NVC is a communication process developed by Dr Marshall Rosenberg who in 1961 received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he studied under Carl Rogers, a major proponent of Humanistic Psychology.
NVC is based on a realisation that solutions to interpersonal problems tend to present themselves more readily if we aim to foster connection.
NVC considers that human beings resort to behaviour that harms others when they don't recognise more useful
strategies for meeting needs. NVC practice is about learning effective ways of identifying and communicating our
needs, the needs of others, and the feelings that surround these needs, so that harmony in relationships
can be achieved.
Before or after the practice meetings we may share meals. These informal and relaxed gatherings are an additional opportunity to exchange ideas and further strengthen our sense of community spirit.
NVC Practice Groups are an excellent way of learning from each other as we refine our understanding and skills.
Rotating facilitation is an empowering and confidence building approach that enriches the learning experience for all
participants. Facilitating and holding space for others is also a very effective way of learning for ourselves. Subject to
group consensus and observing some basic guidelines any regular participant in our groups is welcome to volunteer
to facilitate a meeting.
To assist in generating an atmosphere of mutual confidence, respect and trust it feels good if participants arrive on time
and facilitators arrive 5-10 minutes early. The general format that has evolved so far is a short check-in sharing, focusing
on feelings and needs, followed by an empathy swap session. After the empathy swap it is up to the facilitator's discretion
what is being presented and how it is being presented. The meetings conclude with a check-out sharing, once again
focusing on feelings, needs and possibly requests.
Generally the meetings are flexible as we learn to practice the basic principles of NVC.
We try to look beyond mere words and sense the underlying feelings and needs. Awareness, empathy and authenticity are
of equal importance during the meetings.
NVC focuses on a number of aspects in communication:
• Self-empathy - a deep awareness of one's own inner experience.
• Connection - a fundamental and universal human need.
• Observation - a dispassionate point of likely agreement.
• Feelings - identifying and expressing feelings.
• Needs - identifying and expressing needs.
• Requests - asking in clear, positive action language for what we want.
• Empathy - openhearted listening to another's feelings and needs.
• Authenticity - genuineness, realness, truthfulness.
• Integrity - adhering to standards of decency and fairness.
The practice groups below have been inspired by the principles developed by Dr Marshall Rosenberg, however they may also incorporate additional sources of inspiration and insight.