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A Hug

Nonviolent Communication

Most of us want to connect with others despite differences of opinion. Most of us want to understand ourselves well enough that we are not taken by surprise by our words and actions. Most of us want to express ourselves in a way that is likely to be heard. Most of us want to be our best self, who is both compassionate and self-compassionate. If we grew up in our modern culture, however, it is unlikely that we learned how to do these things well.

I came upon Nonviolent Communication in 2005 and have been an avid student since then, becoming a Certified Trainer in 2010. I believe the tools NVC gave me were life-changing and I am passionate about sharing these tools with others.

NVC was influenced by the principles of humanistic psychology as well as the Gandhian principle of nonviolence. The term “nonviolent” refers to a concept of love in the Civil Rights Movement sense, rather than the absence of physical violence.

Following is a description of NVC from

Father's Kiss
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“Nonviolent communication was developed by psychologist Marshall Rosenberg in the 1960’s and is based on several core assumptions. According to Rosenberg, it is our nature to behave compassionately, but many of us have learned how to speak and act in ways that are harmful to others. We learn to judge, withdraw, defend, and attack, all of which alienates us from others and from our natural state of compassion. NVC was designed to help us overcome these tendencies so that we can connect with others on a deeper personal level.

Rosenberg also believed that all humans share certain universal needs. When these needs are satisfied, we experience pleasant emotions such as happiness and contentment; when they are not, we develop negative feelings such as anger and disappointment. Our feelings, therefore, indicate whether our needs are being met.

The principles of NVC serve a dual purpose. They allow people to become more aware of what they are perceiving, feeling, and wanting in a given moment while also helping them become more attuned and empathetic to the needs, emotions, and circumstances of others. As a result, people are able to replace their habitual reactions with more conscious and honest responses and interact with others in a more respectful and empathic manner.”

I use NVC in therapy to better understand my clients, ensure clients feel my empathy, help my clients better understand and empathize with themselves, and support clients in getting more of their needs met. I also share the techniques of NVC with clients during therapy if they express an interest in learning how to communicate in this way.

For more information:


International Organization: The Center for Nonviolent Communication

Local Organization: NVC Santa Cruz

Book: A Language of Life, Marshall Rosenberg

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