The Johari Window: a model for self awareness

The Johari Window was developed in 1955 by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham and can be used to develop self awareness of your own reactions and responses as well as increasing awareness of how you are when in relationship with others.

Although the Johari Window was originally used within the work place for developing better relationships I think it can usefully be transposed to psychotherapy by helping to describe different aspects of relating which can be used to engage with personal development.

This model describes four aspects of relationship with self.  These include aspects of ourselves that we are open about and those that elements we keep to ourselves, as well as the aspects of ourselves that others are aware of but we are not, and those parts of ourselves that are buried in the subconscious.

What you see in me

What you do not see in me

What I see in me

The Open Self

The Private Self

What I do not see in me

The Unseeing Self

The Undiscovered Self


The Open Self is the part of ourselves which we share with others and openly discussed.  You and I can talk openly about this part of ‘me’ and gain a shared understanding.

The Private Self is the part of ourselves which is known to me but kept hidden from others.  These may include vulnerabilities, sensitivities, fears, secrets and parts of ourselves that we are ashamed about.  We can choose to open up and let others in.

The Unseeing Self is the part of ourselves which is known to others but unseen by us.  It can include positive and negative behaviours.  Compassionate responsive feedback helps to soften and open this window.

The Undiscovered Self is the part of ourselves which is unknown to us and unknown to others as it is buried in the subconscious and may include intrapersonal dynamics, early childhood memories, latent potentialities.

Getting to know yourself by going deeper inside 

In the model above the window panes are of equal proportion but in our real life relationships the size of the panes change according to the conditions we are meeting.  I think this model when used in psychotherapy can be useful for increasing self understanding and self awareness and help you develop and strengthen yourself so that you are able to be open, truthful and authentic. It also provides recognition to some of the aspects that cause suffering and resistance in our receptivity towards hearing the experience of another which opposes our self-view.

Our work together is co-created as we explore and understand the private self, the unseeing self and the undiscovered self and takes courage, curiosity and commitment.  As you become more conscious of your process you will have greater choices, freedom and well-being. 

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