Foundations of Compassionate Communication

Transforming and Effective Communication


Empathy in Action

Language 4 Lovers

Communication at Work.

Heart of Social Change

Empathy in Action: an Intermediate Training

When asked to define empathy, Marshall Rosenberg compared it to surfing, as he relates in this audio clip: Empathy and Surf. When you ride the wave, the thrill is so exhilarating that you forget everything else. You live in the moment when nothing else matters, so intent on riding the wave perfectly that you and the wave become one. 

Pain and worry disappear, replaced by euphoria, akin to flow. Similarly, when giving empathy, you want to strive for this kind of total presence for the person you are listening to. I transcribed the above recording as follows:

    Question: "What is the Definition for Empathy?"

    Rosenberg: "Empathy, I would say is presence. Pure presence to what is alive in a person at this moment, bringing nothing in from the past. The more you know a person, the harder empathy is. The more you have studied psychology, the harder empathy really is. Because you can bring no thinking in from the past. If you surf, you'd be better at empathy because you will have built into your body what it is about. Being present and getting in with the energy that is coming through you in the present. It is not a mental understanding."

    Question: "Is it speaking from the heart?"

    Rosenberg: "What? Empathy? In empathy, you don't speak at all. You speak with the eyes. You speak with the body. If you say any words at all, it's because you are not sure you are with the person. So you may say some words. But the words are not empathy. Empathy is when the other person feels the connection to with what's alive in you."

This training provides numerious experiences giving and receiving empathy.

  • Renew and improve the skills learnt in the Foundation Training
  • Learn more about the NVC approach to connecting empathically with yourself and others
  • Discover the healing power of presence.
  • Build your resilience under pressure.
  • Share the experiences you've had applying NVC in your life.