What is Nonviolent Communication?

Nonviolent Communication (NVC), also known as Compassionate Communication, is a way of relating to ourselves and others, moment to moment, free of past reactions. By learning to identify your needs and express them powerfully, as well as understanding and being present to the needs of others, you can stay connected to your authentic truth and create a life that it is more fulfilling.

The skills of Nonviolent Communication:

  • help us to stay connected to the heart of any dialogue
  • assist us in dealing with major blocks to communication such as demands, diagnosis and blaming
  • minimize the likelihood of facing defensive reactions in others
  • empower us to receive critical and hostile messages without taking them personally, giving in, or losing self-esteem
  • open the gateway to resolving differences with clarity and compassion
  • bring consciousness to the interdependence of our well being
  • use power ‘with’ others to work together to consider and contribute to the needs of all concerned

This approach to communication emphasises compassion as the motivation for action rather than fear, guilt, shame, blame, coercion, threat or justification for punishment. In other words, it is about getting what you want for reasons you will not regret later. NVC is NOT about getting people to do what we want. It is about creating a quality of connection that gets everyone’s needs met through compassionate giving.

With NVC we learn to hear our own deeper needs and those of others, and to identify and clearly articulate what “is alive in us”. When we focus on clarifying what is being observed, felt, needed, and wanted, rather than on diagnosing and judging, we discover the depth of our own compassion. Through its emphasis on deep listening—to ourselves as well as others—NVC fosters respect, attentiveness and empathy, and engenders a mutual desire to give from the heart. The form is simple, yet powerfully transformative.

Founded on consciousness, language, communication skills, and use of power that enable us to remain human, even under trying conditions, Nonviolent Communication contains nothing new: all that has been integrated into NVC has been known for centuries. The intent is to remind us about what we already know—about how we humans were meant to relate to one another—and to assist us in living in a way that concretely manifests this knowledge.

Find out more about Nonviolent Communication at The Center for Nonviolent Communication website.


Text from www.zenvc.org – adapted from: 
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life
by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.
Published by PuddleDancer Press, available from CNVC

Scroll to Top