Many of us are dismayed about the violent rhetoric in politics and on social media. We need ways to be able to communicate across social, cultural, economic and political divides. Both Nonviolent Communication and Focusing, when practiced, are accessible tools for change.

How NVC enhances Focusing

The basic NVC concepts help people learn the Focusing Attitude by experience:

  • Pausing
  • Self-empathy
  • Listening with empathy, without trying to give advice, consoling, trying to fix, etc.
  • Sensing inside
  • The intricacy of the inner world as revealed in the number of feelings and needs there are in any given situation

The “Needs consciousness” of NVC explicitly pauses the usual cultural responses to conflict, opening people to new ways of thinking and reacting.

Looking at a written list of Feelings and Needs is an exercise in resonating with what feels right inside, like Focusing with training wheels!

Dwelling on Feelings and Needs creates a “holding and letting” space where a felt sense can form about the whole, leading to changes in the whole mesh of experiencing.

What Focusing gives NVC

Felt sensing: the bodily felt sense of the situation goes far beyond the categories of “feelings and needs”.

Implicit intricacy: honoring the richness and complexity of each person’s life experience.

Carrying forward: by giving words to the felt sense, the whole situation can transform in ways that seemed impossible to the cognitive mind.

“When a direct referent [felt sense] forms and comes, something has jelled, something has happened, something–a great deal–has fallen into place.”
–Eugene Gendlin, A Process Model, p. 225

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