What is Compassionate-Nonviolent Communication (NVC)?

Compassionate Communication is both a personal practice that helps us see our common humanity, and a concrete set of skills which help us to live more peacefully. These skills apply to thought, language, and using our power in a way that honors everyone's needs.

Participants from our July 2012 retreat, "The Future of Peace Starts Now."

Participants from our July 2012 retreat, "The Future of Peace Starts Now."

NVC is a learnable process for creating emotional freedom, self-acceptance, inner peace, and fulfilling relationships. It involves expressing ourselves honestly, listening with empathy, and developing a more compassionate inner relationship. 

People around the world are using NVC skills to transform conflict, create harmony in their relationships, and build a world where everyone's needs are honored through compassionate giving, and without the use of coercion or violence.

NVC helps people to:

  • speak in a way that inspires compassion and understanding
  • initiate difficult conversations with more ease and confidence
  • remain centered and peaceful while hearing difficult messages
  • finding the gift underneath anger so that instead of blasting someone with blame, you transform anger into life-serving energy
  • shift patterns of thinking that lead to depression, guilt, shame
  • enliven yourself by expressing and receiving gratitude
  • translate criticism, judgments and blame into life-serving messages
  • resolve long-standing conflicts and heal painful relationships
  • inspire others to change their behavior willingly

How is Compassionate Communication important in our world?

Most of us are hungry for skills that can improve the quality of our relationships, increase our contribution through our work, and deepen our sense of personal empowerment.

NVC helps people connect across differences and see each other's common humanity.

NVC helps people connect across differences and see each other's common humanity.

Unfortunately, most of us have been educated from birth to compete, judge, demand and diagnose... and to think and communicate in ways that create distrust and alienation, rather than connection.

At best, these habitual ways we think and speak hinder communication and create misunderstanding and frustration.  And still worse, they can cause anger and pain, and may lead to violence, either physical or emotional.  

Without wanting to, even people with the best of intentions stimulate needless conflict in their lives.

This practice helps us reach beneath the surface and discover what is alive and vital within us, and how to express what's important to us in a way that generates connection, goodwill and compassion.

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NVC helps us to express our feelings and needs so that other peoplecan more easily relate to us, and also helps us make key differentiations between observing and judging, requesting and demanding, and wants and strategies that stimulates compassion from others.

In addition, NVC helps us to distinguish between partnership and domination approaches in our own lives and in the institutions around us, and guides us to recognize our interdependence and create a world where everyone's needs matter.

Learn more about NVC.

Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg, International peacemaker

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, the creator of Nonviolent Communication.

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, the creator of Nonviolent Communication.

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg (born 1934) developed and refined Nonviolent Communication over four decades, beginning in the 1960s during the time of the American Civil Rights movement.

NVC training evolved out of Dr. Rosenberg’s quest to rapidly disseminate much-needed peacemaking skills, and emerged out of work he was doing with civil rights activists in the Southern United States.

During this time, he provided mediation and communication skills training to communities working to peacefully desegregate schools and other public institutions.

Marshall founded the Center for Nonviolent Communication, an international organization that promotes his body of work.  Marshall visited Columbus, Ohio for trainings in March 2006 and January 2007, and these events helped to catalyze the NVC movement in Central Ohio.

In 1961, Dr. Rosenberg received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, and in 1966 was awarded diplomate status in clinical psychology from the American Board of Examiners in Professional Psychology.

The flagship book for NVC, translated into 15 languages and sold worldwide.

The flagship book for NVC, translated into 15 languages and sold worldwide.

NVC is a powerful tool for peacefully resolving differences at personal, professional, and political levels. Before his retirement from training in 2011, Dr. Rosenberg led trainings in Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Malaysia, India, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Austria, France, and Canada, and throughout the United States.

He worked with educators, managers, mental health and health care providers, lawyers, military officers, prisoners, police and prison officials, clergy, government officials, and individual families.  He also visited war-torn areas and economically disadvantaged countries, offering NVC to promote reconciliation and peaceful resolution of differences.  Israel, Palestine, Ireland, Russia, Rwanda, Burundi, Nigeria, Serbia, and Croatia are examples of countries where NVC is being utilized by teams of peace activists.