Nonviolent Communication

Marshall Rosenberg works as a mediator, peacemaker & communication trainer in international conflict situations.

Marshall Rosenberg works as  a mediator, peacemaker & communication trainer in international conflict situations.

Nonviolent Communication is a process of communication that goes far beyond words. It is based on the perspective that all human beings, from whatever background, share common needs and values. These needs underlie our feelings, and fuel our actions. Because these needs are universal, people can learn to understand each other and connect with compassion. Focusing attention on needs and values enables differences to be resolved. NVC’s major contribution is that needs and values never conflict, only the strategies we choose; and that it’s our thinking which causes conflict.

NVC was developed by Dr Marshall Rosenberg in the US, as he searched for a way to help people live in greater peace. It offers tools to help people communicate with respect, consideration and honesty, as well as ­ to value and enjoy life.

Marshall Rosenberg and other NVC trainers have created a global network committed to living and teaching NVC, to resolve conflict & to honour human needs everywhere. The process supports harmony and understanding in communities, organisations & individuals. The term Nonviolent Communication links it to the Nonviolent movements for social change inspired by Mahatama Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Marshal Rosenberg in Africa

Marshall Rosenberg in Africa

NVC encourages awareness and fuller connection to the humanity in ourselves and others. It offers specific tools to open up dialogue and find fresh ways of being and behaving. NVC enables people to be heard and understood, enjoy clarity and effectiveness, and experience the warmth and openness that results. The quality of connection created also transforms situations of tension and conflict, so that compassion emerges, and people choose actions that are in harmony with everyone’s needs and values.

NVC brings the insight that it’s our thinking and interpretations that can lead to conflict and disconnection. So people can move beyond blame, criticism and moralistic judgements. It teaches skills to understand the impulses beneath the language of threats, anger, manipulation, oppressive power … and change those into clear, considerate and empowering communication.

“Once we study NVC we can’t ignore the potential for transformation that lies in any relationship” – ‘The Path of the Human Being’, Bernie Glassman, founder of Zen Peacemaker’s organisation

Marshall Rosenberg in Palestine

Marshall Rosenberg in Palestine

NVC promotes flexibility and choice. It maximises the chances that everyone’s needs will be valued and respected. Its processes enable conflicts to be resolved peacefully. It shines light on the opinions hidden behind words. It helps people to speak out frankly without offending others, and be fully present with people in distress. It encourages people to attune to their life energy and integrate their behaviour with their fundamental needs and values.

It is sometimes called Needs-based Communication, Radical Compassion, Empathy in Action, Stress-free Communication. The principles of NVC are being applied successfully in schools, companies, prisons, hospitals, communities, mediation centres, war-zones, and numerous situations all around the world. NVC is a process that can support and improve any context – relationships at home, at work, politically, socially, with colleagues, families, friends, and with oneself.

“NVC provides us with the most effective tools to foster health and relationships” – Deepak Chopra, ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success’

For more information about NVC, see the international website www.cnvc.org

Recommended reading: Marshall Rosenberg, ‘Nonviolent Communication – A Language of Life’.
ISBN 1-892005-03-4