Non-violent communication according to Marshal B. Rosenberg

"When I see a, I feel b because I need c.
Deshalb möchte ich jetzt gerne d.“

Marshal B. Rosenberg

Nonviolent Communication (GFK) is a concept developed by Marshall B. Rosenberg. It should enable people to interact with each other in such a way that the flow of communication leads to more trust and joy in life. In this sense, GRP can be helpful in everyday communication as well as in peaceful conflict resolution in personal, professional or political life. The focus is not on getting other people to act in a certain way, but rather on developing an appreciative relationship that enables more cooperation and joint creativity in living together. Sometimes the terms "empathetic communication", "connecting communication", "language of the heart" or "giraffe language" are also used.

Assumptions of NVC

The four steps of the CSF are observation, feeling, need, desire:

  1. Observation means to describe a concrete action (or omission) without mixing it with an evaluation or interpretation. The point is not to evaluate, but to separate the evaluation from the observation so that the other person knows what is being referred to.
  2. The observation triggers a feeling which is perceptible in the body and which can be combined with several or one ...
  3. desire is connected. This refers to general qualities that probably every person on earth would like to have in their life, such as security, understanding, contact or meaning. According to the GFK, feelings are an expression of whether or not a need is being fulfilled, a kind of indicator. Needs are very important for empathic contact, because they show the way to a creative solution that suits everyone involved.
  4. From the desire finally emerges a request for a concrete action in the here and now. In order to make it as fulfilling as possible, requests and wishes can be distinguished: Requests refer to actions in the here and now, whereas wishes are more vague, refer to conditions ("be respectful") or to events in the future. The former are easier to fulfil, and therefore have a better chance of success. Rosenberg also suggests that requests should be formulated in a "positive language of action" - that is, saying what one wants instead of what one does not want. A distinction can be made between a request for action (for example, to clear out the dishwasher) and a request for a relationship (for example, to describe one's own feelings).

Also as an attitude for empathic listening, Rosenberg recommends filtering out these four pieces of information from what the other person is saying, as they usually represent the heart of the message. To check whether his interpretation is correct, the listener can offer what he hears in the form of the four steps ("Do you feel ... because ... you care?"). This can also be helpful if the speaker himself gains more clarity about what he actually wants to express through this mirroring. Pronounced and silent empathic listening is an essential aspect of the application of GRP.

According to Rosenberg, the formal basic model is a kind of transitional aid for mindfulness training but not a substitute for everyday language. It usually takes considerable practice before the CSF in everyday language becomes fluent communication.

Marshal B.Rosenberg (died in February 2015) together with Peter Pressnitz,

When problem solving in conversation is not possible and for setting limits, Rosenberg speaks of the protective use of power, which he distinguishes from the punitive use. While the latter focuses on changing human behaviour on the basis of self-hatred, the former is about preventing further injuries and providing protection from which the willingness to get back in touch can emerge in the first place.

Wertemanufaktur works among others with the Austrian management consultancy B2B-Empathy and Mag. Peter Pressnitz.


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