Johari Window in Retrospective

Work no. 4, 900 mm x 600 mm, 2022

Retro Collection, Jay Horan

The Johari Window is a psychological model and tool used for self-understanding and personal awareness. It relates to emotional intelligence theory (EQ) and the transactional analysis psychotherapy technique. Specifically, by helping us to understand our relationships with ourselves and others as we interact with them, the Johari Window model allows us to develop deeper relationships through effective communication.

The Johari Window was devised by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955 while undertaking research in the field of group dynamics. The concept was first published in 1955 and was later expanded by Joseph Luft. Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham titled their model ‘Johari’ after combining their first names, Joe and Harry. The Johari Window quickly became a popular paradigm for teaching and training in self-awareness, empathy, personal development, communication enhancement, interpersonal relationships, group dynamics, and team and intergroup development. The Johari Window model can help us detect personal blind spots based on life events and areas that others know about us that we may be unaware of, which range from personality traits and attributes to emotions.

The artwork is a meticulous portrayal of the diagram of the Johari Window model, a window shaped with four quadrants, displaying the mysteriousness and abstract perceptions of each ‘windowpane’ in the diagram. (The four quadrants are widely referred to as ‘regions’ or ‘areas’.)

Top Left Quadrant (Open): What we know about ourselves and what others know about us – the open area, open self, free area, free self, or ‘the arena’. The artwork in this quadrant is a uniquely aligned mandala that depicts our dependencies on our impressions of ourselves and others. The outside mosaic pieces reflect our flaws, which we and others are aware of.

Top Right Quadrant (Blind Spot): What is unknown about ourselves but which is known to others – our blind spot. The artwork in this quadrant indicates an unrecognisable shape to ourselves that we do not know exists, such as traits and unconscious behaviours. Yet others are aware of these attributes, and we discover more about this quadrant through input from others. Therefore, the quadrant shrinks as we progress and learn more about ourselves, and the new knowledge moves us over to the top left quadrant, the ‘Open’ quadrant.

Bottom Left Quadrant (Hidden): What we know about ourselves that others do not know and what we do not want them to know. This is also known as the hidden self; the avoided self; the dissonant, avoided area or ‘facade’. It is a blind spot to others because we do not want them to discover this information about ourselves. However, as time passes, we disclose information about ourselves to others, and the quadrant shrinks, and the knowledge moves us to the top left quadrant, the ‘Open’ quadrant.

Bottom Right (Unknown): What is enigmatic and unknown about ourselves and what others are unaware of – the unknown region or unknown self, the blind spot to ourselves and others. This quadrant is discovered by positive or negative life events that disclose new knowledge from ourselves or others, and the new information either moves us to the Hidden, Blind Spot, or Open quadrant.

All four quadrants contract and expand at different times of our lives due to positive and adverse life events. As a result, the model is not static. The model’s quadrants are improved to promote communication, awareness, and transparency among individuals and groups. Understanding the Johari Window model may help us understand ourselves more quickly in the present rather than waiting to understand ourselves later in life.

Written by Jay Horan


Luft, J. & Ingham, H. (1955). The Johari window, a graphic model of interpersonal awareness. Proceedings of the Western Training Laboratory in Group Development. Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles.

Luft, J. (1969). Of Human Interaction. Palo Alto, California: National Press Books.