Change your conversation, change your life.

“Our goal is to create a quality of empathic connection that allows everyone's needs to be met.”
– Dr. Marshall Rosenberg

I care deeply about kids, parents, and teachers.  I see so much pain out there, for example when youth disparage each other at school or over social media, or when a parent yells in frustration at their kids in the grocery store, or when a teacher labels a child defiant or a child hits a teacher.  I worry about the impact of these painful strategies on our choices as young people, parents, spouses, teachers, and others. 

For example, if a young person becomes disengaged at school after receiving messages about being useless or lazy, he (or she) might conclude that it’s his fault, especially if the evaluations come from an important adult in their lives. He might then choose to hand out with others who are disenchanted and, in their longing to fit in, make choices around drugs, alcohol, and the law that don’t support their own happiness, safety, and choices.   

If we happen to be those adults – and even if we are more or less angels, we may have moments that we are – does that mean that we are bad or are failures?  No.  We are all doing the best we know how and often care very deeply. We may feel guilt, shame, and despair that we aren’t succeeding as well as we’d like in guiding the young people in our care or in communicating with other adults such as our spouses.  We might heap piles of criticism on ourselves like, “I swore I’d never do that to my kids! I’m an awful parent!” or “I’m an idiot!”  We may regret the choices we made.  These self-judgments are painful – and I known from experience that feeling guilt or shame can make it even harder to stay grounded and model compassion!

I love the fundamental assumption in collaborative communication offered by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg that everything we do is to meet a need.  It’s the strategies we choose that get us into trouble, not our hopes and longings. Awareness of the language of needs gives rise to natural compassion and a great deal of creative choices that will meet our needs and those of others.

Consider these contrasting pairs of communications.  Which would you prefer to be on the receiving end of? 

You're lazy!"

             

OR      

"I'm tired tonight and would really appreciate some help cleaning up so that I can relax soon. Would you be willing to wash the dinner dishes while I clean up the counters?"

"Get out of here!"

OR

"I'm really frustrated right now and need to pause.   When I have calmed down, we can continue this conversation."

"Why don’t you ever spend any time with me?! You’re always working and when you have free time, you go play football with your buddies! If you loved me, you'd spend more time with me!"

 OR

"I noticed that you worked late four nights this week and that, on Friday evening, you went to play football with Ben and John. Thank you for working so hard to care for the family. I’m happy, too, that you could be with your friends. I’m also noticing that I’m feeling lonely and I would also really like to connect with you. I love your company. Would you come out to dinner with me tonight?"

“Criticism, analysis, and insults are tragic expressions of unmet needs,”
-- Dr. Marshall Rosenberg.

I can teach you how to say what you really want, clearly and with kindness.  We can all learn it and then we can model it for the young people in our lives.  Together, we can transform our relationships and communities!

Examples of people who could benefit from my services:

  • Parents longing to raise kids in a low-stress collaborative way that fosters mutual respect and support. 
  • Parents and children longing for concrete strategies to overcome painful "bullying" issues.
  • Spouses or partners wishing to resolve their differences more ease-fully or to strengthen their quality of connection.
  • Teachers hoping to support children who disrupt classroom activities to behave in ways that support classroom harmony and personal engagement in learning. 
  • Individuals longing to be less harsh and judgmental with themselves.

Through training and practice, you can learn to

  • Make requests that others want to honour;
  • Self connect through a strong feelings and needs vocabulary and grounding strategies;
  • Make clear observations that keep the lines of communication open;
  • Listen empathically using clear, simple strategies;
  • Become comfortable with strong feelings;
  • Get to the root of the issues and understand what really matters to you;
  • Generate creative solutions with buy-in from all the parties;
  • Speak to yourself with greater compassion;
  • Stay empathetic and calm in the face of strong emotions; and
  • Build more trust and joy in your relationships.

Options include individual and group training such as my 8-week Living and Parenting from the Heart course.  Custom training is also available, as is personal or couple coaching.  Please contact me at 780 933-5542.