Understanding yourself better with Johari's window in counselling

Conceived in the mid-20th century, Johari's window emerged as a collaborative effort between Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, two psychologists with a shared vision for enhancing interpersonal communication.


The name "Johari" is derived from a combination of their first names - Joseph and Harry. The framework was initially crafted to explore the dynamics of human interaction, focusing on self-awareness and mutual understanding.

Understanding Johari's window

At its core, Johari's window is a conceptual model that divides aspects of an individual's personality into four quadrants. Each quadrant represents a different facet of self-awareness and disclosure.

The 'open area' encompasses what is known to both the individual and others, fostering transparency and trust. The 'blind spot' reveals aspects unknown to the individual but discernible to others, providing a mirror for self-reflection through external feedback. The 'hidden area' shrouds facets known to the individual but intentionally kept from others, emphasising privacy and discretion. Lastly, the 'unknown area' represents unexplored aspects, suggesting untapped potential awaiting discovery through new experiences and reflections.

Exploring yourself through counselling can be a meaningful journey, especially with tools like Johari's window. This framework, helps us see ourselves more clearly. Let's take a simple look at its four parts and how it can be used during counselling.

Different parts of Johari's window

Open area (arena)

This is like sharing openly. In counselling, it means talking about your thoughts and feelings. The more you share, the stronger the trust with your counsellor.

Blind spot

The blind spot is what others see about you that you might not notice. Counsellors can give you feedback, like a mirror, helping you discover things about yourself that you didn't realise.

Hidden area (facade)

The hidden area is what you know but choose not to share. Slowly sharing these hidden parts in counselling builds trust and allows for more genuine conversations.

Unknown area

The unknown area is like the unexplored part of yourself. Counselling guides you to try new things and reflect on them, helping you discover more about who you are.

How Johari's Window helps in counselling

Communication boost

Being open in the 'arena' helps in better communication. Sharing your thoughts and feelings sets the stage for a good relationship with your counsellor.

Using feedback

The 'blind spot' is improved with feedback. Your counsellor's insights help you understand yourself better and work on things you might not have noticed.

Building trust

Gradually sharing in the 'hidden area' builds trust. Trust is like a safe space in counselling where you can explore your thoughts and emotions without judgment.

Trying new things

Exploring the 'unknown area' means trying new things. Counselling encourages you to do this, helping you grow and discover more about yourself.

How to use Johari's window

Be open

Share openly in the 'arena.' It helps in making your counselling sessions more effective and builds a collaborative space.

Seek feedback

Ask for feedback in the 'blind spot.' It's like a tool for self-improvement, giving you insights into things you might not be aware of.

Share gradually

Slowly share in the 'hidden area.' This builds trust, creating a safe environment for genuine exploration in counselling.

Try new things

Explore the 'unknown area' by trying new experiences. Reflecting on these experiences in counselling becomes a deliberate way to grow.

In conclusion: A counselling adventure

In the end, Johari's Window is a helpful tool in counselling. It guides you through different parts of yourself - opening up, addressing blind spots, sharing hidden facets, and trying new things.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Twickenham TW1 & Richmond TW9
Written by Natasha Kelly, BA (Hons) MBACP
Twickenham TW1 & Richmond TW9

Natasha is a counsellor based in London and online. Her passion lies in helping individuals build meaningful connections and foster strong rapport. With a deep understanding of human emotions and interpersonal dynamics, she has worked as a primary school teacher and as a freelance writer on mental health.

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