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A powerful tool for relating

Posted: March 11, 2012 - 12:02am

Whether a teacher, father, mother, sister, colleague, friend, or partner — communication is the bond which connects us. And how we communicate impacts the quality of these relationships. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a powerful tool to bring skillful communication techniques into our lives.

NVC (also referred to as Compassionate Communication) is a practical, learnable process for communicating with empathy, honesty, power and compassion. It integrates personal development with social change. The purpose of NVC is to ensure everyone’s needs are valued equally and fulfilled in ways that contribute to connection, harmony, and peace. It develops people’s abilities to listen to and transform blame, anger and criticism into respectful, constructive communication, and to resolve conflicts peacefully.

This March, Kathleen Macferran will be sharing NVC with the Juneau community through a weekend workshop. Kathleen is a certified trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication and graciously agreed to return to Juneau on a sparse budget so this project could happen. Kathleen is one of 250 people worldwide who have been certified as a Trainer for the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) and has offered trainings to schools, community groups, churches, hospitals, families, correctional officers and prison inmates.

Last year I received a scholarship from AWARE to attend an NVC training. Prior to this, I thought NVC was a blanket term referring to communication that is not aggressive. Since then, I’ve learned that NVC is a much more tangible system which entirely transformed how I think about and approach conflict. Speaking with others who had attended this training was helpful as I began to practice NVC techniques in daily life. I was tentative as I first tried out this new approach and was shocked by how effective active listening, self empathy, and genuine requests were when practiced mindfully. Importantly, NVC can be practiced very effectively with individuals who have never encountered such training, as it’s built on principals of intrinsic human nature.

This experience inspired me to share NVC training and practice in the Juneau community. As a SAGA AmeriCorps Connections Member, I have the opportunity to pursue a self directed Community Action Project which addresses a community need. After identifying this topic, I quickly realized there existed overwhelming support for more accessible and consistent NVC training in Juneau. If there is interest, this workshop will continue with an ongoing practice group following an NVC workbook.

To register, please call 609-902-3965 or email
clairemurphyduluth@gmail.com. The workshop will take place at the University of Alaska Southeast Glacier View Room from 6-8 p.m. March 23, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., March 24 and from noon-6 p.m., March 25. Suggested tuition is $150 but no one will be turned away due to lack of funds. Reduced rates are available for UAS students.

Many thanks to co-sponsors including the Juneau Buddhist Peace Fellowship, AWARE, SAGA, UAS, and the Juneau People for Peace and Justice.

• Murphy is an Americorps Connections service member in Juneau. She can be reached at clairemurphyduluth@gmail.com.

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