Empathy matters

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Welcome to Empathy matters

I’m Cath Burke and I offer communication trainings to the general public and within organisations mostly in London, as well as one-to-one and couples support, based on what I have learned about Nonviolent Communication (NVC) from Marshall Rosenberg, Robert Gonzales, and numerous other NVC trainers. Some of my workshops explore embodying NVC through mindful movement and dance.

What is Nonviolent Communication?

NVC, also known as Empathic or Compassionate Communication, is a practical process for relating to ourselves and others with understanding and empathy. It is about much more than simply the words we use.

When can it be helpful?

In all kinds of everyday situations we can find ourselves feeling annoyed, anxious or upset. We might get into arguments with our partner, kids, colleague, boss, an organisation, government, the world! Or sometimes we simply don’t get the quality of connection we would like in a particular relationship and there’s a sense that something is missing. Perhaps someone just doesn’t understand or appreciate us. Sometimes we are conflicted internally, not knowing which decision to make or wishing, too late, that we had done something differently. It could be that we’re feeling down and stuck in self-criticism.

What are the benefits?

As we practise listening and understanding, a warmth and ease can emerge where there was tension and conflict. And as we speak with clarity and kindness we are empowered and uplifted. We discover a willingness to act in ways that respect everyone’s needs and values. In turn this frees us to fully enjoy our relationships and our life.

How does NVC work?

NVC helps us become aware of common ways we are drawn into disconnection from and conflict with those who have different views. We learn to recognise the narrow focus of the lens through which we view the world. We see that much of our thinking consists of unhelpful judgments, interpretations and comparisons, which result in defensive behaviour, denying and ignoring. 

The process of NVC encourages an awareness of our thought patterns and a questioning attitude to their absolute truthfulness.  It gives us a choice about believing all the thoughts we have about ourselves and others.

NVC offers us another lens through which to view life by drawing our attention to universal values  - such as safety, recognition, autonomy - as the underlying motivation for every word and human behaviour.  From this perspective we can see our own and each other’s humanity because heart-based values are common to us all.  Through this lens, the possibility of a different quality of connection opens up.