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The New Johari Window #27: Quadrant Three: The Locus of Control

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A similar challenge faces each of us when we shift our perspective to an external locus of control. We begin to worry not about what we chose to share with or receive from other people, but instead about what information the other person wants to share with us or what information they want to receive from us. Once again, in our postmodern world, unclear rules, temporary relationships, and shifting roles, makes it difficult to anticipate what other people want and need.

We can try to somehow control the situation through proactive communication — convincing another person of what they want to share with us or want to receive from us. Many powerful psychotherapists exert this type of influence. They declare themselves to be “neutral” or “non-directive,” yet through the few words they do offer and through their nonverbal expressions, they influence what their patients disclose.

Through their not-so-subtle reinforcements (head nodding, smiling, statements like “interesting” or “can you say more about this?”), many therapists (as well as coaches, counselors, radio talk show advisors and self-help gurus) have a major impact on what is said to them and asked of them. This may even be the case with the father of modern psychotherapy: Sigmund Freud. Some of Freud’s recent critics have proposed (with some justification) that Freud got what he was looking for from his late 19th and early 20th Century patients:

A consensus has begun to emerge among historians and critics of psychoanalysis about what really happened . . . It appears that Freud either bullied his patients into reporting childhood seduction episodes or foisted upon them such stories, and that he later lied about the whole seduction episode.

 

Could this same proactive communication pattern be found among skillful (and perhaps manipulative) men and women who sell us cars, homes, insurance or a “perfect” partner for life?

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