Prior to parenting Michelle trained as a lawyer and was an academic in law and social policy. Her teaching and publications involved communication research, and it was not until parenting that she found Marshall Rosenberg’s nonviolent communication.
She was leading an attachment parenting book club when someone recommended Marshall Rosenberg’s book. His work resonated strongly with her. A family friend, who was an nvc certified trainer, recommended she host Empathy Circles. She began doing so as a way of gaining and giving support for living a nonviolent life. She’s been hosting nonviolent communication parenting practice group circles since 2008 – first in Ventura County, CA, then in Santa Cruz County and the Monterey Bay – and now – beginning with Covid19 – on Zoom.
Michelle has a JD from Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall School of Law, UC Davis and an MA in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from UC Berkeley. As an academic, she taught in Law and Society at UC Santa Barbara and served at the Director of Research and Education at UC Santa Barbara’s Center on Police Practices and Communication. She, her spouse and their three children live in Watsonville, CA. She has been homeschooling their three children all their lives.
The Circle is a place of safety where parents can share what is going on in their lives and leave it there if they wish. It is a time and space that is held for the parent to focus on connecting feelings with needs. The Circle is not intended to give the parent advice (unless it is explicitly sought by the parent after the circle). It is based on the belief that when a parent is truly heard and understood, when that parent has clarity on what needs underlie that parent’s feelings, the parent will be in a place of clarity to create the strategies that best suit the family.