What is NVC?

Founded by Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication sm (NVC) is a process that helps us to cultivate moment to moment awareness of what is alive in ourselves and others, and to act in ways that contribute to life. It is designed to help us develop our ability to respond in a beneficial way and to inspire compassion.

NVC is based on a practice of thinking that reinforces our ability to retain our heart-centered qualities. It is our commitment to reconsider the way we express ourselves and how we listen to others.

The process has two parts: expressing ourselves authentically and listening with empathy. These two actions take place in four steps:

  • Observing facts without evaluation, interpretation or judgement
  • Expressing feelings
  • Expressing the needs behind those feelings
  • Formulating clear and concrete requests for actions

Although it is taught in reference to a concrete model and designed as a communication process, NVC is indeed much more than a process or a language: it is a way of being more compassionate and of living more compassionately in relationship to ourselves and others. It is a permanent invitation to focus our attention where we have the greatest chance of finding what we are seeking, connection. The objective of NVC is to remind us of the profound value of human interactions and help us live with that awareness.

The originator of NVC

As a child growing up in a turbulent Detroit neighbourhood, Marshall Rosenberg knew he wanted to find a way of speaking that would decrease the occurrence of physical and verbal violence. He was intent on understanding what moved people to violence and why some people, even in trying circumstances, were moved instead to be compassionate.

In 1961, when he was a clinical psychologist, Marshall Rosenberg set out to create such a language and to teach it.

After a comparative study of religions and of the stories of peacemakers, and using his own varied life experiences, he was convinced that human beings are not inherently violent. That belief is the basis of the concepts and skills of Nonviolent Communication sm (NVC).

Shortly afterwards, Dr. Rosenberg left his clinical practice and literally went on the road, teaching people what he had learned. He wanted to "give away" the communication skills that he had been teaching his clients as a therapist.

To meet this need and to more effectively spread the skills of NVC, he founded the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) in 1984 as a non-profit organization. The CNVC is an international organization that has a vision of a world in which we all respond to our needs and resolve our conflicts peacefully. With that vision, people use NVC to create and participate in a network of life-serving systems.

To date (2009), the CNVC includes more than 250 certified trainers, as well as many others who share NVC in forty countries all over the world. More than half a million people have received NVC training.

Above information was quoted from a website of the Quebec NVC Network, which is no longer online

NVC in the words of Marshall Rosenberg, its originator

cnvc logo linked to cnvc.org


Building a nonviolent world in the words of Dominic Barter, developer of Restorative Circle process a dynamic strategy for using conflict to connect