Getting our needs met


NonViolent Communication (NVC) Coaching.

The label may sound dramatic, but the concept is simple. NVC is a four part process that allows us to discover what we’re feeling and needing (and what our loved ones are feeling and needing) and teaches us how to communicate so we can get our needs met. It’s a mindfulness practice that lets us hear what’s going on in our heads with clarity.

In Wrestling Ghosts, Joshua Hathaway is Kim and Matt’s NVC coach. He shows them how to move from judgment and blame to understanding and compassion for themselves and each other. In one instance, with Joshua’s help, Kim is able to understand that the names she calls herself “lazy, broken, selfish” are her inner “Mean Voice.” Joshua helps her identify that her Mean Voice has a need: to feel competent, to contribute to the wellbeing of her family, to feel whole. Instead of shunning the voice (which we all know doesn’t work!), she can now feel compassion for her and soothe her.

NVC also allows us to connect deeply with our loved ones. In this clip, we see how Kim shares her despair with Matt. See how Matt, prompted by Joshua, reflects and repeats what he hears Kim say and makes some guesses about her feelings. As a result, Kim feels heard and the two of them are closer, more connected.

NVC is a powerful skill to develop in parenting, as well. Ana Joanes, the director of Wrestling Ghosts and mother of 3, was inspired to make this movie by a little book about NVC parenting by Inbal Kashtan. NVC teaches us how to reconnect with our children after a disconnect. It’s a tool that helps us truly listen to our children and to untangle our fears about them. NVC teaches a lot of practical skills and helps us build more JOY and CONNECTION in our families.  

The principles of NVC are simple but the practice is hard: most of us have not learned to connect with our feelings and needs. What’s truly wonderful about NVC is that it’s a skill you can learn and practice on your own. Taking a class or getting coaching is amazing, but NVC is free to learn and practice. We highly recommend starting by reading this book.  Check out our intro class here, or the great online resources offered by the Bay Area NVC Academy.