Nonviolent Communication

Nonviolent Communication (abbreviated NVC, also called Compassionate Communication or Collaborative Communication) is an approach to nonviolent living developed by an American psychologist Marshall Rosenberg in the 1960s. NVC can be seen as both a spiritual practice that helps us see our common humanity, using our power in a way that honors everyone's needs, and a concrete set of skills which help us create life-serving families and communities.

What is Nonviolent Communication?
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a philosophy, a leadership technique, a process of interpersonal communication, and an approach to life that allows people to achieve greater empathy/compassion for themselves and others by developing their sensitivity to feelings and needs; it allows us create positive relationships where each person remains real, whole, heard and understood, and strengthen our ability to remain human, even under trying conditions.

NVC is not:
1) a technique or formula for manipulating people to do what you want them to do.
2) a method serving only conflict resolution. NVC is something much more - it is a way for building trusting relationships in which the possibilities for conflicts are reduced to zero.

By mastering NVC skills you will:

  • learn an effective way to process your negative emotions, thus reducing the time spent in negative emotions, resolving conflicts faster, and spending more time living productive life,
  • learn how to ask what you need in a way that increases your chances to receive a positive answer,
  • learn how to say no in a way that it is less likely to provoke irritation or touch feelings of others,
  • get less triggered by evaluations and judgemental comments of others as you will learn to see their human needs behind their unpleasant words,
  • gain emotional freedom and higher emotional independence from other people by learning the true cause of our feelings,
  • have more fun in you life.

NVC in a Nutshell: Summary of Marshall Rosenberg's book "Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life"

Do you want to learn more and hear various examples and stories of how NVC is used in everyday life? Dive in the next video. You can't miss a chance to learn from Marshall Rosenberg himself. His wisdom, combined with a great sense of humor, will captivate your attention for hours.

Rosenberg's Famous San Francisco Workshop (3 hours)

NVC is not only useful to use on a personal level but also serves to resolve conflicts among large groups of people. Check out the next video, where Marshall Rosenberg talks about his 40 years of experience of using NVC to bring together warring factions as diverse as Irish Catholics and Protestants, Rwandan Hutus and Tutsis, Israelis and Palestinians as well as families and communities in conflict.

NVC for Peace / Religious, Political and International Conflicts:

The next video is the first TEDx event that took place in a WA state prison. The speaker is Kathleen Macferran, Certified Trainer and Assessor for the Center for Nonviolent Communication. She may surprise you with her experience of turning prisons into houses of healing and prisoners into the passionate advocates for NVC. Have a look and see for yourself how correctional facilities can be places of positive transformation instead of punishment.

NVC in Prison and Crime Recidivism:

Books About Nonviolent Communication:

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD.
This Marshall's masterpiece is the NVC classic and a starting point for most people learning NVC. This book is a paradigm shifter and will show you the depth of NVC like no other video can. However, reading this book may not change your life unless you apply what you learn frequently. It is highly recommended to study in combination with Nonviolent Communication Companion Workbook by Lucy Leu or while regularly attending a live or online NVC practice group.
Respectful Parents Respectful Kids: 7 Keys to Turn Family Conflict into Co-operation by Sura Hart and Victoria Kindle Hodson
Based on NVC process, this book has a framework that helps parents break down the barriers to outstanding relationships with their kids by avoiding destructive language and habits that keep parents and children from understanding one another. This book urges parents to move beyond typical discipline techniques by creating an environment based on mutual respect, emotional safety, and positive, open communication. The seven outlined principles redefine the parent-dominated family by teaching parents how to achieve mutual parent/child respect without being submissive, set firm limits without using demands or coercion, and empower children to open up, cooperate, and realize their own innate potential. Activities, stories, and resources help parents immediately apply the seven keys to any parenting situation.
Humanizing Health Care: Creating Cultures of Compassion With Nonviolent Communication by Melanie Sears, RN, MBA.
While it seems like this book is a read for medical professionals, we believe it deserves the general public's attention. If you don't have time to read the whole book, we recommend checking the last two pages of the first chapter. Your mind will be blown away by astonishing results of the NVC training program implemented in a medium and a maximum security forensic units in 2 different American psychiatric clinics. Here are the direct quotes:
  1. "Seclusion and Restraints (S/R) incidents were reduced from 33 in 2003 to 6 in 2006. S/R hours were reduced from 92.57 hours in 2003 to 6.4 hours in 2006. Time loss from work due to serious staff injuries was reduced from several months to zero. The need for 1:1 staffing - costing tens of thousands of dollars each year - was eliminated".
  2. "Staff and patients became partners in recovery. Patients learned how to empathize with staff and staff learned the same. [...] The results were a drastic decrease in violence and a change from violent culture to one of healing. Statisticly, there was a 55 percent reduction in the use of the Emergency Intervention Team. This team is called to subdue patients who are acting in violent and destructive ways. The unit has now become safe for both patients and staff."
Here we see a significant drop of violent behavior among people with challenged mental capacity labeled as aggressive patients. Can you imagine what kind of results in reducing violence we can achieve in a healthy society that encourages learning NVC among its citizens?
This book is also an excellent manual for healthcare administrators, nurses, physicians, and mental health practitioners who want to learn how to create lasting, positive improvements to patient care and the workplace environment. This reference teaches how to counteract the negativity that certain labels, diagnoses, judgments, and analyses can cause and how to integrate a culture of compassion, empathy, and honesty. Readers will also learn how to reduce healthcare staff burnout and turnover and create a culture of mentorship and learning.

Board Games that help to practice NVC:

GROK Games
• make empathy easily learned, celebrated, and a "household word”
• share NVC with the larger community via kinesthetic, interactive and playful activities
• contribute to peace and harmony in relationships, families, groups, schools
• bring a peaceful and harmonious consciousness to games
• support families to resolve conflicts joyfully and easily create win-win
• make and create peace one piece at a time
• have fun!
No-Fault Zone Game
The No-Fault Zone Game uses a mat and card decks to guide you, step by step, to the clarity, understanding and connection you want— within yourself and with others. It makes conversations visible, tangible, and fun for ages 5-95 and across the sometimes-great divide between:
• Parents & children
• Spouses & partners
• Siblings
• Students
• Business and Work associates

Where to find a trainer to practice in NVC?

If you want to find a certified trainer near your home or become a certified NVC trainer, visit the website of the Center for Nonviolent Communication.

Moreover, there are also pretty good uncertified trainers. So, keep your eyes open, and you will find someone who will match your ideas for training.