CIA Session Summary

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This is a summary of all the recorded sessions at the Compassion in Action 2006 event in Oakland, CA. I have made an attempt to classify each session under a single descriptive title, merely to meet needs for clarity and learning. Question can be embedded in this to clarify action items, timeframes, responsibilities, and circle membership. The titles which I describe below include:


NVC Community Support

These sessions involved trainings or brainstorming about how to build stronger NVC training programs in the local communities. These sessions dealt addressing conflict, fundraising, coaching as a career, building a corporate training practice, finding Spanish language resources, marketing NVC workshops, retaining trainees, researching NVC effectiveness, building an organization, and listening to feedback about what might better support the local NVC communities. If each of these developed into web pages for detailed information about these support subjects through the efforts of one or more people, needs for progress, contribution and effectiveness might be met accross the NVC-USA Project.

Conflict in NVC Communities (Kit Miller) – With 30 people attending, it was acknowledged that there had been a great deal of pain in building NVC communities, which also may not have met needs for ease, efficiency, and valuing oneself. The session included a wish for learning that these conflicts are normal, and that resources be made available for those communities and individuals struggling through an NVC community conflict. Small groups thought about typical issues and brainstormed strategies for prevention and resolution. The conflict issues and resolution strategies are listed in the notes. There was general commitment to carry some of these strategies forward. a) Is anyone willing to take leadership in this area? Kit Miller? b) Can we get this list put up on an official page for NVC Communities?

Fundraising in Harmony with NVC (Lynn McMullen) – Participant needs around fundraising may have included inspiration, action, coordination, integrity, competence, growth, effectiveness, support, and a combination of meaning and financial security. Some suggestions and specific opportunities (Scholarship for Peace) were mentioned and some resources as links were provided. Linda did some training on a needs met from giving and receiving: freedom, trust, contribution, inspiration, hope, and sense of community. People give through you (not to you). Inspire others by telling them what inspires you! Some time was also spent discussing how CNVC supports fundraising through projects. Also there was a discussion about major gifts in $1,000-5,000 range versus large gifts and grants. Then a suggestion was made: carry request list and make requests of everyone. Finally a description of how to make a request for funds was provided.

NVC Coaching as a Career (Bob Gailer) – Several people who have been using NVC in coaching were participants who shared their own experiences, while others were looking at making NVC a career, and may have wanted guidance and support. Some ideas provided by Bob to help create and grow a coaching business. Self doubt is a common experience, of coaches.

NVC Heretics – The Loyal Opposition (John Abbe and Lisa-Marie) – Maybe this was an empathy session for the troups in the trenches relative to their dealings with the NVC community and the CNVC organization. Issues raised and maybe discussed included competition among trainers, voice to local communities, language, staff giraffe training, what MBR said did not reflect what was seen in Israel, sociocracy, lack of trust and caring in community, certification process, whether the NVC community uses NVC in their conflicts, shifting from what isn’t working to what can work, and needs for honesty, responsive support, and trust. Choice among these issues to focus on was certification. Suggested what can work:

Spanish-Language NVC Resources (Saundra Thomas) – The new Spanish translation of “Communicacion no violenta: un lenguaje de vida” was announced to be available now. Several resources were provided:

  1. A search of web site for the word ‘spanish’
  2. Published material: [1] and [2]
  3. Links to NVC supporters in: Mexico, Columbia, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Spain
  4. Mexico/México/mx, México City, Instituto Luz sobre Luz, office 55 52 11 33 46 525552113346, fax 5555532158 525555532158, web site: [3], email
  5. Argentina/ar, Buenos Aires, CNV Argentina, web site: [4] b. e-mail
  6. Spain/España/Espanya/Espainia/Espanha/es, Madrid, La Comunicación No Violenta en España, home 91 287 4890 0034 912874890, mobile 675839820 0034 616244229, web site: [5], e-mail

NVC in the Corporate World (Ann Salsburg) – Ann shared experience of teaching management trainers at Wells Fargo Bank, but there was no follow up. Others also shared their experiences to address questions raised by participants. Some of suggestions included:

How Do I Market My NVC Workshop? – Advertisement does not pay, but word of mouth is very efficient. Make 10 to 40 minute presentations to existing groups or do shows on local TV stations. Use examples relevant to people in group. Offer discounts if someone brings someone. Practice groups and regular trainings are key. Contact no-shows by phone.

Retention of Learners of NVC (Mary MacKenzie) – Observation is that a large percentage of persons exposed to basic courses in NVC do not engage in further learning. Concern is that large amount of practice and study is needed for fluency and NVC consciousness. One participant had ideas for retention: a) a clear sequence of courses and trainings, b) several different types of intensive non-residential trainings, c) a variety of single session topical workshops, and d) a monthly newsletter. Actions included:

NVC Research for Dummys (Tom Caruso) – Tom explained why you might want to do research and how you might proceed. Reasons include validating NVC to others and supporting growth of NVC, finishing a PhD, or just determining whether a training did what you wanted it to do, and how you might improve your training. He suggest that you find a mentor or someone to do the research for you who has degree in psychology, communications or sociology with experience in evaluation. He spoke about several specific research projects he is doing in Christiansburg, VA and San Diego, CA as examples, and explained the mission of the NVC Research Committee: to increase peer-reviewed publications on NVC research by supporting people who want to do NVC research. Tom indicated that at there are several surveys and other resources for researchers.

NVC Organization from Scratch – A list of action steps were provided including:

Sharings and Connections

This topic includes sessions that seemed to involve a lot of group sharing about what was personally alive for them. These sessions dealt with working with people with strong political, religious, race and class opinions, the desire for a sustainable community, challenges of working in schools, protective use of force issues, relationships among men, and difficulties of participant experiences with open space during the conference. Many offered hope and strategies following discussions of needs. It seems that many of these areas could develop into support areas in which specialists might develop to lead empathy circles for those struggling with these issues.

Breaking Down Race and Class Divides (Miki Kashtan) – Sharing of some needs around this issue of race and class divides maybe meeting needs for connection and being heard, and experiences that have worked possibly meeting needs for hope. Brainstorming of ideas about how to break down race and class divides possibly meeting needs for inspiration. Question of how do we come up with leaders in this area?

Living in Sustainable Community – Participants wanted to share feelings, needs, visions, and dreams. Needs that would be met by living in a sustainable community included support, shared values and interests, closeness, community, growth, support of others (elders and addicts), commitment to working through issues, ease, honesty, and empathy. Specific community opportunities were mentioned (contact for DC/Virginia communities, also Port Townsend, WA community called Kees Kloff with 10 acres open to NVC, and Willits, CA community) as an example of current opportunities. Some participants may experience fear about making a commitment to a group. Challenges of such communities were raised. An event and several websites and other media mentioned to support people interested in sustainable communities.

Making American Political Life Wonderful Through NVC OR Applying NVC to Politics (Drew Johnson) – Individuals talked about their own experiences and the needs met or, more often, not met. Seemed like participants may have had need for empathy regarding their experience of politics today, as well as NVC experiences they have had concerning politics. I wonder where the empathy team was for this session?

Tracking the Educational Evolution (Sura Hart and Adrian Reznik) – Some history about the NVC in Schools project was first shared, and Sura’s specific experience at a Charter School in LA for which an attempt was made to transform the view from “power-over” to sharing a consciousness of needs in which everyone’s needs are cared for equally supporting children, parents and educators. Sura explained the challenges considering this was a young, unstable organization with educators needing much empathy. Sura explained the biggest challenges, conditions needed for realizing the paradigm shift in education, and emerging programs in schools. Currently ongoing resources mentioned including:

Protective Use of Force and Civil Disobedience (Clark Foerster) – Clark shared learnings about ignoring information and the impact it has had in history. He wants to be screaming in Giraffe about needs of all beings, and alerting others to how specific strategies may not meet these needs. Clark wants to see more transformatic actions that change the structural nature of relationships altering the course of possibilities. Civil disobedience may be a strategy for screaming in Giraffe to stop government decisions which do not meet the needs of the world community. Gandhi used as example, and much more. Discussion followed to express sadness triggered by limited discussion on NVCSocialChange listserv because needs for connection and community were not being met. Some expressed fears that potential employers were using web-based information to make hiring decisions, so putting information on the web did not meet their need for safety. Ended with possible action to address security in the discussion group to have further online discussion.

Men Laughing and Crying (Marc Scruggs) – This man yearns connection with men in a respecting and empathic environment. Men’s groups don’t meet this need, but he has a vision that a group of men using NVC would meet his needs. Relates his own experience with becoming a new father again, maybe needing empathy for needs associated with his relationships with his father and daughter. He’s clearly wanting to be a father that meets the needs of his children for nurturing and support, i.e. being a ‘good parent’. Furthermore when he thinks about his relationships with men he sometimes feels scared and overwhelmed, I wonder if he needs to feel valuable as a male? He’s afraid of anger, maybe because he likes control? He’s confused about why he doesn’t take action which I’m guessing is related to his needs for integrity and self-value. Others who heard this expressed hope that this clarity of his needs might stimulate him to take action in the future. His vision is that men can transform strategies of starting wars, polluting the environment, etc. into constructive strategies.

Bringing NVC to S.U.V. America: A Brainstorm (Drew Johnson) – Unmet needs of participants may have been safety, ease, authenticity, integrity, contribution, and empathy. To support these needs, participants shared experiences in which NVC was used to communicate with ‘conservative’ individuals. One participant explained their strategy to illustrate NVC with Christian teachings. Participants also asked about how our patterns with NVC affect our ability to communicate with SUV America. This included the special words required by NVC and how trainers either want participants to come to them, or if they go out to the community. Convener provided additional backup material on the website including an illustrative example, a discussion about NVC relative to levels of consciousness (i.e. Ken Wilber philosophy), notes from Speaking Peace in World of Conflict by MBR, and translating NVC into languages. Brainstorming then generated the following possible actions:

Grounding Open Space in NVC Connection (Informal at Lunch) – Participants shared about their open space experience, with a sense of loss of connection in large groups and with people we didn’t know before this event, and a sense of loss concerning the purpose and theme of the conference. Some suggestions were made for future open space meetings:

  1. Use dyads in large group session, especially the first one;
  2. Invite other strategies for connection to the purpose and to each other before sessions are offerred;
  3. Plan only one day at a time;
  4. Provide structured activity for connection and self-connection; and
  5. Use some group games.

Regarding the above passage: A 501C3 is needed when you start collecting donations, or you can collect through organizations like the National Heritage Foundation;

NVC Trainings

These sessions were clearly trainings provided by one or two trainers in which a specific NVC-based skill was being conveyed. The trainers taught about how to maximize your leadership potential, savoring needs and values, interactive NVC introductions, slowing the NVC process, transforming Jackal Mind into a spiritual gift, and parenting. Each of these could be produced as courses for the NVC Academy to support trainers.

Unleashing Your Power as an NVC Leader (Miki and Inbal Kashtan) – Ask two simple questions: (1) What is your biggest vision of yourself that taps into the place where we know who we are and what we can bring into the world? And (2) What is one message why I can’t transform it? Then use NVC to tap into feelings and needs in that message by using a specific instance. Use a partner or a triad.

Savoring Your Own Needs & Values (Met or Unmet) – Discussed shifting attention from whether needs are met or not to experiencing the power and aliveness of your needs. This session was videorecorded and is on NVC Live, but no notes were posted.

Interactive Intros and Communication Tube (Jean) – Description of an interactive introduction to NVC. • Email description of circular model to represent NVC (Jean)

Slowing the Process – Explanation of needs met by slowing down the training process, as well as strategies for slowing the process. This method uses body awareness, body language, energy level, what is going on with yourself vs. what is going on with someone else, and awareness of our responsibility for what we experience.

Transforming the Jackal Mind Deep Structure and Spirituality (Robert Gonzales; Recorded for NVC Live on NVC Academy) – Robert, who in my judgement may have been the clearest analytical thinker about NVC, described the structure and content of the mind as two dimensions operating in jackal thinking. The structure has constant quality while the content is variable changing with circumstance. Robert notices that with many people, even with efforts to connect with the feelings and needs behind the jackal, jackal thinking persists, i.e. reemerges with specific stimuli. So Robert recommends a deep analysis of the jackal and its ‘beliefs’, which are the result of a direct experience and an interpretation. My reading is that Robert went deep into the psychological importance of needs. Understanding these two components of mind is important for this deep analysis: STRUCTURE of Mind: Mediated experience, thoughts, fundamentally empty and with no life, and though they convey meaning they are meaningful by themselves, causing striving and identification with content, thereby limiting our experience; and CONTENT of Mind: Notions of self, life and others, that “I am not good enough”, “something is wrong with me,” “I don’t matter,” etc. and that there is not enough time, money, love, etc. or life is a struggle and painful. Robert says exchanging one belief like “I am unworthy” with another like “I am OK” does not stop the mind from striving for outer fulfillment. Instead, gradually authentically connect to presence, care, compassion, and clarity from consciousness of these patterns. Follow these steps:

Parenting (Inbal Kashtan) – Discussed the question: why is parenting with NVC is so challenging? Participants want to contribute to, to trust in choices of their children will develop independence and wellbeing, to support, to be inspired and to inspire, to come from compassion, to respect each other mutually, and to believe that the child is and will be safe from harm.

Possible Subprojects

These sessions are potential Subproject opportunities for the NVC USA Project if a leaders and circles can be defined for them. The sessions included promoting NVC a la Gandhi and MLK, marketing NVC, selling training globally to the Mankind Project and Women Within, marketing NVC workshops, expanding NVC mediation, creating an NVC EcoVillage, developing the Southern CA Regional NVC Network, integrating arts education with NVC, connecting playback theatre and NVC, and developing online NVC training. Some of these are already forming circles (such as the Southern CA Regional NVC Network) but specific support from the NVC USA Project might encourage these projects which could have an important impact on expansion of NVC in the US.

Nonviolent Action a la Gandhi and MLK (Lee Tuley) – Lots of needs being unmet as the result of violence in the world – need for the well-being of all people, effectiveness, efficiency, being heard, respect for human life, communication, compassion, empathy, authenticity, understanding by others, nurturing, action, and personal growth – and many suggestions for nonviolent strategies:

Marketing NVC (Dennis McMann) – Idea was to bring NVC to the development of a marketing message for different target communities. Targets suggested included youth, yoga teachers and students, church congregations, law enforcement, school children, parents, prisoners, Native Americans, Spanish-speaking people, couples, teachers, school administrators, mediators, social and pyschological therapists, psychiatrists, nurses, physicians, hospital administrators, political and peace activists, business people, conservative religious groups, crisis support centers, social services, and people interested in healing, natural foods, or personal growth. These were divided into those with the same language and those who have a barrier due to the language. Specific efforts were made in dyads to define needs of some of these groups and even strategies for accessing them. These groups included Native Americans, disenfrancised NVC participants (the hanger-arounds and the walk-awayers), therapists, parents

National Training Opportunity: Mankind Project & Women Within (Tom Caruso) – The Mankind Project and Women Within were described and discussed as an international training opportunity for increasing exposure of male and female leaders in the world to NVC. Briefly these programs are based on Jungian ideas of how to gain cognitive understanding of deep psychological patterns of behaviors. Throughout their processes they teach the use of a clear communication structure (data, similar to observation, judgements, feelings, and wants, similar to strategies) missing only needs. Tom has connected to leaders in the Greater Carolina Center of MKP, but does not have the expertise to provide the quality of training he would like. He also thinks that other centers could also be approached, but needs men who have gone through the MKP New Warrior Training Adventure (see

How Do I Market My NVC Workshop? – Advertisement is helpful to build brand awareness about NVC, but most effective when done at national level. The action agreed to was:

NVC Eco Village (Upgeya Pew) – Upgeya used this opportunity to explain the the Six-Fold Pathway for Social Evolution and Community Development. Everyone contributed to visioning of an NVC Eco Village. Some participants shared grief around not meeting needs that would be met by the community envisioned. Two gathering opportunities mentioned: (1) Circles of Hope gatherings in NY (August) and CA (September) of people interested in sustainable community with an NVC component, and (2) Findhorn 30 day intensive in February about creating an eco-village. Several actions were offerred by participants:

Southern California Regional NVC Network Visioning (Rodger Sorrow) – Questions raised included (1) whether setting up a nonprofit would be worthwhile, (2) whether S CA might be divided up into four quarters, (3) whether a Yahoo group might be useful, (4) whether they might just be a program within the existing CNVC nonprofit organization, (5) what might be actions associated with Interdependence Day in September, (6) do they want to use open space technology, (7) would an association of trainers and leaders meet needs of those participating, (8) would it be helpful to have an inner administrative circle with other circles around it for newsletters, trainings, practice groups, etc.? All agreed that consent would be used over consensus. An agenda for a specific event was considered and concerns were expressed concerning structure and intentions. Some actions included:

Expanding NVC Mediation in the USA (Ike Lassiter & John Kenyon) – After scattered comments, participants described their experience and interests in mediation and then Ike and John described their training model. Then the group began to brainstorm and discuss how to expand mediation in the U.S. Some of the actions suggested were:

Connecting Playback Theater and NVC – How playback is used with NVC was explained at this session, and a particular example was used to demonstrate it. Actions were to:

Arts Education and Expressive Therapies in NVC (Marjorie Timms) – Descriptions of current and recent practices, and strategies/tools for experiencing the arts in the context of NVC. Several warm-up exercises with sound, movement and fluid sculpture. Actions were to: a) Create NVC-based school in Northern Idaho for teens using NVC and arts integration and infusion (Marjorie; looking for others interested); b) Explore NVC connection to Playback Theatre by forming a Yahoo group (Marjorie/Lynn/Mark Roberts/12 others); c) develop parent/child performance piece, NVC workshops and initiate a national tour in 2008; d) explore NVC connection with arts education of home-schooled children; e) develop NVC for elementary children labeled as ‘emotionally/behaviorally challenged’; f) discover parent/child connection through the arts.

Online NVC Training (No Session Notes) – This convener is excited about the possibilities to augment face-to-face trainings with online integration and follow-up, to create online trainings for organizations, to enhance NVC learning through exposure to large number of NVC trainers worldwide, and to reach people outside of the usual NVC target communities.

Novel Techniques that Enhance or Use NVC

These sessions involved techniques that can be combined or integrated with NVC to make them both more effective. These included chants for experiencing unconditional love (Angel Wash), focusing more on body awareness, meditating increasing compassion and love, using NVC online, applying NVC principles in psychotherapy, using NVC as basis of playback theatre, manifesting need satisfaction, and building community. These novel approaches are exciting, meeting needs for creativity and connection with others who may have more familiarity with chants, meditation, email, theatre, intentional creation, and community building.

Angel Wash (Mair) – An experience sharing non-verbal unconditional love with singing, meeting needs for presence, self-expression, nurturing, connection, giving, and spiritual grounding.

Learning Your Body’s Language: Creating an Intensity Continuum (Megan Eoyang) – Description of a technique for using body awareness for self empathy. Exercises were provided to experience this technique.

Meditation to Draw in the Energy of Compassion and Love (Nana Dunn) – Know it happenned but there are no notes.

Online Applications of NVC (Drew Johnson) – People came with the following needs: healing, continued connection after geographic separation, and effectiveness at connecting online. Participants explained some of the problems and issues unique to communicating online, and some ideas to solve them.

NVC and Psychotherapy (Jim Hussey) – Discussed how to use to create empathic space in therapy with some direction, and how this was like NVC. If intention is to facilitate needs and desires of participant, then alternative tools that did not evaluate and did not have an agenda were empathic. Legal issues were addressed maybe for those without licensing as therapists, and this can be addressed using the idea of coaching or empathy. Other resources and specific tools mentioned were:

Playback Theatre in NVC (Lynn and Mark) – Explanations and demonstrations provided of use of sound, movement, free play, morphing objects, passing objects, warm-up exercises, treatment of suggestions from the audience, examination of metaphors and literal sense of words, fluid sculpture in response to teller’s request or story, treatment of each story as a gift, and question at end about whether the gift was acceptable. Specific actions or next steps proposed included:

The Sixfold Path of Community Building (Upgeya Pew) – Upgeya explained his version of the Sixfold Model of Contegrity created by Ken Ambender. This path, which is naturally not ordered in real life is:

The Art and Science of Manifesting (Melanie Sears) – Melanie shared her learning inspired by the book “Excuse me, your life is waiting” by Lynn Grabhorn. These techniques when added to NVC leads to getting needs met. Each person shared their dreams, and addressed what needs might be met and how that would feel. Matthew said we should breathe into the feelings to help remember the needs when they come up again. Alternatively we can counter negative judgement by expressing self appreciation daily for 30 days. Resources mentioned included:

Personal tools