Nonviolent Communication (NVC) was developed by US-American psychologist Marshall B. Rosenberg in the 1960’s. Based on humanistic therapy approaches he learned from his teacher Carl Rogers, he deducted basic rules for communication that help people to empathise with others and at the same time understand one’s own feeling and needs. NVC has been successfully used in conflict situations between individuals, within companies and between communities. It encourages individuals to reflect upon their feelings, needs and methods of communication.
The three-days workshop was facilitated by Duke Duchscherer, a certified trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication, who has also been on the Board of Directors for the MK Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence for 8 years. Duke Duchscherer has also facilitated trainings in Restorative Circles and Nonviolent Communication around the world. He has been working with people and communities from small villages at the grassroots as well as governmental leaders at the United Nations on four continents.
During the workshop, the participants covered the four steps of NVC, the purpose and intentions of NVC, empathy, listening, focusing, self-empathy and forgiveness, and also delved into restorative circles. Moreover, exercises and interactive components gave the participants the opportunity to practise their knowledge on spot. Particularly the importance of self-empathy struck the participants. Fadi, who also works as a counsellor for couples and individuals, stated: “Empathy is one of the most powerful tools we have when we work with other people. Once we start working with it, we discover the beauty of people around us.”
Mirna, who works in counselling, also found the approach very helpful for her work, but more importantly for herself: “One of the challenges when you develop yourself in human relations is to focus on how to apply it to others or help others applying it. While it is a deep question on how can I apply it on myself first, and this is something I found in this course.”
The trainer Duke Duchscherer expressed excitement by the participants’ eagerness to learn more about NVC and to continue practising what they had learned during the course. As Marshall Rosenberg stated himself, “However impressed we may be with NVC concepts, it is only through practice and application that our lives are transformed.”