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One Day Introduction to Compassionate Communication (Portland, OR)

Finding the words to say how you feel and what's important to you can be difficult. You would like to express yourself in a way others can hear you without defensiveness and misunderstandings. You would like to listen to them in the same way.

Saying what's really true for you, being heard, and hearing others deeply is one of the most satisfying aspects of relationships.  It can also be the most difficult.  Learning these skills doesn't just help with conflict it also helps create more authenticity and connection with the people who are most important to you.

The workshop will be experientially focused.  We will introduce a concept and skill and then you will take time in a structured exercise in a small group or pair to practice and integrate what you are learning.  You will learn using examples that you choose from your own life.

We will cover the following topics:

Misunderstandings - begin to identify the language that interferes with connected and clear communication.

Self-Empathy - learn to create an internal dialogue of compassion for yourself.

Honesty and asking for what you want:  Express your feelings, needs, and requests in a way others want to hear.

Empathy - learn to listen for the truth of what someone is saying regardless of the words they use. 

Anger, guilt, shame, and depression - learn to hear the important message these feelings are sending.

Here is a detailed outline of the day

  • Introduction
    • I will offer a 20 minute introduction to the whole framework and consciousness of NVC on the whiteboard using a sample dialogue.
  • Introduction to Empathy
    • Understanding the difference between empathy and other ways you meet others in difficulty like consoling, sympathy, giving advice, etc.
    • Practice hearing the feelings and needs behind what people say and increasing your vocabulary by guessing feelings and needs behind statements.
    • Jackal Popcorn:  you get to shout out difficult things to hear and I demonstrate how it might sound to meet those expressions with empathy.
    • Empathy circles:  in a group of 4 or 5 you and your group will get to work with a deck of need cards to help guess the needs of the speaker.  Each has an opportunity to speak for a couple of minutes about anything for which they like to receive empathy guesses.
  • Introduction to Honest Expression
    • Observation:  Using a worksheet and examples from your own life, you will get the opportunity to distinguish what happened from the meaning you made of it.  You will being able to refer to something that happened without mixing in your interpretations, judgments, or evaluations.  Using mindfulness to keep these two separate allows you to the space to decide if you believe what you are telling yourself or if you would like to get more information before deciding what's true.  This skill in a key element in being able to interrupt reactivity
    • Interpretive Words:  We spend a little time talking about common words that you use as feelings but are actually interpretations of what someone is doing to you.  You can find this handout called "Feelings" that Blame here:
    • Requests:  I will do a short introduction to requests and you will hear some examples in the whole group.  We will come back to these later.
  • Self-Empathy & Reactivity
    • I will present the elements of self-empathy which includes naming from mindfulness your thoughts, feelings, needs, and requests.
    • We will take time to name all the facets of reactivity including how reactivity shows up in your thoughts, emotions, body, speech, beliefs, impulses, energy, facial expresssions, posture, and behavior.
    • You will have the opportunity to do study your own reactivity from mindfulness.  This is invaluable in being able to recognize and center before it takes over and in identifying the need that's alive for you so you can take direct and effective action.
  • Putting it all Together
    • I will present five distinctions that you can use as a guide in learning to express from honesty in a way others can receive without defensiveness.
    • You will get opportunity to play out a dialogue with self-empathy, honest expression, and empathy
    • You will get to see an example of how the dance of honest expression, empathy and self-empathy could play out with a role play in front of the room.
  • Closing
    • You will get to hear about other opportunities for learning and growth in our community
    • We will do a closing circle in which each person will have an opportunity to say one thing they got from the day and one thing they would like to commit to going forward.

Need more information before deciding whether or not to join?  Give me a call (503-544-7583) or send me an email with your questions or concerns.


9:30am - 5:30pm, June 10, 2017
Dharma Rain Zen Center
8500 NE Siskiyou , Portland OR 97220
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All proceeds for this workshop will be donated to Dharma Rain to support the temple and restoration of the land to native habitat.

Registration will be conducted by Dharma Rain and a link will be posted soon.  $80 for members, and $120 for others.

CANCELLATION POLICY:  to meet needs for inclusion, security, and predictability refunds are only given if requested 72 hours before the start of the course, so please discern carefully.