Nonviolent Communication (aka NVC, other names) helps me in two ways:
Compassion — It helps me to keep an attitude of fully wanting to include everyone in a situation. That "everyone" can be the different parts of myself, the people I share a house with, on up to all of the people and other beings with whom I share the world.
Power — By being clear and honest with myself about what I am experiencing, and specific yet unattached about what I am going to do, I remain aware of and able to act from my power.
It accomplishes this by a set of understandings and suggestions about power, about where you put your attention, and what you say and listen for in yourself and in others, which together make you more able to be with things as they are, more likely to understand and be clearly understood, and more likely to inspire compassion in yourself and in others. There's a large network/communities growing across the planet of active teachers and practitioners. Through Nonviolent Communication I have found a startlingly high proportion of people I trust, people who are able to bring together deep compassion and (non-)brutal honesty and clarity. Not everyone I meet through NVC is like that, just more than in other groups or networks I've been in.
I also see many "NVC people" working powerfully to make the world work better for everyone, a cause dear to my heart.
The most powerful way to learn Nonviolent Communication is to practice it in your daily life, with yourself and with those around you. Of course the chance to practice and learn in more formal settings can be very helpful too.
What does NVC sound like?
- search for "NVC" on YouTube
- archives of the Conflict Hotline radio show on KPFA
- http://www.kmecradio.org/ Mondays 11am west coast time - Mair Alight's call-in NVC radio show (still running?)
NVC World - probably the most complete gathering of NVC resources.
Telephone and online classes:
Nonviolent Communication is also the title of a book by Marshall Rosenberg, who (with many others) developed this process. The book has an official website, which sells many other NVC-related books as well. Also see NonviolentCommunication at BookShelved.
Some (there are many others) groups offering lengthy retreats and/or year-long leadership programs:
- http://cnvc.org/ offers International Intensive Trainings
An NVC wiki - http://www.nvcwiki.com/
The rest here is from the NVC page on my old wiki — http://ourpla.net/cgi/pikie?NonviolentCommunication — and needs reformatting, etc.:
When i was about 20 i started believing and saying that if one really heard someone's story then even the most outrageous things they did or said would make sense. That doesn't mean you have to say it's okay and do nothing about it, it just means you don't have to write them off and give yourself the right to do whatever the hell you like to them. This i believe is a central part of Nonviolent Communication, and why i so resonated with it when i encountered it almost 15 years later.
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) articulates it this way: there is a positive motivation behind every thought, emotion, word, action and reaction. In NVC, folks generally call these motivations needs or values. It's the best training i've seen yet for putting the idea of universal freedom and responsibility (NonViolence, AnArchy, ConSensus, DemoCracy, whatever you want to call it) into practice.
I'm rather intimately acquainted with the process, and know many people in the network and various organizations.
"We must always seek to ally ourselves with that part of the enemy that knows what is right." --MohandasGandhi (see FavoriteQuotes)
New description/summary that Jeyanthy Siva and John Abbe worked up, needs editing a good start:
Nonviolent Communication is about learning how to listen more compassionately, and express in ways that are more likely to inspire a compassionate response in others.
It's easy to be compassionate when you're getting what you want, and you have harmony with those around you. But what do you do when you're not getting what you want, and you're in conflict with those around you? NVC includes a step by step process for getting to a place of connection and compassion when you're not already there.
From this place of connection, we are likely to find creative solutions that work for everyone. These are sustainable, for two reasons. The attention is primarily on strengthening the relationships, so even if problems crop up or the solution falls apart, there's more resilience and trust -- people are more likely to try to work things out than to go back to fighting. Also, because everyone was a part of creating the solution it will address their concerns, and there's less reason for anyone to sabotage it.
A Few Specifics About Nonviolent Communication
One of the central assumptions of Nonviolent Communication is that behind everything everyone does or says is a positive motivation.
In our trainings, we share ideas and exercises that help people learn to see these positive motivations in others and themselves. One of these ideas is a distinction between needs (the positive motivations) and strategies -- particular ways we might get our needs met.
People come to see that we all share the same needs, and that when we are fighting, it is always about what strategies we have to get those needs met (and not about the needs themselves). When people are truly connected to other people's needs, they are generally more willing to cooperate in finding alternative strategies that would meet everybody's needs.
When one does not wish to listen to another, one can listen deeply to what's behind the reluctance to listen. This usually leads to a genuine interest in hearing the other after all.
The idea is to listen fully and genuinely, *and* strongly and persistently express oneself. In it's wholeness, NVC is a fluid dance between these two 'modes'.
Yet another overview:
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is sometimes referred to as compassionate communication. It's purpose is to strengthen our ability to inspire compassion from others and to respond compassionately to others and to ourselves. NVC guides us to reframe how we express ourselves and hear others by focusing our consciousness on what we are observing, feeling, needing, and requesting.
Nonviolent communication skills
As the name implies, this approach to communication emphasizes compassion as the motivation for action rather than fear, guilt, shame, blame, coercion, threat or justification for punishment. In other words, it is about getting what you want for reasons you will not regret later. These techniques allow you to make conscious choices about how you will respond whether you get what you want, or not. It is definitely NOT about guilt and tricking people into giving you what you want.
The process of NVC encourages us to focus on what we and others are observing, how and why we are each feeling as we do, what our underlying needs are, and what each of us would like to have happen. These skills emphasize personal responsibility for our actions and the choices we make when we respond to others.
Nonviolent Communication assists you in dealing with major blocks to communication such as demands, diagnoses and blaming. You learn to express your feelings without attacking. This will help minimize the likelihood of facing defensive reactions in others. The skills help you make clear requests. They help you receive critical and hostile messages without taking them personally, giving in, or losing self-esteem. These skills are useful with your family, friends, students, subordinates, supervisors, co-workers and clients. These skills are even useful with your own internal dialogues.
http://www.alban.org/ provides support for churches - logistical, process, organizational, etc. I'd like to see something analogous for NVC - an org/group (or more than one) which does not itself offer NVC trainings or certification, but supports other NVC groups in a variety of ways.
Also see ExpressingAngerNonviolently
One of many ProcessArts, and one of MyPractices.