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Group offers introduction to nonviolent communication



Compassionate Communication Oklahoma (CCO) is offering a free introduction to nonviolent communication from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday on the campus of Oklahoma City University.

Nonviolent communication, or NVC, is a movement and process started by Marshall Rosenberg, a Jewish man who experienced firsthand the effects of anti-Semitism, as well as witnessed the violence directed toward civil rights activists in Detroit, where he grew up.

CCO is partnering with the Wimberly School of Religion at OCU to sponsor the workshop, which features John Kinyon, a trainer certified by the Center for Nonviolent Communication. Thursday evening's event is free and open to the public.

Kinyon defines NVC as "a process in which the goal of communication is to create a certain quality of connection that gets everyone's needs met through 'compassionate giving,' meaning that the giving is done out of the joy of contributing to each other's well-being."

Tom McLain of CCO, also a certified trainer, said he sees NVC being used effectively in many different career fields and interpersonal relationships. "It's used by nurses, health care professionals, teachers and prison employees," he said, "but our No. 1 clients are psychologists. We also have married couples trying to communicate with each other. NVC has saved marriages."

In addition to the business and marital uses of NVC, McLain said the communication strategy is also good for personal growth, especially in the areas of developing emotional vocabulary, getting to the heart of conflicts and hearing the needs behind behavior.

The proponents of NVC cite numerous examples of movement's ability to transform people, institutions and even the world. Kinyon was personally involved in using NVC strategies to work with Afghan tribal leaders in the wake of Sept. 11. McLain said the Oklahoma Academy of Collaborative Professionals, a legal organization, used NVC to mediate in divorce and custody battles in 2008.

McLain said four NVC practice groups are active in Central Oklahoma. "NVC usually grows organically," he said. "Someone reads Rosenberg's book and they invite someone to read it with them. Sometimes it's a Sunday school class, and sometimes it's in an individual's home."

Groups consist of six to 12 members, he said. The book most often studied is Marshall Rosenberg's "Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life."

The free workshop Thursday night will cover the basics of NVC and provide participants with a demonstration of the communication process in action. In addition to the workshop, CCO is offering four additional days of training, including a foundations class and classes for "committed practitioners."

For those who miss the free workshop or any of the other training, McLain said a basic workshop is scheduled for March 7, and an eight-week basic class series will begin March 30. "Greg Horton

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