On a mailing list I joined, people brought up their discomfort about using or about not using the term “Nonviolent Communication” (or “NVC”) in their workshop title, as requested by CNVC. I’m writing this blog post in response, so that anyone can read it and participate in a conversation.
The request about not using “NVC” is just a request, right? I’ve pondered this request at length and concluded that (a) I don’t hear an underlying need (despite some pseudo-need language on the site and expressed in person), and (b) clear expression/understanding is better served by my using the term “NVC”, since it clearly conveys what I teach. And I know that whatever the underlying needs are, they can be met with strategies that don’t interfere with my clear expression (and contribution) and my students’ clear understanding (and improved lives). So I decline CNVC’s request, and I use the term freely. If folks in CNVC want to engage in a giraffe dance with me (aimed at connection and meeting all needs fully), I’d be delighted, and I think the organization and I would both benefit.
I have heard the claim that people who hear that someone teaches “NVC” (or “is an NVC trainer”, to use static/to-be language) will assume that the person is certified by CNVC. I don’t believe that claim at all. If I tell you I’m playing Beethoven, would you assume I’m certified by Ludwig van himself, or by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra? Of course not. Certification is just certification. Certification is not NVC. People won’t confuse the two unless their cultural context encourages that confusion. I choose to contribute to clarity, not participate in confusion.
As NVC practitioners, we know that granting a request quickly can result in missing opportunities — opportunities for deep connection at the needs level and consequently meeting needs more effectively than the original request would accomplish. I want to see a deep re-examination and open (to all) dialog about the needs behind CNVC’s strategies of certification and of not using “NVC” in a workshop title. If there were such a re-examination, I’m guessing the beginning would contain familiar old statements like “integrity of the NVC process” or “respect for the copyright”. Given words like “integrity” and “respect”, such statements can be confused with needs, and I imagine a lot of learning and depth would come from dispelling those confusions and going deeper.
Maybe you’ll connect with what I’ve said above, and maybe not. In either case, here’s another angle on the issue — one of my favorite quotes, straight from Marshall’s mouth:
Please do as I requested, only — only if you can do so with the joy of a little child feeding a hungry duck.
Please do not do as I request if there is any taint of fear of punishment if you don’t.
Please do not do as I request to buy my love, that, is hoping that I will love you more if you do.
Please do not do as I request if you will feel guilty if you don’t.
Please do not do as I request if you will feel shameful.
And certainly do not do as I request out of any sense of duty or obligation.
I’d love to hear what’s touched in you in reading this post. If you’re willing to share your response as a comment in this blog post, that’s my preference. If you’d like a more private conversation, you can email me directly.