Marshall Rosenberg, who started NVC, set out to discover why certain individuals respond compassionately even in adverse situations, while others respond with hatred and bitterness. He found many clues in the language people use in response to advsersity.

Another, more contemporary take on the universality of human motivations and needs. Larry Rosen asks, ‘Is it possible to understand everyone at a deep and meaningful level?’

Summary of Feelings and Needs – Example from Mediation in Ruwanda

Marshall Rosenberg and Nonviolent Communication

In this 10-minute video (below), Marshall Rosenberg introduces the motivation behind his method of Nonviolent Communication (also known as ‘NVC‘ or as ‘compassionate communication‘).

0:00 – What are the origins of violence and domination, and what distinguishes the language of people who enjoy violence from the language of those who enjoy contributing to the well-being of others? Rather than arguing about whose right and whose wrong, can we learn to understand and meet everyone’s needs?

4:25 – The language of dehumanization is a distortion of efforts to meet needs. In this segment, Marshall gives an example of a peace negotiation that tries to bring needs to the table, as opposed to criticisms, blame, and judgments… (3-part series on You Tube)

The Four Elements of NVC (Chp 1)

Observations – Feelings – Needs – Requests

NVC is about:

  • The concrete actions we observe that affect our well being.
  • How we feel in relation to what we observe
  • The needs, values, desires, etc. that create our feelings
  • The concrete actions we request in order to enrich our lives

Example of feelings and needs

Do We See the Value of NVC?

How we experience our needs – a 30-sec sound byte from Marshall Rosenberg

Describing What You Don’t Like

Listen to the first 7 minutes, doing the exercises that Marshall describes.

EXERCISE: What do you value?

On the Needs Wheel (see Resources), identify what needs might have motivated you to participate in an NVC discussion Group.