Tomorrow evening (October 8 at 7 pm Pacific Time) Cathy McNally and I are presenting a free webinar that uses the Johari Window as a frame for thinking about Living Alive Phase I, which we are leading together at The Haven in November.
The Johari Window has been around for 60 years1 and is pretty well known. Perhaps you have come across it before. Cathy and I view it as an energy model.
In the diagram below, you can think of the Open area (what you know about yourself and others know too) as free, available energy. The red box that overlies the diagram shows that this area can both expand and contract. Often we tie up or restrict our energy in working hard to control what others know about us (that is in keeping aspects of ourselves Hidden). We also tie up our energy by controlling what information we are willing to take in from others and what areas of ourselves we are willing to look at (that is, there are areas we are Blind to).
This constriction of energy can have all sorts of consequences, including illness, depression, addiction, loneliness and all sorts of difficulties in relationships.
The model suggests ways that we can if we want expand the Open quadrant, by asking for and receiving feedback (thus reducing the Blind area), and by self-disclosure and giving feedback (in order to reduce the Hidden area).
By the same process we can tap into the Potential area of the window – aspects of ourselves that were previously unknown to both ourselves and others.
Living Alive Phase I offers fantastic opportunities to practice this. The program focuses on self-awareness, but very much in the context of relating with others. It’s an intensive course in what we describe as “self-responsible relational living.”
This can be quite the ride – sometimes thrilling, sometimes uncomfortable – and the rewards are great! Expanding the energetically Open area in the model frees up our energy to respond to the circumstances of our lives. People discover new ways through the painful consequences of energetic constriction – becoming healthier, happier and more effective – and create better relationships with their friends, partners, and families, at work and in their communities. For me, participating in Living Alive Phase I 15 years ago was a turning point in my life, and leading it now is an exciting privilege.
- It was created by two American psychologists, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham, in 1955. The name Johari comes from combining their names, Joe and Harry. ↩