What is NVC?

Nonviolent Communication (NVC), created by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D., is a language and consciousness of compassion, based on the principles of nonviolence.

NVC assumes that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies, whether verbal or physical, are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture. NVC also assumes that we all share the same basic human needs and that each of our actions is a strategy to meet one or more of these needs.

NVC is also known as Compassionate Communication because it emphasizes compassion as the motivation for action, rather than fear, guilt, shame, blame, coercion, threat of punishment or promise of reward. NVC can inspire others to respond compassionately to our needs and help us to respond with compassion to others and ourselves.

NVC is also known as Giraffe Language because giraffes stick out their necks to get their needs met, have far seeing vision, and (because of their long necks) need large hearts to pump the blood to their brains. The metaphor of giraffe is a reminder that NVC is a language of the heart, valuing feelings and honoring everyone's needs (in NVC the violence provocative thinking and speaking common in our culture is officially called life-alienated language and sometimes referred to as jackal language).

People who practice NVC have found greater authenticity in their communication, increased understanding, deepening connection and conflict resolution.

Some Ways NVC Helps Us Have Better Relationships

Communication based on NVC can dramatically improve our relationships by helping us:

  • Clearly recognize what triggers us and develop and nurture compassion for ourselves, even when we do things we regret.
  • Express ourselves honestly in a way that's easier for others to hear and respond to supportively.
  • Empathically understand and connect with others without compromising our own values... even when they say/do things we don't like or understand.
  • Tap into the creative potential of "power with" by finding solutions that consider everyone's needs equally.

NVC supports us in honestly expressing ourselves and empathically hearing others

The use of NVC doesn't require the recipient of our communication to be literate in NVC, or even motivated to relate to us compassionately. When we focus on clarifying what we observe, feel, and need, rather than on diagnosing and judging we discover the depth of our own compassion. By learning to make requests rather than demands we dramatically increase the likelihood of finding solutions that work for all concerned. Through its emphasis on empathic listening - to ourselves as well as others - NVC fosters respect and engenders a mutual desire to give from the heart.

More About NVC

The NVC process is described more fully in Marshall B. Rosenberg's book, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, available through the Center for Nonviolent Communication, public libraries, and in many bookstores.

NVC is shared internationally by several hundred trainers certified by the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC), many more independent trainers and consultants, and is supported by hundreds of grassroots regional or statewide NVC groups like ORNCC.

Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC)

For more information about the Center for Nonviolent Communication, NVC, groups and contacts in other areas, and NVC work in specific areas such as education, parenting, social change, restorative justice and other topics, visit the CNVC website.


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