What is Nonviolent Communication?

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a process developed by Marshall Rosenberg and others which people use to communicate with greater compassion and clarity. It focuses on two things: honest self-expression — exposing what matters to oneself in a way that’s likely to inspire compassion in others, and empathy — listening with deep compassion. Formal NVC self-expression includes four elements: observations (distinguished from interpretations/evaluations), feelings (emotions separate from thoughts), needs (deep motives) and requests (clear, present, doable and without demand).

Those who use Nonviolent Communication (also called “compassionate communication”) describe all actions as motivated by an attempt to meet human needs. However, in meeting those needs, they seek to avoid the use of coercion (e.g., inducing fear, guilt, shame, praise, blame, duty, obligation, punishment, or reward). The goal of NVC is to create a situation in which everyone’s needs are understood. The assumption is that, from this state of mutual understanding, new strategies will flow that meet some needs of everyone. A key principal of nonviolent communication that supports this is the capacity to express oneself without use of good/bad, right/wrong judgment, hence the emphasis on expressing feelings and needs, instead of criticisms or judgments.

If you would like more information about NVC or NVC Nashville, the board members found on our contact page would be pleased to speak with you.