Nonviolent, or compassionate, communication (NVC) is a communication process that can function as a conflict resolution process developed by Marshall Rosenberg in the 1960s and 70s. It focuses on two aspects of communication: honest self-expression — (defined as expressing oneself in a way that's likely to inspire compassion in others) and empathy — (defined as listening with deep compassion).
NVC is based on the idea that humans are innately compassionate, while violence (verbal and physical) are learned through culture. NVC supposes all human behavior stems from attempts to meet a small set of human needs. Needs are believed to never be in conflict. Rather conflict arises when strategies for meeting needs clash. NVC proposes that if people can identify the needs of others, and the feelings that surround the needs, harmony can be achieved.
While NVC is ostensibly taught as a process of communication designed to improve compassionate connection to others, it has also been interpreted as a spiritual practice, a set of values, a parenting technique, and a worldview.
NVC today is promoted by a network of over 200 certified trainers throughout the world, coordinated through the Center for Nonviolent Communication in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Many people who have been exposed to NVC believe its usefulness is self-evident, and anecdotal reports of NVC's efficacy are voluminous. In contrast to this testimonial evidence, there currently exists a dearth of discussion, analysis and critique of NVC in the academic community. There are few published studies supporting the claims of effectiveness. While some people consider the development of an evidence base a high priority, NVC currently lacks any longitudinal research program, or significant research and analysis of the practice and its theoretical basis.
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