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.

Marshall Rosenberg frequently pointed out that these skills are nothing new to us. We practice these skills whenever we don’t get take things personally—whenever we listen for another person’s need rather than get stung by their criticism. We practice these skills whenever we set aside that inner critic inside our heads and instead see our own needs and intentions. When we ask others to do something without suggesting that they should do it, we are practicing Nonviolent Communication.

The theory of Nonviolent Communication is simple. For example:

  • When making a request, invite others to see what need is motivating the request.
  • When listening to anger and blame, listen past those things for the needs of the other person.

The practice of Nonviolent Communication is not easy. We have a habit of judging others disapprovingly, because our thinking has been shaped by a culture that readily uses disapproval to motivate people. We have a habit of getting defensive when we hear anger or blame—defending against the idea that we’re “in the wrong”.

Through practicing these communication skills we enjoy others more because we understand them better—and they understand us better. Join us as we try to practice empathy for ourselves and others. Check out the events calendar to find a class or retreat. See our resources page for information about learning online and local practice groups. You can download these short guides to get a sense of these communication skills:

Communicating for Positive Outcomes

No Offense: NVC in the Workplace

Our Values

We care about diversity, inclusion, and transforming conscious or unconscious thinking that separates us as people. It is very important to us to be a welcoming, forward-thinking organization.

Our Mission is to share, teach and live the skills and consciousness of Nonviolent Compassionate Communication. The ultimate hope is for a world where everyone is valued equally, and harmony among people is a reality.

In that hope, our commitment is to be an organization where people from every background, lifestyle, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, sexual identity, etc. feel welcome, seen, and understood.

Also, as part of our general fee policy, we offer scholarships, nonprofit discounts, sliding scale. NVCSC never turns away anyone from our classes due to financial reasons.