What is NonViolent Communication


Nonviolent Communication (NVC) offers practical and powerful skills to understand ours and other’s deeper motivations, to give us choice and resiliency on how to respond to life in any circumstances. These skills are based in a consciousness of interdependence and the concept of « shared power ».


NVC  skills include:

  • Differentiating observation from evaluation, being able to carefully observe what is happening free of evaluation, and to specify behaviors and conditions that are affecting us;
  • Differentiating feeling from thinking, being able to identify and express internal feeling states in a way that does not imply judgment, criticism, or blame/punishment;
  • Connecting with the universal human needs/values (e.g. sustenance, trust, understanding) in us that are being met or not met in relation to what is happening and how we are feeling; and,
  • Requesting what we would like in a way that clearly and specifically states what we do want (rather than what we don’t want), and that is truly a request and not a demand (i.e. attempting to motivate, however subtly, out of fear, guilt, shame, obligation, etc. rather than out of willingness and compassionate giving).

Nonviolent Communication skills emphasize personal responsibility for our actions and the choices we make when we respond to others, as well as how to contribute to relationships based in cooperation and collaboration.

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 awareness 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.



Marshall B. Rosenberg Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life  introduces these concepts and practical skills to integrate NVC



For more information and resources:                                                                                     Rocky Mountains Compassionate Communication Network rmccn.org                      Center for Nonviolent Communication cnvc.org


Key intentions and assumptions of NVC

Assumptions Underlying the Practice of Nonviolent Communication

  1. Human needs are universal.
  2. Feelings point to needs being met or unmet.
  3. All actions are attempts to meet needs.
  4. All human beings have the capacity for compassion.
  5. Giving is joyful when it comes from choice and connection.
  6. Connection arises from mutual understanding of the needs behind behavior.
  7. There is enough for all to meet our basic needs.
  8. Moving away from “right/wrong” judgments supports us in making peace.


Key Intentions when Using Nonviolent Communication

We hold the following intentions when using NVC because we believe that they help us contribute to a world where everyone’s needs are attended to peacefully.

  1. Self-compassion.
  2. Taking responsibility for our feelings.
  3. Taking responsibility for our actions.
  4. Expressing from the heart with full authenticity.
  5. Receiving with compassion.
  6. Prioritizing connection.
  7. Caring equally for everyone’s needs.
  8. Moving beyond « right » and « wrong ».
  9. Using force only protectively when necessary.


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