More than just words

With the winter months getting chillier, hopefully the relationships you have built with the people around you are not doing the same. Whether you are having problems with your significant other, friends, parents, boss or roommate, there is one workshop coming up that may be of great benefit to you.

The UC Davis Experimental College opens its doors to a new class starting Wednesday called “Nonviolent Communication (NVC): Bring Compassionate Honesty into Your Relationships,” to help community members work through struggles in a nonviolent way.

“Nonviolent communication is geared around helping people connect at the level of feelings and needs with the intention of avoiding triggering the fight-or-flight response,” says Adam Leach, the instructor of the class.

Leach has spent over a year dedicated to studying NVC and teaches a biweekly NVC practice group at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church. Leach said that if both people in a situation talk to each other in this manner, their chances of resolving the issue increase exponentially.

Started by NVC guru Marshall Rosenberg in the 1960s, NVC was a product of taking the methodology behind nonviolent action and using it as the basis for communication. Since its inception, NVC has worked its way into spiritual practice, parenting techniques and educational tools.

The workshop will be centered around providing people with tools and tricks for working through problems that they have encountered with others using NVC. It will involve participation from each person by bringing their own experiences to the group and talking through different ways they can communicate their needs using the methods provided by Leach.

“I think it’s very important. Communication is one of the most important factors in any relationship,” said Samantha Ringhand, a fourth-year psychology major.

Ringhand says she recently became interested in NVC after taking a course on interpersonal communication and seeing it work in real life.
“I think it’s important for college kids to learn this lesson not only [to] prepare for the real world, but also to enhance current relationships and reduce stress,” Ringhand said.

Louisa Jacquez, a third-year psychology student, agreed.

“I think stressing nonviolent communication is so important at the college level because it reinforces positive communication as well as attempts to protect and educate students on the consequences of talking in a violent manner,” Jacquez said in an email interview.

There are five basic lessons Leach will be emphasizing — empathizing, being non-judgemental using observations, working with feelings, working with needs and using requests rather than demands. Each class will be focused on one of these topics and students will work together to sort through their own experiences and how they could have used this method to effectively talk through the problem.

The workshop is an eight-week course meeting every Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Zinfandel Lounge on the second floor of South Silo. You can sign up for the class online at ecollege.ucdavis.edu under the Alternative Learning Project link. For more information on Alex Leach, you can visit his website at kindcommunication.org.

MARIA MARCELINA CRYSTAL VEGA can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

Comments are closed.