Learn the basics of Nonviolent Communication.
Nonviolent or Compassionate Communication (NVC) was founded around 1970 by Marshall Rosenberg, who grew up in Detroit and wanted to find a solution to gang violence. He later went international with NVC; bringing this empathetic, effective, and collaborative communication style across communities in countries at war with each other. It involves a 4-part model with observations, feelings, needs, and strategies that can be applied to any conflict; personal or professional. This model brings understanding and connection between all involved in order to meet as many needs as possible in any given situation. With NVC, you’ll develop a skill; an empathetic muscle that helps you make effective decisions in your day-to-day moments and major life choices - both within yourself and in working with others.
Willow will provide a 6-part series of classes as described below:
Class 1, March 21st: Feelings and Universal Human Needs
Class 2, April 18th: Pure Observations and Strategies to meet your needs
Class 3, May 23rd: Three ways to respond to a conflict: self empathy, giving empathy, and honest expression
Class 4, June 20th: Refine requests to carry out your strategy
Class 5, July 18th: Prepare for difficult or meaningful conversations
Class 6, August 22nd: Applying NVC in a natural way
As skills taught in this class series will build on themselves, attendance at as many sessions as possible is encouraged. However, participants do not need to attend all sessions; any skill sessions you missed can be made up through private appointments with the instructor.
Accompanying each class, there will be an optional follow-up practice session a week later. Willow will provide activities and exercises that will help you integrate and practice what was in the last class. Practice groups are common in NVC as times where members will have the opportunity to gain confidence in giving each other empathy using the model's 4 steps: offering guesses on observations, feelings, needs, and strategy.
Expect these sessions to be mostly participant-led, with guidance from the instructor for communication to stay at a safe and comfortable-enough level, while still supporting challenges and growth. Everyone within this group agrees to confidentiality; a policy of 'stories that are shared in practice group, remain in practice group.' You are welcome to come to participate at your own level of choosing, whether it’s with just observation, practicing with light-hearted topics, or (after checking in with the group) heavier topics. Most people leave practice groups feeling grounded, compassionate, curious, and/or connected.
Willow Wightman has been studying Nonviolent or Compassionate Communication for 5 years. She started after she was in the Wright State University Peace Club and attended her first NVC class at Dayton International Peace Museum. Along the way she has been in a Shamanic Apprenticeship for 4 years and worked as an Registered Behavior Technician using Applied Behavior Analysis as a therapist for kids ages 3-20 on the spectrum. Before that she trained dogs and horses, and still does with her business Sunshine Pet Sitting and Training that she has been running on and off for 10 years. She moved to Athens last year with her husband after he finished his degree at Hocking College and the two fell in love with the Appalachian community. They built a tiny home - a Bow Top Vardo - and Willow hopes to bring her training, healing, and communication skills to multiple sustainability communities in the area and eventually around the country.