NVC Santa Cruz is a non-profit organization that makes its classes broadly available on a sliding scale basis. We further broaden access through scholarships. Your donation through PayPal will contribute to our scholarship fund.

Michelle Leah Gomez

Prior to parenting Michelle trained as a lawyer and was an academic in law and social policy. Parenting brought her to nonviolent communication. She was leading an attachment parenting book club when someone recommended Marshall Rosenberg’s book. Rosenberg’s work resonated strongly with her. A new family friend, who was a 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.

She, her spouse and their three children live in Watsonville, CA. She has been homeschooling her 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.



About NVC Santa Cruz

What is NVC?

Sometimes people get the wrong impression from the name, Nonviolent Communication, thinking, “Oh, that must be for violent people”. Marshall Rosenberg, PhD, named the communication tools he was developing after the spirit of nonviolence that inspired Gandhi and Martin Luther King. In Gandhi’s language, the essence of nonviolence, or ahimsa, is the force of love in action. Out of this age-old spirit comes a practice of deep listening to others and to ourselves. Through that practice comes a deeper, more compassionate connection to others, and an ability to more authentically address our own needs.Read more…

Art of Communication:  NVC Santa Cruz

We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2004. Thousands of people in the community have taken classes or attended trainings. We offer trainings at a variety of businesses and organizations (see the list of organizations served), offering discounts for organizations that serve our community.

We are funded to a large extent by fees for our classes and trainings. At the same time, we make our classes accessible to all regardless of income. In order to do that we have developed a sliding scale tuition and scholarship structure. (read more) We also accept donations to enable our full-access policy.


Core Team

click on names to read about the trainers

Jean Morrison, MA, certified trainer

Kar Fraser, Community Liason

Mary Goyer, M.S.





Other Teachers


Armando Alcaraz, Men’s Group, PAPÁS Father’s Group


Kara Bowman, MFT, certified trainer


Bar Lowenberg, NVC as a Spiritual Practice; Grok (empathy) on Pacific Ave











Michelle Leah Gomez


Board of Directors

Caren Camblin,  President
Rick Longinotti, Vice President, Treasurer

Bar Lowenberg
Kristin Masters
Jean Morrison
Deanna Zachary (photo below)

Lenore Montegna (photo below)

Lenore Montegna
Deanna Zachary
Deanna Zachary


Mary Goyer, M.S.

Mary Goyer, M.S., is a holistic counselor & trainer specializing in the intersection of leadership development, trauma healing, and Nonviolent Communication for professionals in high-impact organizations. She draws upon her training in Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT), mindfulness, and somatics to facilitate the personal growth and skill development needed for collaborative success – for individuals and teams.

Work That Reconnects Daylong

NVC Santa Cruz Related Offering

This day will be a dive into the Work That Reconnects, pioneered by Joanna Macy. Kristin has been a student and leader of this work for over 20 years, and finds it to be a rudder in the storms of the climate crisis.

This day (10 am – 6 pm) will give you a chance to travel through the cycle of the Great Turning, to meet the despair you might feel about the state of the world with an empowered love to act on behalf of Earth and the future generations.

Please register and pay a small deposit here in order to get info about the location (private home) and the logistics. At the event you will be given a chance to contribute to dana/donation for the teaching.

We will have a lunchbreak, so please bring a sack lunch with you.

If you have questios, please write

Deep Inquiry, 3rd Fridays

Led by Kristin Masters & Desiree Banzhaf

Program sessions:    Oct 21, Nov 18

The Program formerly known as DPP-Dedicated Practicioner’s , now titled Deep Inquiry, is intended for graduates of the Integration Program and practitioners with similar in-depth experience. It acts as a place for us to gather in community, and draw on the collective community for insight, empathy, clarity and compassion.

We begin each session with gratitudes, then a wide quieting and check-in. We explore a topic as a collective inquiry, often accompanied by individual discovery. After our potluck, we move to emergent empathy and needs for support as they exist in the group. This part has been rich, magical, often leaving us again in gratitude at the end of our time together.

We’ll meet regularly as a group well versed with the mechanics and spirit of Nonviolent Communication to look at the deeper shifts involved in living and connecting from the place of our needs, shared or otherwise. Drawing on the work of Robert Gonzales, Miki Kashtan and others, we will explore empathy and honesty, working with what’s alive for the group, doing exercises and working smaller groups for more focused practice.

You are welcome to come to a single session, all, or a few. We just ask the you register and let us know you are coming. Please be sure to register individually for each session you will attending.

Reminder: There is a break for a potluck during each session. Please feel free to bring something to contribute.

Course Sliding Scale:

Please let us know you are coming either by preregistering (click here) or by emailing