(Note: NVC is an abbreviation for Nonviolent Communication, a fluid, ever-evolving language process created by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. It is also sometimes referred to as Compassionate Communication, and is based on universal human feelings and needs, the giving of empathy and making humble requests rather than demands.)
There are several ways nowadays to learn and practice Nonviolent Communication, and every year I discover new modalities, materials, teleclasses, webinars, and live in-person gatherings. Since NVC is not a static “model” of communication, but rather an organic “process,” many practitioners and trainers find themselves inspired to create new approaches to this work.
Following is just a partial menu of choices that I’ve become aware of; I believe there may be many others as well.
1) Reading: There are countless resources for those who enjoy learning alone by simply reading the works of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg and other trainers and authors on the subject. You’ll find numerous articles in magazines and other periodicals, blog posts, pamphlets, booklets and books. Reading about the potential NVC has for helping us transform pain of unmet needs into compassionate connection, you may feel inspired, excited, hopeful and determined to practice. You may find that some of your needs for information, learning, understanding and connection will be met.
2) Online Groups and Classes: Take your pick of weekly online practice groups, weekly teleclasses, webinars or email list groups, to say nothing of social media opportunities such as Facebook and Twitter. There is even a Skype NVC Hotline that allows you to log onto Skype at any time of the day or night and find empathy buddies from around the world. You can request an empathy session, or offer to give empathy to someone in need.
3) In-Person Practice/Support Groups: On www.cnvc.org you can search for local meetings that are geared toward practice of NVC with others sharing similar goals. In a live group setting, you’ll be able to learn compassionate communication skills in tandem with others who are supportive of your efforts, and who understand the unique challenges faced by all who take up this work. If the group uses one of the NVC workbooks, you’ll have opportunities to do all sorts of creative exercises that help you to get a feel for how NVC really works. There are even NVC card games you can play in the group or with a friend at home. The NVC Dance Floors are ideally suited for those who enjoy more hands-on kinetic learning (or should I say “feet-on” learning?).
4) Solitary/Introspective Learning: Journaling can deepen your self-understanding and give clarity about your feelings and needs. It can also help to inspire you to keep going with your efforts, and to try different tacks in various situations. Meditation is seen by some as a practice for maintaining emotional hygiene. It can help to cleanse the emotional palate and give you the advantage of spiritual self-knowledge and objectivity.
5) NVC in Real Life: This is the ultimate in NVC practice as it challenges you to keep your “giraffe ears” firmly in place even when under stress or verbal “attack.” While many group practice situations have a built-in safety net, practicing NVC in real life offers no external safety net. The surest safety net is purely internal–to keep your giraffe ears firmly in place, which is sometimes extremely difficult to remember to do. The broadest safety net, in my experience, is to practice meditation before heading out into the world of people and affairs.