Johari Window Model Overview

Table of Content

The Johari Window model a simple and useful tool for understanding and training self awareness, personal development, improving communications, interpersonal relationships etc

The model Also referred to as a ‘disclosure/feedback model of self awareness’, and an ‘Information processing tool’ represents information – feelings, experience, views, attitudes, skills, intentions, motivation, etc – within or about a client- in relation to their live with others, from four perspectives.

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The unknown area could also include repressed or subconscious feelings rooted in formative events and traumatic past experiences, which can stay unknown for a lifetime if not discovered. So a good understanding of the Johari window and how to use a counselor can help a client open up and share some information that will help the client during the counseling process

A counselor can make very good use of this tool by creating an environment that encourages self-discovery, and to promote the processes of self discovery, constructive observation with a client since it’s a communication model that is used to improve understanding.

What is Johari window and its origin?
Developed by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in the 1950’s, calling it ‘Johari’ after combining their first names, Joe and Harry Especially relevant due to emphasis on, and influence of, ‘soft’ skills, behaviour, empathy, cooperation, and interpersonal development

The four Johari Window perspectives Called ‘regions’ or ‘areas’ or ‘quadrants’. Each contains and represents the information – feelings, motivation, etc – in terms of whether the information is known or unknown by the person, and whether the information is known or unknown by others.

The Johari Window is shown as a four-quadrant grid, which you can see in the diagram below.

Explaining the Johari Window
Johari quadrant 1
Open area, open self, free area, free self, or ‘the arena’: what is known by the client about him/herself and is also known by others ,Also known as the ‘area of free activity ‘Information about the client- behaviour, attitude, feelings, emotion, knowledge, experience, skills, views, etc

The aim by any counselor is to develop the ‘open area’ for the client, because when we work in this area with others we are at our most effective and productive and the counselor is at its most productive too

The open free area, or ‘the arena‘- the space where good communications and cooperation occur, free from distractions, mistrust, confusion, conflict and misunderstanding

The size of the open area can also be expanded vertically downwards into the hidden or avoided space by the person’s disclosure of information, feelings, etc about him/herself to the counselor.

The counselor can help a client expand their open area into the hidden area by asking the client about him/herself? Increasing open area through feedback solicitation increasing the open area, by reduction of the blind area, by asking for and then receiving feedback

Can also be developed through the process of disclosure, which reduces the hidden area The unknown area can be reduced in different ways: by others’ observation (which Increases the blind area); by self-discovery (which increases the hidden area), or by mutual Enlightenment – via discussion -which increases the open area as the unknown area reduces

Johari quadrant 2
Blind area, ‘Blind self’ or ‘blind area’ or ‘blind spot‘: what is known about the client by others in but is unknown by the client him/herself Could also be referred to as ignorance about oneself, or issues in which one is deluded Not an effective or productive space for individuals or groups

Also include issues that others are deliberately withholding from a person The aim of the Counselor is to reduce this area by giving feedback or seeking, soliciting feedback from others and thereby to increase the open area, i.e., to increase self-awareness

Counselor take responsibility for reducing the blind area – in turn increasing the open area – by giving sensitive feedback and encouraging disclosure of non-judgmental feedback, and group response to individual disclosure, and reduce fear

Johari quadrant 3
Hidden area, hidden self, avoided area, avoided self or ‘facade’: what the client knows about him/herself that others do not know

What is known to ourselves but kept hidden, and therefore unknown to others Represents information, feelings, etc, anything that a client knows about him/self, but which is not revealed or is kept hidden from others Also include sensitivities, fears, hidden agendas, manipulative intentions, secrets – anything that a client knows but does not reveal.

The counselor move this into the open area through the process of ‘self-disclosure’ and ‘exposure process by creating an atmosphere that will help the client to disclose their hidden selves since it can help in understanding the clients personal feelings and information making the counseling process easy.

Johari quadrant 4
4. ‘Unknown self‘, ‘area of unknown activity‘, ‘unknown area ‘Information, feelings, latent abilities, aptitudes, experiences etc, that are unknown to the client him/herself and unknown to others. Can be prompted through self-discovery or observation by others, or through collective or mutual discovery Counseling can also uncover unknown issues Again as with
disclosure and soliciting feedback, the process of self discovery is a sensitive one Using Self-Discovery and Communication to Build Trust

The Johari Window ‘panes ‘Show each quadrant the same size Can be changed in size to reflect the relevant proportions of each type of ‘knowledge’ of/about a particular client in a given counseling situation The Johari Window improves communication and trust.

Most of us realize that people rely on trust in order to function productively; a counselor can help a client on how to go about building that trust? The Johari Window is a model that helps a client do this, and it helps you learn important things about yourself, and so develop as a human being. There are two key ideas behind the tool:

1. That you can build trust with others by disclosing information about yourself. 2. That, with the help of feedback from others, you can learn about yourself and come to terms with personal issues. By explaining the idea of the Johari Window, you can help client understand the value of self-disclosure, and you can encourage them to give, and accept, constructive feedback. Done sensitively, this can help people build better, more trusting relationships with one another, solve issues, and work more effectively. Discover your Weaknesses and Growth areas with the Johari Window Model There’s a saying that paraphrases the Johari Window Model:

“If one person calls you a horse, ignore them. If 3 people call you a horse, look in the mirror. If 5 people call you a horse, buy a saddle.” It just means if there are enough people telling you something, you may want to listen to them. Doesn’t mean they are ‘correct’, it’s just they have a reason for thinking that way. Within the unknown window lie your hidden abilities or skills. This is the area where you have the opportunity to explore new things. Since they are unknown, there’s usually less pressure on you to “try” the things in this window. On the other hand, within the unknown lies repressed feelings, unknown fears, behaviors conditioned since you were a child. It all depends on what you wish to analyze and the end goal you wish to achieve through such analysis.

The Johari Window Model a useful tool in self analysis: after all, you cannot consciously change what you don’t know. The key is to be open to the feedback other people are giving you. Everybody knows at least somebody that has some glaring blind spots and just won’t listen. This model can be applied to just about any area where there are more than 1 person (business, family, etc). You could use this to analyze emotions, business activities, skills evaluation, personality traits, etc.

Examine the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
If one aligning his skills and tasks to his strengths, and the Johari Window Model can definitely help him to discover talents, or potential he never knew. However, I think this tool is best used to examine unknown, glaring weaknesses that need to be addressed.

The Johari Window Model is a simple tool to discover strengths, blind spots and areas to explore. This feedback model works best in a counselor environment that has a high level of trust. To be effective, be sure to analyze the positive and negative qualities; use feedback to your advantage, it can pay dividends.

At first glance, the Johari Window may look like a complex tool, but it’s actually very easy to understand with just a little effort. As such, it provides a visual reference that people can use to look at their own character, and it illustrates the importance of sharing, being open, and accepting feedback from others. People who have a large Open Area are usually very easy to talk to, they communicate honestly and openly with others, and they get along well with a group. People who have a very small Open Area are difficult to talk to, they seem closed off and uncommunicative, and they often don’t work well with others, because they’re not trusted. Other people might have a large Blind Area, with many issues that they haven’t identified or dealt with yet. However, others can see these issues clearly. These people might have low self-esteem, or they may even have anger issues when working with others. One of the greatest gifts you could give yourself is to seek, find, and apply truth in your life. This is the path to becoming a healthy person. Aligning yourself with the truth permits a better person to eventually emerge from within. The Johari Window is a very helpful internal and external communication grid (intra-psychic and interpersonal). You may find it quite useful as you journey forward into the discovery of who you are.

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Johari Window Model Overview. (2016, Jun 29). Retrieved from

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