Nonviolent Communication – NVC

In everyday living, as well as in more formal settings, our lives are ingrained with communication. If we want to feel well, we are dependent on being received and understood in the way that’s meaningful. However, we often lack knowledge and skills about how to express ourselves and listen to others in a way that opens up genuine connection and co-operation.

NVC is a powerful process for inspiring compassionate connection and action.  It provides a framework and set of skills to address a wide range of concerns, from the most intimate relationships to global political conflicts.  NVC can help prevent conflicts as well as peacefully resolve them.

Nonviolent Communication offers us guidance on how to support us to be trustworthy and respectful in a way that results in mutual growth and development.

Nonviolent Communication is based on the premises that:

  • Needs are universal, we all have the same needs
  • Every moment we try to meet our needs the best we know how
  • Violence is a tragic expression of unmet needs
  • Each of us has remarkable inner resources if we are given empathy to get in touch with them

NVC Qualities

NVC emphasizes honesty and empathy as the foundation of connection and respectful co-operation.

NVC points out what kind of language and attitude contributes to connection and good relationships.

NVC clarifies what kind of language often leads to misunderstandings, resistance and conflicts.

NVC develops and strengthens skills in communication and conflict resolution.


NVC was developed  by Marshall B.Rosenberg, Ph D. He has devoted a large part of his life to exploring why we –  human beings that seem to appreciate so much friendship, care and peace – create so much violence and conflict. Rosenberg says that we have a “language-problem” since we are trained and brought up in a language which teaches us to analyse and judge, steering us away from our needs. The purpose of NVC is to support a conciousness of language so that we clearly express and listen to what really matters.

Need awareness

Characteristic of NVC is the awareness of needs – that human needs are universally shared. When we meet on a needs level, we can get a genuine and mutually-respectful connection. It is the way in which we try to meet our needs that can lead to misunderstanding and conflict.

Some words for needs:

Belonging, acceptance, inclusion, community, understanding, support, appreciation, connection, care, respect, mutuality

Autonomy, authenticity, freedom , integrity,  presence, self-esteem , spontaneity

Play / Creativity,  achievement, development, discovery, fun, expression, inspiration, openness

Meaning, celebration, contribution, clarity, feedback, learning, mourning

Wellbeing,  health, nutrition, movement, rest, touch, safety, security, order

Our feelings are signals telling us whether our needs are met or not.

Here are some examples of feelings when our needs are met: calm, comfortable curious, free, eager, excited, happy, hopeful, inspired, proud, relieved, rested, tender, thankful, touched, safe, strong, warm,

Examples of met feelings when needs are not met :  angry, annoyed, confused, disappointed, frustrated, hopeless, hurt, lonely,  overwhelmed, restless, sad, scared, tense, tired, uncomfortable,uneasy, unsure, worried

The NVC process:

  1. State our observation of an interaction without judgment or evaluation
  2. Separate thoughts from feelings
  3. Express what we need and want. Practice empathic listening to hear other´s needs and want without judging them
  4. Focus on the difference between requests and demands. Present our request in a “doable” action language

The Center for Nonviolent Communication is an international organization whose vision is a world where all people are getting their needs met and resolving their conflicts peacefully.  In this vision, people are using Nonviolent Communication to create and participate in networks of worldwide life-serving systems in economics, education, justice, healthcare, and peacekeeping. Our mission is to contribute to this vision by facilitating the creation of life-serving systems within ourselves, inter-personally, and within organizations.

Training in NVC is now offered throughout the world by a team of more than 700 certified trainers, and is supported by thousands of committed volunteers who help organize workshops, participate in practice groups, and coordinate team building.