Empathy and Authenticity
NVC Skills in Communication

Free Weekly Practice Groups
Mullumbimby,  Ocean Shores

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.

NVC focuses on a number of aspects in communication: 

• Feelings - identifying and expressing feelings.
• Needs - identifying and expressing needs.
• Requests - asking in clear, positive action language for what we want.

• Connection -  a fundamental and universal human need.
• Observation
- a dispassionate point of likely agreement.

• Self-empathy -  a deep awareness of one's own inner experience.
• Empathy - openhearted listening to another's feelings and needs. 
• Authenticity - genuineness, realness, truthfulness.

The practice groups listed below have been inspired by NVC principles and they may also incorporate other modalities and sources of inspiration.

Mullumbimby: Private Home -- Suspended till September
Every second Monday 2.00pm - 4.30pm
Cost: Free / donation
Contact: Alandra:     alandra123@bigpond.com
               Shey:          tmnabata@gmail.com
We are aiming to find a balance between structure, and responsiveness to what arises in the moment in the group, all with the purpose of "practising" NVC consciousness. This is an open group, so anyone is welcome.

Ocean Shores: Private Home
Every second Monday 2.00pm - 4.30pm
This is an open group, so anyone is welcome.
Cost: Free / donation
Contact: Majida,   majidahawkins@gmail.com   04 0854 7654

Tyagarah: Private Home
First Saturday of the month 2.00pm - 6.30pm
This is an open group, so anyone is welcome.
Cost: $20 / donation
Contact:   byronevents.net/nvcbyron

Genuine empathy includes patient, open-hearted listening and the ability to be with the feelings and needs of another - sometimes without words.

If we feel unsafe, anxious or under pressure it is us who may need empathy before we can feel genuine empathy for the other. We often feel a sense of connection, openness, expansion and relief in the face of genuine empathy.

To have clarity about the empathy experience, it can be useful to discover what is usually less than empathy. The examples below suppose that your friend has offered you a chance to give her empathy – by making a complaint  (expressing her needs)!  In each example your friend's statement is followed by a somewhat less than empathic response.

"I wish my housemate would clean up after himself!"

advising: "Why not just leave a big mess for him one day, then he'll know what it's like?"
solving:  "Could you ask him to leave?
fixing:  "Come out for a drink with me and you'll forget all about the state of the kitchen!"
data-gathering: "Is it just in the mornings he doesn't clear up, or is it all the time?"
educating: "This always happens when you don't set clear boundaries with people!"
analysing: "Hmm.. is that he is always in a rush, or is that you're more fussy than he is?"
investigating:  "Why did you do that?  What made you feel that way?"
diagnosing: "You probably feel like that because your mother kept her kitchen spotless."

correcting:  "Well to be fair, he usually does."
explaining: "What actually happened and the way it was…"
counselling: "Repeated arguments can be a way of avoiding dealing with issues."
devaluing: "Isn't it a bit obsessive wanting to have things clean all the time?"
discounting: "It's not such a big deal, why don't you just chill out about it?!"

one upping: "That is nothing, Jim has not cleaned up even once in our household"
comparing: "You should meet my husband, he's far worse!"
story telling: "Yes, the same thing happened to me. This one time…"
criticising:  " Actually I never seen you wash up or clean up either."
blaming: "You should never have accepted him to move in."
judging:  "It was your fault, you were too slack."
sympathising: "Yeah, it's crap isn't it when someone behaves so unfairly."
pitying: "I feel so sorry for you."
consoling: "Never mind, no need to feel upset, he's going abroad next year."


NVC in Australia


Centre for Nonviolent Communication