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Nonviolent Communication with Bev Stratton

Nonviolent Communication


Hear the Heart

Bev Stratton Therapist lilacs

Seek the feelings behind the words.


Every judgment is a “tragic expression of an unmet need.”  

When we can hear someone’s feelings and needs

and they can hear ours,

we feel understood. 

We are having a different kind of conversation. 

Then we can solve our problems.

Go Deeper. . .

Marshall Rosenberg developed Nonviolent Communication to help people all over the world learn to tune into the feelings and needs that underlie misunderstandings and conflict.  He says that “making life wonderful” is what we long to do, and what we do naturally, by giving to one another and receiving from one another when we know another’s feelings and needs. 

NVC teaches that connection comes first, but the way we speak and listen to one another can get in the way of that connection.  Rosenberg uses giraffe ears (giraffes have the biggest heart) and a jackal puppet to help us sort out compassionate communication from the “jackal” way of speaking (criticism, sarcasm, blame, etc.) that our culture models.

All judgment …

is a tragic expression

of an unmet need.

–Marshall Rosenberg

The solution will find us

when the connection is there.


When she hears your needs

without hearing any criticism or demand,

and you her hear needs,

without any criticism and demand,

the solution will find you. 

The conflict will resolve itself.


–Marshall Rosenberg


Nonviolent communication invites us to give ourselves empathy so that we can give it to others.  It teaches us to make neutral observations, to listen for another’s feelings (rather than react to their thoughts), and to conjecture the needs associated with those feelings.  When we name our own feelings and needs and when we make requests that are not critical or demanding, others are more likely to respond positively to us.  We can learn to recognize that another person’s judgments of us signal their unmet needs.

Marshall Rosenberg Nonviolent Communication

My Experience with NVC

I have attended workshops and am self-taught in NVC.  When clients want help with communication and need guidance, I often turn to NVC.  We practice its four-part model of observation, feeling, need, and request.  Clients say it is helpful.  

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