What is Nonviolent Communication? 

Nonviolent Communication was developed by American clinical psychologist Dr. Marshall Rosenberg starting in the 1960s. Dr. Rosenberg, who was one of the largest clinical psychology practices in the USA, was inspired by the practice of nonviolence of Gandhi and influenced by the work of Carl Rogers. His communication process unravels the mystery in human behavior through an awareness of universal needs and offers ways to build bridges across differences from a perspective of choice and compassion rather than through demands, shame, guilt, fear, and force. 

In addition to a deep commitment to the intention to connect with others, Dr. Rosenberg offers us a practical, learnable process for effective communication using the four steps of observations, feelings, needs, and requests:

  • Making clear observations rather than judgements keeps the lines of communication with others open and reduces the personal pain, immediate disconnection, and loneliness that can arise when we buy into right/wrong thinking.
  • Understanding our feelings makes these manageable and offers us deep insights into what we most value.  
  • Growing in awareness of our needs creates the foundation for harmonious mutual agreement and unlocks our ability to effectively meet our needs through a wide range of strategies.
  • Making requests invites people in on a basis of mutual respect that creates stable, enjoyable, and productive families, groups, and communities where members are willing and committed to contributing to others’ well-being.

This way of communicating can transform lives and relationships in unimaginably positive ways. You can belong while being yourself, parent peacefully while getting the support you long for, persuasively advocate on issues that touch your heart, and lead in ways that create loyal, high-effective teams. 

Nonviolent Communication has been used by parents, teachers, business leaders, statesmen and other individuals in family, work, community, and international relations, including in warzones. It is now practiced in over 65 countries. Dr. Rosenberg’s seminal book, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, has been translated into over 30 languages and has sold over 1,000,000 copies worldwide.