Home Concepts Communication The New Johari Window: Exploring the Unconscious Processes of Interpersonal Relationships and the Coaching Engagement

The New Johari Window: Exploring the Unconscious Processes of Interpersonal Relationships and the Coaching Engagement

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Locus of Control

While Quad Four may seem to be out of our control, there is much that each of us do within our own psyche to influence both the content and dynamics of Quad Four. In fact, the so-called depth psychologists (including the Freudians, Neo-Freudians and Jungians) believe that much of what happens in our psyche is determined by internal Quad Four content and dynamics. While Quad Four content and dynamics are usually outside our conscious awareness, in some instances, we can gain greater internal control if we become aware. This, after all, is the primary purpose of long-term psychodynamic therapy: bringing Quad Four into Quad One (at least the Quad One that is shared by patient and therapist).

Internal Locus of Control

What then is the nature of internally-based Quad Four (Q4-I)? At the very least, Q4-I consists of memories from times past in our lives. Recent neuro-science studies suggest that we move certain short-term memories into long-term storage (usually shifting these memories at night, when we are asleep). These memories tend to be relatively permanent; however, they are not easily accessed. The keys to retrieval of these reserved memories are often not words or even visual memories. The retrieval often is linked to smells, taste, touch or emotions. We whiff a fragrant flower or taste a delicious spaghetti sauce and recall a special moment in our childhood. The touch of our ear or forehead elicits a vivid memory of our mother. A frightening walk through a dark alley provokes the terror associated with some childhood memory. As I have already noted, many of these memories are apparently stored in our Amygdala, to which smell, taste, touch and emotions (in particular) are closely linked.

These are the most widely accepted and empirically-verified elements of the internally-controlled Quad Four (Q4-I). Other elements are introduced by neuro-scientists and psychiatrist, in a speculative (but empirically-derived) manner, and by psychoanalysts, spiritual counselors and poets in a highly intuitive manner. While there are many provocative models of Quad Four functions, I shall briefly focus on only two—the “shadow” function that was first introduced by Carl Jung, early in the 20th Century, and the model of “limbic resonance” that was recently introduced by Thomas Lewis, Fari Arnini and Richard Lannon (2000) in their remarkable book, A General Theory of Love.

The Shadow Function:  Though first introduced by Carl Jung, the image of a powerful intrapsychic shadow was described earlier by playwrights, such as William Shakespeare (King Lear), and novelists, such as Robert Lewis Stevenson (Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde). I have chosen to focus on the Jungian concept of “shadow” because of the apparent impact of this Quad Four element on interpersonal relationships. The Jungians would suggest that much of the “leakage” from Quad Three occurs with the assistance of the Shadow function, and that much of what other people see in us, but remains opaque to us, is influenced (and perhaps made opaque) by the Shadow. What then is the nature of this powerful, though unacknowledged, player in our fourth quadrant?

As I noted above, Jungians love to dwell upon the fourth quadrant. Jung devoted considerable attention to the numinous experience and its impact on the human psyche. He spent even more time describing the “Shadow” that resides in that part of our psyche that is usually unconscious (Quad Four). If the Jungian “Persona” or mask captures the essence of the intentional or presentational self in Quad One (Q1-I), then the Shadow represents the opposite—the unintentional (but present) aspects of the self in Quad Four (Q4-I). As described by one Jungian, Joseph Henderson (1964, p. 118), “the shadow cast by the conscious mind of the individual contains the hidden, repressed, and unfavorable (or nefarious) aspects of the personality.” We see the influence of Sigmund Freud and his concept of the repressing unconscious forces that operate in human experience in this initial statement by Henderson. Henderson (1964, p. 118) and many other Jungians, however, go beyond Freud in describing a highly complex and multi-dimensional shadow function in unconscious life (and Quadrant Four): “[the] darkness [of the shadow] is not just the simple converse of the conscious ego. Just as the ego contains unfavorable and destructive attitudes, so the shadow also contains good qualities—normal instincts and creative impulses. Ego and shadow, indeed, although separate, are inextricably linked together in much the same way that thought and feeling are related to each other.”

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