What is Compassionate Communication?

Compassionate Communication, also know as Nonviolent Communication (NVC), is a simple set of tools developed by Marshall Rosenberg that allows practitioners to communicate with others effectively and with compassion. It focuses on clearly expressing observations, feelings, needs and requests to others in a way that avoids the hidden violence of language that labels, diagnoses, judges or blames others. NVC fosters a "consciousness," an attitude that chooses connecting, understanding, and getting everyone's needs met.

Why are we so excited about Compassionate Communication?

We are committed to peacemaking and organizational transformation, and have found no other tool so powerful in transforming relationships from frustration to peace. We believe that a critical mass of people practicing Compassionate Communcation can transform our society in line with Martin Luther King's vision of the "Beloved Community."

Compassionate Communication:

  • Can dramatically improve relationships by helping individuals focus their attention on empathetic understanding of others without compromising their own values.
  • Allows individuals to express their feelings and needs openly and honestly in a way that invites understanding instead of defensiveness.
  • Opens new doors to compassionate connection and action, even in situations where there is long-standing conflict or hostility.

Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.

developed Nonviolent Communication over decades beginning with his work in the 1960's for civil rights and continuing tirelessly in conflict transformation and social change. He currently spends his time training NVC practitioners all over the globe. His vision to make life wonderful by sharing the power of NVC is taking root in 80 countries. Over 250,000 people a year are exposed to NVC. It is being used in war zones and the aftermath of war, and in schools, prisons, churches, hospitals, boardrooms, and families.

This sounds too good to be true. Does it really work?

In order to make Compassionate Communication work, you will need a commitment to applying the tools and you will need practice. You can experience some benefit right away, but Compassionate Communication will feel awkward in the beginning. Like any new language, mastering Compassionate Communication requires lots of practice. Compassionate Communication is a personal practice that fosters compassion, empathy and inner peace, while allowing you to be more effective in understanding and communicating your own needs.

Is Compassionate Communication like Active Listening?

Many tools such as Active Listening can aid communication. I have found Compassionate Communication more comprehensive and simpler to remember and apply than Active Listening or other communication tools. It reliably fosters an attitude of honesty, cooperation, compassion, and enjoyment.