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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The Jungians go even further in linking the shadow function to powerful and universally-represented symbols: “The ego . . . is in conflict with the shadow, in what Dr. Jung once called ‘the battle for deliverance.’ In the struggle of primitive man to achieve consciousness, this conflict is expressed by the contrast between the archetypal hero and the cosmic powers of evil, personified by dragons and other monsters.” (Henderson, 1964, p. 118) According to an eminent Jungian, Maria von Franz (1985), there are two sources of the shadow. One source is the personal unconscious. The personal shadow “represents unknown or little-known attributes and qualities of the ego—aspects that mostly belong to the personal sphere and that could just as well be conscious.” (von Franz, 1985, p. 168) We each have our own personal shadow that is interwoven with our personal ego. Our personal shadow balances off this ego with the counter-weight of alternative images of self and alternative (and often devalued) sources of distinctive, personal strength. The collective unconscious is a second source of shadow. It is in this domain that the powerful, universal and archetypal symbols find expression and resonate with our personal sense of self.  (von Franz, 1985, p. 169)

Shadow and Quad Four: If we apply these complex Jungian concepts of the shadow to our analysis of Quadrant Four we arrive at five conclusions. First, Quad Four material consists of images and visions of our self that are both positive and negative in nature. We keep Quad Four material out of consciousness, in some cases, because we find this material to be threatening or antithetical to our positive image of self. In this regard, the “repression” of Quad Four material is comparably described by Freud and Jung. We would expect this Quad Four material to emerge into Quad Two, Quad Three or even Quad One when the setting is safe or, at the opposite end, when one is so threatened or subjected to stress that all defenses break down and Quad Four material leaks out or even leaps out everywhere.

Quad Four material can also be quite positive and attractive. We find bravery, creativity and interpersonal insight in Quad Four. These positive aspects of Quad Four often are displayed in spontaneous acts (bravery), moments of relaxation (creativity) and dreams [a source of many interpersonal insights according to Erich Fromm (1976)]. So why do we keep these positive elements in Quad Four? They may scare us—because we would be expected to do great things with this material or underlying talents if it were acknowledged. These elements might be socially unacceptable—after all, we can’t all be comedians, fools or eccentric celebrities. In some cases, we simply are unaware of them, given that we are preoccupied with our busy, saturated postmodern life and dwell in a world where technical rationality reigns supreme.

The second conclusion arises specifically from Jungian theory. The Quad Four material (particularly if it comes from what the Jungians identify as the collective unconscious) is likely to move into one of the other three quadrants if one is confronted with compelling images (symbols, rituals, awe-inspiring and numinous experiences) that are aligned with and elicit Quad Four material. We participate in a church service that is “inspiring.” It brings us to recognition of deeply felt (and usually unconscious) images of a better world or more moral pattern of personal conduct. We engage in meditative practices or enter a sanctuary in which we discover our own inner sense of divinity. We find God in a sunset, autumn leaf or Monet painting. Each of these experiences often leads us to move Quad Four material into the conscious quadrants of our psyche. These experiences may evoke nonverbal behavior that reveals something important about our self to other people (Quad Two), as they witness us interacting with these powerful symbols, rituals or life-altering experiences.

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