Introduction The Johari Window is a psychological tool developed in 1955 by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham to help people better understand their interpersonal relationships, communication, and self-awareness. The model is represented by a four-quadrant grid that represents different aspects of personal knowledge: what is known to the individual, what is known to others, and what remains unknown.
This may be a helpful tool to begin to open up to others in your counseling, coaching or support groups to give others insights into your ‘true self’. You may have been hiding insecurities, fears, shameful acts from the past, terrible tragedies or abuse, or there may be growth areas that others may want to share. You also may have lifelong dreams to be a singer, dancer, actor, writer or adventurer. Use the Johari window to share your true self with others. It is one way to begin to build intimacy and take emotional risks, and to feel a real sense of being seen.
In the movie “Avatar”, the couple who were falling in love said “I see you” to share their deepest love for one another. Let others know the full you, so they too can see you.
The four quadrants are: Open Area (Arena): This quadrant represents information, feelings, and behaviors that are known to both the individual and others. The open area is the space where effective communication and collaboration occur, as it consists of shared knowledge and mutual understanding. Example: A person's name, job, and hobbies are known to both the individual and their colleagues, making this information part of the open area. Hidden Area (Facade): This quadrant contains information, feelings, and behaviors that the individual is aware of, but others are not. People may choose to keep certain aspects of themselves hidden due to fear of rejection, embarrassment, or vulnerability.
Example: A person may be struggling with feelings of insecurity about their job performance but chooses not to disclose this to their colleagues. This information would be in the hidden area. Blind Area (Blind Spot): This quadrant consists of information, feelings, and behaviors that the individual is unaware of, but others can see. Feedback from others can help reduce the blind area and increase self-awareness. Example: A person may have a habit of interrupting others during conversations without realizing it. Their colleagues notice this behavior, placing it in the blind area. Unknown Area: This quadrant represents information, feelings, and behaviors that are unknown to both the individual and others. The unknown area may contain hidden talents, undiscovered potential, or repressed feelings and experiences. Example: A person may have a natural talent for painting but has never tried it, so neither they nor their colleagues are aware of this potential skill, placing it in the unknown area. The Johari Window can be used to improve self-awareness and communication by encouraging individuals to disclose more about themselves (expanding the open area) and seeking feedback from others (reducing the blind area). As people share more about themselves and receive feedback, they develop a better understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth, ultimately enhancing their interpersonal relationships and communication. Application Fill out the template on the following page and use the appropriate steps below to fill out your own Johari Window template.
Self-Reflection: Reflect on what you know about yourself and what others know about you. This information can be written in the Open and Hidden areas of your window. This may include your behaviors, competencies, experiences, attitudes, skills, and more.
Feedback from Others: Request honest and constructive feedback from people you trust. They can provide insights about you that you may not be aware of. Place this information in the Blind area of your window.
Expand Your Open Area: The aim of using the Johari Window is to expand your Open Area by reducing your Blind and Hidden Areas. This can be achieved by soliciting feedback and sharing information about yourself.
Exploring the Unknown Area: The Unknown Area represents aspects of ourselves that neither we nor others are aware of. These could be unrealized abilities or talents, suppressed experiences, or subconscious issues. Exploration of this area generally requires more in-depth self-discovery, perhaps through therapy, meditation, personal challenges, or intense experiences.
Remember, the Johari Window is not static. As you grow and change, your window will also change. It's a good practice to revisit and revise your window from time to time. This tool can help you improve self-awareness and interpersonal relationships, and achieve better communication.