Johari’s Window and How We Heal

Above image is from Wikipedia

When talking about healing, because I am a gardener, I often speak of the need when we prune to go down into the live tissue of the plants. I have found this to be true also when I need to be healed. I have long recognized the severe discomfort that precedes one of my healing experiences. As human beings, we can feel feelings and learn to interpret them as indicators of our behavior. With the anxiety preceding change, I have learned to use this energy to allow the healing to begin.

Two psychologists, Joseph Luft and Harry Ingram, in 1961, fitted our emotional/mental aspects into a window having four panes named ARENA–BLIND–HIDDEN–UNKNOWN.

Self-discovery helps the ARENA to be larger as the fear becomes less with self-disclosure. With less fear, we can continue self-discovery throughout our lives.


Your public self–The larger this pane is, the more you are connected to reality


Secrets, fears, all things of which you are unaware


Private–Information about yourself that you do not share


Creativity, denial, undeveloped abilities, talents and interests

The object with self-discovery is to allow your arena to be larger and larger as you come to feel safe about your healing.

From Ellen Besso’s “Creating a Heart Centered Life—Our Post PTSD identity:

“To heal we need to go down into our depth. Because we have been wounded and lost touch with parts of ourselves, we must gain our own trust back, so to speak, in order to become whole. When we commit to slowing down and dedicating time each day to ourselves, our body-mind-spirit will eventually show us what it needs. It’s a simple method, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. There will be pain, but so much more too, a richness, a knowing of ourselves and a subtle sense of connectiveness with everything. It’s not something to be done alone, but with the help of trusted others – counselors, coaches, perhaps friends, family, groups. Then we add high level self-care into the mix and it enhances and builds on the therapeutic work.”

From Getting High on Recovery: “If You Slow Down for a Moment, What Are You Afraid to See?

“Think about New Year’s resolutions. Anecdotally it’s safe to say that a significant majority of those desired behavioral shifts fall by the wayside fairly quickly. The gyms are full in January; February, not so much.

One missing ingredient is self-observation. For illustrative purposes, let’s imagine you have a self-limiting behavior of “frequently interrupting others” and have a stated aspirational goal of becoming a great listener.

Instead of simply biting your tongue to stop interrupting others (which might work for a few days or even a few weeks), my experience working with many individuals over time suggests that your best bet is to start by developing a self-observation practice.

However counter-intuitive it may seem, one needs to spend a fair amount of time simply noticing their as-is state.”   Mike Normant

We often miss the importance of noticing – our selves and our choices. Noticing is profound and it is also profoundly difficult. And it can change how we live.


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