Trainee diary: Counselling Skills
Looking through the ‘Johari Window’.
Who has heard of the “Johari Window”?? I hadn’t until last week. Our tutor began by showing us a picture of said window and explaining what the theory behind it is all about. So what is it? It’s a simple and useful tool for establishing and improving self-awareness. It’s a great way to give and receive feedback. These are all part of our learning curve.
Section 1 is the Open/Free area. This represents parts of me that are known by others and that I happily share. It can be superficial stuff. For instance: I’ve got brown hair and green eyes, I like green vegetables, and I have a cat and a dog. Or it can mean other, more meaningful things: I am receptive to others’ feelings. I can be argumentative. I am sympathetic.
Section 2 is the Blind Area. This represents parts of me that others know, but that I am unaware of. It might be that I subconsciously twiddle my thumbs during difficult conversations … others can see this clearly, yet I am blissfully unaware.
Section 3 is the Hidden Area. This represents parts of me that I know about myself, but others do not know about. It may be that I eat toffee at 11:00 on the dot each day. Or it could be that I hide feelings of sadness.
Section 4 is the Unknown Area. This represents parts of me that I don’t know about myself and nor do others. It could be something I wish to achieve in the future or an area I wish to explore to gain further insight.
We were asked to delve into these theories and placed into small groups.
Initially I felt worried about disclosing too much about myself. I was concerned, thinking that people would think badly of me if I disclosed something negative. (I didn’t realise I was such a worrier until I began this course!!)
I was the second one in the “hot seat”. I began by sharing the obvious things that are often the first things people share with each other. E.g. that I’m married, my job, that I’m generally a happy person, that I’m naturally an emotional person and that I think most people would recognise the emotions I’m feeling the majority of the time.
I have to say that I’m struggling to write this … errm. What really came out about me?
Right, after I’d sat in the Open/Free area. Things became a little mixed up. We did talk about my blind areas, hidden areas and also my unknown area, but not necessarily in the correct order.
I am an analytical person, sometimes overly so. (I’m guessing you might have figured that out by now!) One of my group members continued pushing me, questioning the fact that I am analytical and wondering if – when I over-analyse situations - it causes me to suppress my emotions? I’ve been thinking about it ever since and I think he’s right. I think that I have learnt to control my emotions through being analytical. I think this is a tool I use in order to protect myself. Is this healthy? Nope!! Does it solve problems or issues that may arise? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It helps me to say, “Right, I’ve dealt with that, I don’t need to think about it anymore.” Is this a healthy way to deal with emotions? Am I as self-aware as I’d previously thought? Confusion is setting in!! What is this course doing to me???
During our feedback session as a whole class, my tutor asked if I had projected something onto another member of my group.
What is projection? Projection is complicated, but something we all do on a daily basis. It can be a way of blaming someone else for your own self-failure. It can be a mechanism for defence. It can be a way of unconsciously/consciously denying your own thoughts and emotions and pushing them onto another person. I am aware that I can sometimes do this. Why then, did my tutors comment make me question myself? Was I worried that my thoughts about another person were wrong? Was it the thought that by projecting I was causing negativity? Was it a projection of doubt from my tutor that caused me to rethink?
I’ve always understood projection to be a negative response to a situation. Can it also be a positive? Yes it can, I might see beauty and magic in a snow covered scene, yet others may view it very differently. I may feel scared of the dark. What has caused this feeling to occur? Is it a projection thrown at me by someone else that dark equals bad? We all project on a daily basis. Without projection there would be no meaning. Without meaning, would I feel emotions?
Initially my tutors question caused a negative response in me. Having really thought about it I can now see it as a positive question.
It made me examine projection. By doing this I now see it as a positive tool also.
I felt quite down after class this week. I kept wondering what I had gained from being there. I think I was miserable because I’ve had to face a couple of issues that I’ve known are there but chosen to ignore. As my tutor sometimes says, things can’t always be wrapped up in a pretty bow! Sometimes I must face things even though I may not want to.
Let’s hope next week leaves me feeling all singing, all dancing once more.
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