two performing artists. At the same time, they develop the imaginary but revealing psychotherapy sessions with Janis and Jim. They have constructed the therapy sessions in a way that is both entertaining and sympathetic to help clarify the nature and complexity of this disorder. They provide those curious about Janis and Jim with a very provocative, plausible and dramatic account of their lives.
Of course, they had no direct opportunity to interview them, nor to provide them with therapy. In that sense, the therapy sessions are a kind of faux activity. But they have studied everything that was ever written about Janis and Jim and have developed an analysis that is highly probably and cogent. If their analysis is correct, and if we knew then what we know now about the disorder that took their lives, then the therapy sessions developed in their book are as close as possible to what they might have been, had they actually sought help from a psychoanalytically trained clinician. You may, however, find it difficult to categorise this book. It isn't a psychohistory of the two performers in the conventional sense of the genre, nor is it based on actual therapeutic encounters with them and of course it isn't a typical psychobiography. Nothing comparable exists in the literature. Focusing on the lives and deaths of these two controversial characters, the Faris' convincingly describe how their outrageous behaviours and self-destructive impulses were part of a complex and confusing condition known to clinicians as a "borderline personality disorder."
Through the intense, poignant, hypothetical psychotherapy sessions with each of them, the authors reveal the devastating and relentless nature of this disorder. The book is clinical in theme, lyrical and narrative in style and deeply sympathetic to the real suffering of Janis and Jim. This analysis differs from previously published materials that 'described' their outrageous behaviours, temperaments, moods and personalities, in that it provides an 'explanation' for the behaviours that led to their premature deaths. The psychotherapy sessions are perhaps the most captivating aspect of the book. By letting Janis and Jim "speak" through these sessions, the Faris' provide surprising insights about their outrageous behaviours and emotional turmoil. The drama and intensity of these exchanges between Janis and Jim and a modern, experienced clinician/therapist will captivate as much as they inform.
Gerald A. & Ralph M. Faris