The Johari Window

Some recent work and the page on Does this make sense, reminded me of many visuals that can help therapy along.

One of them is the Johari Window – around since the 1950’s – and developed and adapted by others over the years. It is helpful because it can offer insight into how individuals, relationships and organisations might change.

It was created by two psychologists, Joseph Luft (1916–2014) and Harrington Ingham (1916–1995). Luft and Ingham named their model “Johari” using a combination of their first names.

How might it help?


What the visual makes explicit is that I do not know all there is to know about me; you do not know all there is to know about me and both of us are in the dark about some aspects of us!

The journey to better understanding is not a straight line although it will require, roughly speaking, a move from top left to bottom right. The ‘safe experiment’ guidance advises that the journey is best taken in small ‘bites’.

The ‘feedback’ referred to relates to the results you obtain from safe experiments and from those around you. This information may help you push out the boundaries of our self-awareness.

This illustration fits well with the Window of Tolerance (WOT), in my view. The WoT emphasises personal growth by encouraging us to expand our ‘window’. The Johari Window encourages us to achieve this by moving from top left to bottom right; to become aware of the unknowns – things we do not grasp about ourselves and others as we mix with people in our lives.

The diagram offers one of a number of specific ways to do this – by asking others for information and by disclosing things, bit-by-bit, in a safe manner.

Can you do that? If so, then you’ve designed a small safe experiment, as long as you know what results were obtained (best done in writing unless your memory is better than mine!). 

The tricky thing is to ask for just enough; other people may wonder what you are getting at; they may see it as unusual for you and that might be unsettling. That’s another reason for keeping the safe experiment ‘small’ – it might just slide by and still be useful!

Be prepared for a quizzical look, all the same; maybe, just explain.

Look at ways you can design an experience that is just that little bit different.

Return to:

what is a nudge

 the welcome page.

does this make sense?

the scenic route to change