WHAT IS Nonviolent Communication (NVC)?

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a philosophy and process of communication developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg in the 1960’s. It is based in the idea of compassion and connection with one’s self and with others. NVC has three basic components: Self-Empathy, Empathic Listening, and Honest Expression.

NVC is a practical, learnable process that helps people connect more deeply with themselves and others, based on universal human values. It promotes congruency with one’s values in thought, speech and action.

The purpose of NVC is to create the quality of connection where everyone’s needs are equally valued. It provides strategies to meet needs, which contribute to connection, harmony and peace.

NVC further:

  • Develops one’s ability to transform blame, anger, and criticism into understanding, effective
  • Focuses our attention on what matters most, which leads to efficient, effective language and
  • Strengthens our ability to inspire compassion and teamwork from others. It guides us to reframe communication, and the peaceful resolution of conflict; actions that are full of integrity; and how we express ourselves and how we hear others.


Participants who embody NVC are able to get to the heart of a conflict or dispute quickly and resolve it peacefully. NVC supports self-responsibility, living one’s values in ways that benefit all, and living a life of meaning and purpose. Prisoners who practice NVC and Mindfulness are shown to be less likely to re-offend upon release*.

*See Freedom Project: Suarez, Alejandra, et al. “Freedom Project Nonviolent Communication and Mindfulness Training in Prison.” SAGE Open 4.1 (2014): 2158244013516154, available online here.