Guidelines for sharing NVC for non-CNVC certified trainers

by Milla — she=he

The giraffe has been picked as a symbol for NVC, because of supposedly being the land mammal with the largest heart.

I recently participated in a telecourse called “Naturalizing the Language of NVC” with Miki Kashtan. It was the first in a series of classes, and I had happily tagged along with the first class, since it was for free.

Afterwards I checked if there was interest amongst the other participants to continue this type of practice for free, in a self-organized fashion, and when talking about what might be interesting to work on, two of us discovered that we had self-censored ourselves during the first class. Both of us had had experiences from within NVC spaces, that had been triggering for us, but had chosen not to speak about it, when asked to give examples of challenging situations.

My own example was that I had just a few days before the course read some guidelines for sharing nvc, sent out by cnvc (the center for nonviolent communication), and I had somehow found it very hard to empathize with the letter, or even understand the meaning of it. I had judgmental thoughts about it, wondering how come cnvc had sent this message, since I myself thought it would be ’embarrassing’ to pass on, since I interpret the text as ‘authoritarian’. The message ends with an invitation that I experienced as ‘insincere’ —

“If you still have questions, we will do our best to answer them.  If you have needs that would not be met by agreeing to these guidelines, please contact the CNVC office for further dialogue before you or your group proceeds outside these guidelines. We look forward to working with you in our quest to create a more peaceful world.”

— and, yet I hope to overcome my suspicion, and open my heart to hearing this as a real request and openness to dialogue.

So, I figured that I could do a lot of work on myself with this letter, make an effort to understand the why and what it is I find triggering, as well as make an effort to understand the intention behind the words. I hope to learn a lot from this, and it would be great to formulate questions and statements not from an antagonist point of view, but from a space that’s soft and warm (trusting, open), and then pass this on to cnvc and see what the response might be.

The text I want to work on understanding is copy pasted from a letter that was passed around.

The text can also be read here – Guidelines for sharing NVC for those who are not CNVC certified trainers.

Anybody willing to share comments, thoughts, anything (it can be vague, or direct) about the letter is welcome to make comments on this blog post. Any sharing is useful in my own process of connecting with myself and the text 🙂

Guidelines for Sharing NVC: For Those Who Are Not CNVCCertified Trainers

When you experience the contributions that Nonviolent Communication(NVC) has made to your life, it is often the next step to want to share what you have learned with others. Indeed it is our dream that through our efforts together, all people and organizational structures will deepen in their capacity to relate peacefully and serve life more fully.  We welcome everyone’s participation in spreading the dream about the vision of NVC and we want to inspire you to share authentically and creatively from your heart. The following questions are often asked by individuals who want to share their understanding of NVC with individuals, groups, and organizations.

Why am I starting to see NVC, CNVCand similar terms in italics?
With the recent revision of the CNVC Trainers Agreement and clarification of our trademark agreements, we have become aware that we would like to set our trademarked terms apart from surrounding text for identification, clarity and branding purposes. An easy and effective way to do this is through the use of italics. We request that you consider adopting this strategy in your promotion materials, website, etc, when mentioning the trademarked terms (listed below). Other options for setting apart the trademarked terms are: bold type, capital letters, underscoring, or quotation marks.

If you want to encourage anyone to share NVC, why do you create CNVCCertified Trainers?
Our intention is to encourage people to pass on their valuable learning in ways that are meaningful to them.  We promote the teaching of NVC through our trainer certification program because we value being able to protect the integrity of NVC as a body of teaching. We aim to do this by fostering a community of CNVC Certified Trainers who have the shared experience of the CNVC certification process. Through the certification process, we develop a relationship with and trust CNVC Certified Trainers to communicate the purposes and the intent of Nonviolent Communication in an accurate, thorough, consistent and reliable way.  CNVC Certified Trainers are asked to stay in community with CNVC and other CNVC Certified Trainers, and to make a yearly commitment to support the work and mission of CNVC, along with other agreements that can be found in the CNVC Trainer Agreement. A revised version of the CNVC Trainer Agreement will be available later this year and made publically available for shared understanding.

So anyone can share their own experiences regarding NVC?
Yes! We appreciate you sharing from your experiences and clarifying that your experience is based on your own understanding of Nonviolent Communication.  When you share your experiences using any of the trademarked terms listed below, we request that you acknowledge Marshall B. Rosenberg and mention local or regional NVC organizations and CNVC Certified Trainers, as well as provide CNVC contact information,

Can we advertise or set up formal meetings regarding Nonviolent Communication?
If you are sharing your NVC experiences through a presentation such as a workshop or practice group, we request that you refrain from using the following terms in the headings, titles, or subtitles of your workshops, materials or media promoting your work such as business cards, brochures, email addresses or internet domain names, as these terms are legally protected trademarks, owned or licensed to CNVC. However, feel free to use these terms as you share NVC, and in the body of your materials or media promoting your work.

We have heard requests to create a list of alternative names and/or titles for use by those who are not CNVC Certified Trainers. We would like to support you in your creativity, choice, and freedom to find titles that describe your intent and your own personal focus; we feel that creating a specific list of alternatives might be more limiting than supportive. Instead, we encourage you to be as creative as possible, and we are reminded that there are so many other ways to express the beauty that NVC can bring to our lives.

The trademarked terms include:

o The stylized mark (logo) as registered with the USPTO (reg. no. 2460893):

The following terms are trademarked, but we would like you to continue to use them in pursuit of our shared dream. These terms can be used in the headings, titles, and subtitles of your workshops, or any materials or media promoting your work such as business cards, brochures, and email addresses or internet domain names, with the understanding that the terms will only be identified in connection to Nonviolent Communication. We value using these trademarks to aid consumers who depend upon the Center or Dr. Rosenberg’s products and services, and to help prevent the marks from losing their distinctiveness and becoming generic. We hope your support of these requests will mutually benefit CNVC and your own goals for the sharing of NVC in the world:


Can we say that we are “NVCtrainers”?
CNVC Certified Trainers are identified as being sponsored by CNVC though use of the term “CNVC Certified Trainer” which signifies their connection with CNVC.  In order to avoid any confusion regarding sponsorship, we request that you use terms that are free of the implication of certification or sponsorship by CNVC or any of the first set of trademarked terms listed above on any media or materials such as business cards, brochures, email addresses and website names. (For example, please do not use “NVC trainer,” “NVC mediator,” “NVC facilitator” or any similar terms). We request that you inform those that you share your NVC experiences with that you are not certified by CNVC as a trainer; however, feel free to provide information about your own work, NVC training, and life experiences.

What about using the giraffe image?
The giraffe image can be a powerful metaphor, and can be used to great effect in your sharing of NVC and in promotional materials. You are free to use the image and term giraffe in all materials, with the clear intent that the integrity of NVC is respected. Feel free to use the image, word, and puppets as an effective tool in your sharing of NVC.

Is that all? Do you want any financial return from my workshops?
We would enjoy receiving a donation from you as an expression of the giving and receiving spirit in which we hope you are sharing your NVC experience.  (CNVC certified trainers offer 10% of their training-based income.)  These funds support CNVC in its mission to make NVC available throughout the world.

May I share materials produced by CNVCor CNVCtrainers when I do presentations?
CNVC materials are copyrighted. Please engage in a dialogue with CNVC before using these materials.  Most materials are produced for specific types of training, and we find that the clarity and integrity of these materials are best received when offered within the context for which they were developed. To use materials created by an individual, please check with that person first.  If you produce your own materials, rather than entitling them “Nonviolent Communication,” please be creative and use a different title.  You can refer to “Nonviolent Communication” as you share your experiences, indicating the materials and content are “based on the work of Marshall B. Rosenberg and the Center for Nonviolent Communication,”

If you still have questions, we will do our best to answer them.  If you have needs that would not be met by agreeing to these guidelines, please contact the CNVC office for further dialogue before you or your group proceeds outside these guidelines. We look forward to working with you in our quest to create a more peaceful world.

–Margo Pair, Administrative Director
The Center for Nonviolent Communication  
November 15, 2010

If you are interested in pursuing certification, please visit the “Certification” page and download and read the Certification Preparation Packet (CPP), at the bottom of the page.

And, ending this blog post with footage of giraffes fighting violently, for NVC practitioners who don’t know anything about the life of real giraffes, not the NVC symbol for empathy:  The male giraffes engage in necking. Sometimes for combat, sometimes tenderly caressing,  for sex. Male giraffe behavior includes a high occurrence of same sex courtship and mounting.


AA agreement (safety)

by Milla –– she=he

Today’s song: Joan Armatrading – Save me

This is the concrete agreement that i and a friend worked out after having an argument during one of our early aa-talks on skype. We started about two months ago supporting one another online. The text below is a translation from swedish, of what we wrote down and both okayed after having a talk on what we would need to feel safe in our connection [stability, balance, equality, structure, trust, efficiency, clarity – to mention a few of the needs met by the strategies below]

To nurture a connection that provides safety for the both of us we’ve, so far, agreed on:

— having meetings on tuesdays 7.00 (usa) 17.00 (finland)
— to say in the beginning of the meeting if we need to change the day/time for the next talk

— to communicate (via email, sms, etc) if we won’t be able to meet (preferably 24 hours before, but also just before the meeting if we haven’t known about it until then – for instance: not seeing ourselves as mentally fit for a meeting)

— that conflicts will be discussed and dealt with as they come along:

a) that we can decline discussing topics that don’t directly relate to how we interact/relate with one another (eg. someone preferring apples to oranges)
b) that we can decline discussing a conflict directly relating to how we interact/relate with one another – *momentarily* (in the heat of the moment), and that the conflict will be processed next time we talk.

c) if it’s a difficult conflict, that we can agree on (verbally when we’re experiencing the conflict, or in written text at some later moment) that we both write an email to the other expressing how we’re experiencing the conflict, and that we both give a written response stating how we understood what we read + how we experienced reading what the other had written. this exchange will occur between the skype-meetings (between the meeting when we had the conflict, and the meeting that comes after)


— that we have equal amount of time, and time frames for the talks (eg. A talks for 20 minutes, B reflects what she hears. 5-10 minutes feedback on how the talk was experienced by both. B speaks 20 minutes, A reflects what she hears. 5-10 minutes feedback.)

Hi Hilde

by Milla — she=he (this is a response to Email from Hilde)

"Hi Hilde"

hello hilde,

what i hear from your email is that the exchange on SynergyCommunication and Pondering NVC last summer, shook you up quite a bit, and left you wondering for a long time about human interaction and why it’s so hard to find more harmonious ways of relating to one another. you’re longing to find common humanity, and to understand the many emotional responses and reactions we can have when speaking with one another – it’s not enough for you to know that there are needs at the root – you want to find a way to be more balanced and at peace – and analyzing the self helps you with this – you believe that knowing yourself and your own triggers will make the world more understandable and less disconcerting – you would be able to feel more safe. not so alone.

i hear that you would wish for me to engage in a talk on the matters mentioned above.

i also hear that you would wish for me to be more clear with what i mean when i say that i wish for vulnerability.

could you say if you recognize yourself in the description above?

if i got a weird perception of what you were trying to say, i would appreciate you correcting me or adding information, this would help me experiencing that there’s real understanding and not just two persons talking past one another.

i’m okay with talking through the material/s you’ve sent so far, i can read it through and engage in a talk with you, if this is what you wish for, what’s important for me before we start such a talk, and before i start answering questions about what vulnerability means to me,

would be for us to talk about what would make us feel safe in this talk, i want to know concretely what you would want to feel safe speaking with me, and i would like you to hear me out on what i would want and need. i would like for us to work out an agreement on how to deal with conflict, if something such comes up.

would this be okay with you? — here’s an example of what i mean.

i will be away for a week or two, after which i’m ready to continue this talk with you.

take care,


ps. i’m trying to figure out ways that would feel more connecting for me. i tried to find a way to record webcam as a response to your email, hoping for ease on my part, and also that voice and image would possibly take a bit of the ‘edge’ (the manifold interpretations) that often accompanies the written word. I’m hoping to get webcam-recordings working later. Which might make it easier for us to connect. Or at least that i would feel more relaxed in trying to connect this way – recording my responses and posting them on my blog – sending them to your email as a link.

in general: if you’re interested in speaking on skype, then this would be a more a more fun and efficient option for me than writing/reading emails.

Email from Hilde

posted by Milla – she=he, written by Hilde

Colorful number nine, of ten in the Rorschach inkblot test.

subject line:

“In reply to your last blog entry.”

Hi Milla,

I am choosing to send you this email, but please feel free to put it on
your blog. I just don’t feel comfortable navigating on that place, it
doesn’t work very intuitively for me. If you reply, please send me an
email, that will make things a lot easier for me.

I first wanted to find a state of equanimity before responding to you.
I think I have now.

I would like to tell you briefly what brought me to write to you to
begin with. After the exchanges on the Yahoo discussion groups ended
last summer, I continued to feel puzzled from time to time, wanting to
understand why things went the way they went. In fact this dynamic was
something I had never whitnessed before and the
analyser/puzzler/learner in me holds a strong belief that life and the
world are safe as long as I can understand. Then towards the end of the
year I discovered the Inner Empathy site and suddenly I started to see
a way to understand what happened in those group exchanges. I saw how
when a particular part is active in one person, it can trigger the same
part in another person and how an internal conflict between parts, can
be projected on another person etc. I am not suggesting that anyone in
particular was responsable for all the triggering, in fact it just
happens all the time between people. Of course I am not expecting
everyone to agree with or even have an interest in this theory of parts
psychology but if you are interested and with the purpose of conveying
a theory I am still in the process of assimilating myself with
sufficient accuracy,  here is a link to an outlline of IFS:

So I then started to check out your blog from time to time, wanting to
share this with you because I it seemed just and because it would add
to my sense of safety if you’d end up sharing my view. I started at
least 3 letters but never sent them because I was afraid of being
triggered and having to deal with those triggers. Then last week I
noticed Jonathan had written to you, I guess I felt less alone and
suddenly a bit more courageous and rather impulsively wrote a few
. I hope this helps you understand why I wrote.

Right now my request from you is: If you choose to follow up on the
links I sent you, would you be willing to let me know what you think of
it? And another request: If you want to see more vulnerability from me,
would you be willing to elaborate on what you understand by
“vulnerability”? So far I received your request for vulnerability
accompanied by the belief that “vulnerability” is good or even a must.
Hope that sounds doable?




Here’s my response.

helpful & fun critique on the practice/s of nonviolent communication :)

by Milla — she=he

Today’s songs: Beautiful South – You Keep It All In,  Dead Prez – ‘If i feel it I feel it, if I don’t I don’t, If it ain’t really real then I probably won’t’ (It’s bigger than hip hop)

This blogpost is most likely easier to understand by persons who already know some basics of NVC- Nonviolent Communication. This is about my own learning process, and how painful it has been to sort out what (not) to learn, from the many ways that people choose to pass on their ideas of  what heart-to-heart compassionate connecting communication is like.

I talked with one person who’s been stressing the importance of staying equally grounded in honesty (expressing own feelings and needs), as with empathy (sensing and guessing feelings and needs of the other). It’s as if we have an empathy leg and an honesty leg and we need to walk on both to move further. In nvc-circles, I’ve noticed a strong tendency for people to stay ‘protected’ by staying in ’empathy-mode’ – and fairly often coming across as non-authentic when the guesses are far from my own lived reality, and me experiencing it as them speaking what’s going on for them with me as a ‘cover’. More than once I’ve wished for persons to speak from their own perspective rather than guess what is happening for me. I’d rather people ask me directly what’s going on for me if they want to know – I have no problem sharing. In spite of a communication system with a heavy focus on feelings and needs, vulnerability is still not a big thing amongst nvc practitioners. It’s easier to stay guessing.

The comics above and below are from Sven Hartenstein’s ANVC (Almost Nonviolent Communication) Cartoons 🙂

Apart from staying shielded behind guesses, I’ve also noticed that I feel disconnected (frustrated, irritated, angry, hurt, sad, terrified and so on) when the one/s I’m talking with don’t move beyond feelings and needs to discussing concrete REQUESTs (how to meet the need/s).  Many times I’ve noticed that I get more unmet needs during the ’empathizing’ process than I would if I just keep my mouth shut and find some other way to care for myself – the empathy guesses being like a wall put up to prevent from anything to ever move beyond words into specific action – while the other person gets fully into their role as ”compassionate giraffe’ – I stay shamefully regurgitating the unmet needs that come up for me when the other is emo-guessing and trying to find universality in what’s sickening and agitating for me – ie. not getting heard in my request.

From Helpful critique of nonviolent communication:

“Notice if people do not allow you to make requests. This is the goal of someone who wishes to deflect responsibility from him or herself. If they can keep you talking about your feelings, then they do not have to participate authentically, and never have to hear your requests. Like Rosenberg suggests, focus on your need, and make requests that meet your need. If you focus on your anger, you will make yourself miserable. However, if you allow someone else to force you to continue you talking interminably, especially if they are pop-psychoanalzying you, you are not getting to requests. If you are not getting to requests, you are not getting to agreements, and without agreements there will be no going forward on a basis that is more peaceful, useful, and right relationshiped.


Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
there is a field. I will meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

Song: Tanya Donelly – ‘Our future waits on the field of fair play, I will meet you there someday’ (Darkside) 

An Introduction to Restorative Circles with Dominic Barter

by Milla — she=he

Thinking about community,  thinking about safety.


More to read at Restorative Circles [text] and more to see and listen to at Restorative Circles .