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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Whether or not Jung is correct in linking the Third Reich and ultimately the Holocaust to the threat of numinous (Quad Four) experiences, we certainly can acknowledge and respect the power of Quad Four, and recognize its potentially destructive role in the distortion or even destruction of interpersonal relationships. I propose that Quad Four is likely to be destructive if the material contained in this quadrant is blocked off or denied. One should be able to allow Quad Four material into one’s consciousness whether through ritual or priestly confessions, whether through self-reflection or supportive coaching.

Without this acceptance—when there is no self-reflection and when there is no source of feedback from the powerful external forces of life—then it is hard to distinguish between reality and fantasy. We are faced with the threat of pure projection in our relationships with other people. They become nothing more than the representations of unacknowledged Quad Four materials. Our sense of self becomes rigid and our interpersonal relationships become stagnant, for there is only a recycling of false reality in our personal and interpersonal life. We become a closed system (which by definition is dead or dying).

On the other hand, Quad Four material and the numinous can serve a constructive role. It is the Jungian trickster (the ego-deflator) who leads us to recognize the falsehood of the shadow cast on the wall of our psychic cave. We stumble or even fail in a specific relationship and come to recognize that we have not really wanted to be in this relationship. Though a slip of the tongue or through an awkward interpersonal exchange of feelings, we reveal something true about ourselves and our relationship with another person. This revelation steers this relationship toward a more honest and constructive pathway. We also witness the constructive role to be played by Quad Four and the numinous in the passion we feel for another person. This passion reminds us that we are alive and that we can care deeply about another human being. Jungians would speak of this as the interplay between our conscious psyche and the unconscious power of anima (the male archetype) or animus (female archetype). This interplay is often evident in our favorite love songs. Jungians suggest that these love songs are not concerned ultimately with other people in our lives about whom we are passionate. Rather, they are about the tender and passionate relationship between our own conscious self and these archetypal forces that exist within ourselves (our fourth quadrant).

While the forces of lust and love can be very destructive and lead us into major interpersonal problems, they can also be forces that are positive and lead us to long-term, enriching intimacy and life-long interpersonal commitments. The Jungians are quite right in suggesting that we may have little control over the intrusion of awesome numinous experiences into our psychic life. However, we do have considerable control over our willingness to acknowledge and appreciate the nature and power of these Quad Four intrusions. We can engage and incorporate these intrusions into our conscious and purposeful lives.

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