Non-Violent Communication – Marshall Rosenberg
Non-violent communication is a method of communication that enriches life for all parties engaged in discussion. The four basic steps of non-violent communication are to make non-judgmental observations (thoughts), recognize how those thoughts create an emotional reaction (feelings), identify what needs are not being met because of this emotional reaction (needs), and ask for what will fulfill those needs (request). Basically, non-violent communication is empathic communication that clarifies and strengthens relationships. Non-violent communication can be used in the thoughts we have about ourselves, in personal relationships, and any kind of social or work group setting. Whenever conflict, unease, or tension arises in a conversation, non-violent communication helps connect to the underlying and often unexpressed needs contributing to miscommunication.
Rosenberg clearly outlines the principles and applications of non-violent communication in his book. Having practiced clinical psychology for years, his background as a therapist adds both to his authority on the subject and the relevance of the content. He draws on his own personal practice and life for examples, as well as offering examples from people attending workshops to learn about non-violent communication. He outlines the non-violent communication process in a clear and logical manner, starting with the most basic pieces before putting it together in a process, and offering examples throughout. Even though empathic communication can sometimes get obscured in heady theories of therapy, Rosenberg makes it accessible and relevant for everyone by showing how daily interactions and personal relationships can be improved with non-violent communication.
By the end of the book, it’s almost impossible to find any area of disagreement with Rosenberg. He provides compelling examples, addresses potential areas of difference, and writes with sincerity throughout the entire book. Rather than lecturing about how to improve communication, he seems to be offering his book as a resource for who might be interested (which is everyone, as he explains). Hi book is a perfect example of non-violent communication in action. The only thing that frustrated me about reading the book was that many times I couldn’t anticipate the non-violent responses in all the example conversations. He makes the process seem so easy, but more often than not, I found myself constructing different sentences than those offered as examples. However, he emphasizes that non-violent communication takes practice, mostly because it’s not the way our culture is taught to interact with each other. Whether or not you think you’d ever use non-violent communication, I highly recommend this book because chances are it will benefit you at some point in the future.