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Communicating with a client or patient with a mental health diagnosis can be tough. This guidebook introduces Nonviolent Communication, helping you develop more clear, compassionate, mutual satisfaction and potentially create conditions that heal those who look to you for help. With this guide learn to notice when your approach is likely to trigger defense and how to shift that to more authenticity, understanding and trust.
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Ask the Trainer: Can you help me connect with my needs behind the protective use of force I use with my children?

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Trainer Tip

1-2 minutes

07/2009

Eric offers a very brief but valuable Trainer Tip about persistence practicing NVC, sometimes a small shift in approach can make a big difference.

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When we are transparent about our concerns, brainstorm solutions together, and look towards making a decision with the other person, we can increase understanding, partnership, and mutual support. This invites people to work on the same issue from the same direction, collaboratively seek solutions, and tap a deeper wisdom. In the end, the future survival of our species depends on this kind of active interdependence.

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Trainer Tip: Today, when you tell yourself that you "have to" or "should" do something, notice what you feel and experience - is it a sense of duty, obligation, guilt, shame, overwhelm, constriction, heaviness? Then consider the underlying needs you are trying to meet with the activity. This can shift the purpose and intention with an energy that motivates our actions can bring empowerment and joy to our lives.

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There are five aspects helpful to consider when creating conditions and atmosphere where you can be heard deeply and hear others deeply: context, self-connection, autonomy, security, and specific requests. Read on for more, and reflect on moments when you have been heard deeply and name everything that contributed to that experience.

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Trainer Tip

2-3 minutes

Circa 2007

Ask the Trainer: "Recently, I was sitting in my weekly practice group trying to connect to my reasons for wanting to give empathy to a particular person. She was telling us about some painful feeling she was having, but was not connecting to her needs."

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Little negative impacts can become big when left unattended. Watch for things like using a sharp tone, choosing not to share something, going along with something when you don’t really want to, trying to convince your partner, impulsively turning away, shrinking, losing access to parts of yourself, hiding, daydreaming about a different life, and judgmental thoughts. Instead, shift the dynamic: take responsibility, provide empathy, and commit to change.

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Kelly Bryson and Christine King engage in a role play about how to stay connected to a friend whose persistent jackal voices tell her that she is worthless and her life is hopeless.

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Enmeshment refers to confusion about who is responsible for what. This lack of clear boundaries results in attempts to manage the other person's experience as a substitute for managing your own. When you think you're contributing to another person, but you're actually acting from enmeshment, there's inner tension and contraction. Read on for 16 common signs of enmeshment so that you can know when to pause and connect to your needs.

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