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Listening with the Heart: Using Empathy for Deeper Connection and Understanding

  • Experience the emotional relief of being heard
  • Learn the connection-creating skill of empathy
  • Let go of right and wrong thinking
  • Transform your world, one interaction at a time
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Thursdays, June 6-27, 2024 (four sessions)
9:00-11:00 am Pacific (California) Time • What time is it in your location?
Online via Zoom


“Your presence is the most precious gift you can give to another human being.” 

Marshall Rosenberg

It makes miracles happen.
Connection thrives. 
And people heal.






Welcome to…

Listening with the Heart: Using Empathy for Deeper Connection and Understanding

An empathy experience for all people
(whoever you are, wherever you are, however you identify)
who want to:

❤️ Be heard and understood
and feel the emotional relief that
follows these experiences

❤️ Increase your capacity for
to nurture greater
understanding of others

❤️ Learn how to lift others
so you can transform your world,
one interaction at a time

❤️ Heal past hurts so you can
move forward feeling greater joy in life,
and help others do the same

❤️ Help your relationships thrive
so they become more enjoyable
for all involved

❤️ Practice in a safe,
judgment free space


This is a beginner’s course in Nonviolent Communication
That coaches you to really, truly, deeply LISTEN
LET GO of right and wrong thinking
Help you UNDERSTAND others


What brings you here today?

If you found your way to this page, you probably already know that relationships do not thrive when they are filled with frustration, misunderstandings, tension and judgments.

And you already know that jumping straight into solutions does not often go well.

The way we are socially conditioned to ‘listen’ often teaches us to:

⚡ correct the other person
⚡ judge others or those they are speaking about
⚡ try to be right
⚡ say the ‘right’ thing 

Sometimes this stems from mis-guided good intentions. 

And so often it involves saying something, anything, to avoid the other person’s pain. 


That’s where Listening with the Heart comes in.

We don’t do finger-pointing, shaming or people-pleasing.

We’ll unlearn. We’ll listen. We’ll connect. 

Listening with the Heart teaches you the connection-creating skill of empathy TO LIFT PEOPLE UPIncluding yourself.

What is empathy?


💗 Experience the healing power of being truly heard
💗 Receive individual and group empathy coaching
💗 Enjoy heart-felt connection with others
💗 Learn an effective empathy framework centered on nonviolence
💗 Share this unique learning experience with people from multiple cultures
💗 Enhance your skills for empathic connection through practicing in a safe environment



Build a new foundation 
Mary will teach the Nonviolent Communication (NVC)
framework for empathy — you will hear how
this transformative communication style shows others
you are truly, deeply, hearing them. 


Get in the moment
Empathy starts with being present. If you’re already familiar
with NVC, you’ll strengthen your empathy muscles.
Whatever stage you are at, you’ll practice using empathy
to show other people you’ve heard them. 


Get empathy
Every session will include opportunities to receive empathy
for whatever you are going through in life.
We expect you’ll experience the profound effect
of being truly heard and understood by someone.  


Give empathy
As you learn the Nonviolent approach to empathy,
you’ll have opportunities for individual and group empathy
. You’ll practice your new skills on your
course-buddies and witness the transformative shift
that can occur in someone when they receive real empathy.


Take your empathy to the next level
By developing the skills to understand another person’s
, you’ll be better equipped to see challenging
conversations through to peaceful resolutions. 


With support, you’ll work in pairs and small groups
to practice giving and receiving empathy.
Expect to build your confidence, deepen your skills and
find your own natural way of integrating
Nonviolent Communication based empathy to your
own voice in a way that feels natural to you (not formulaic).


Meet your Trainer, Mary Mackenzie

Mary has witnessed and experienced the magical healing effect of empathy countless times. 

It’s part of her life’s mission to share this magic with others.  

Having practiced Nonviolent Communication for over 20 years, and being a Certified Trainer for 21 years, Mary can’t count the number of times that she’s seen listening for feelings and needs - key components of the Nonviolent Communication process - transform rage into openness, deep sadness into clarity (or relief), and hurt into connection … in a heartbeat.

Mary has healed layer upon layer of personal trauma and pain by receiving empathy from her empathy buddies and other members of Nonviolent Communication practice groups.

She considers her personal healing a miracle — a gift way greater than she ever imagined. The first time she experienced the healing effect of Nonviolent Communication she felt vulnerable, in awe, and it almost took her breath away. 

Empathy is part of Mary’s everyday life. She regularly gives empathy to family members, her mechanic and the grocery store clerks who look tired and need a little TLC. She’s known to give empathy to anyone she crosses paths with! Her experiences of supporting her aging parents through empathic listening were so moving that she’ll cherish them for the rest of her life.

Mary believes that learning empathy is an essential skill for navigating our human world. And that once learned, we can take its healing power anywhere. 


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This course is part of our Beginner’s Pathway

Learning Nonviolent Communication (NVC) can be an incredibly rewarding experience with the potential to fundamentally transform your understanding of yourself and others, and your relationships. But if you are new to the concept of Nonviolent Communication, you might be wondering where to start your learning journey.

Here at the NVC Academy we run a number of Live Courses every year. This particular course is part of our Beginner’s Pathway — courses for those who are new or relatively new to the practice of Nonviolent Communication. It is for those with little/no experience of NVC, or those who lack confidence in their practice of it.

While courses on our Beginner’s Pathway are designed for newcomers, seasoned NVC enthusiasts are very welcome to attend. Most long-time NVC enthusiasts enjoy the opportunity to get refreshers of some of the building blocks of Nonviolent Communication to reinvigorate and deepen their practice.

The next course that is part of the Beginner's Pathway 2024 is The Transformational Power of Self-Expression with Liu Yi (November).


  • Do I have to share what’s going on in my life? 

Not at all. Choosing to receive empathy for something is exactly that, a choice! There is no obligation — you are welcome to just observe. What’s more, Mary will teach you how little information you actually need to share in order to receive highly effective empathy.

  • I’ve not done this before — can you help if it feels awkward?

Yes! And we get it — some people do feel a little awkward and vulnerable when they first start along this path. 

New NVC students usually find it’s worth getting through those potentially awkward first steps to get to the more pleasant feelings that follow. We commonly hear students tell us they feel lighter, relief or joy at being heard.

Mary will give you strategies to support you through any sticky first steps. She's a champion at helping her students feel more at ease. 

  • What if I’m no good at this?

That’s a judgment …and this is a judgment free zone! 

Ever seen a baby take their first steps? They wobble and fall over a lot and everyone accepts it’s just part of the process. The same applies here. 

Remember this is an introductory course. The purpose is to learn the principles, witness the effects of empathy, experience how it feels and practice giving and receiving it in a safe environment. …Where everyone is with you, holding your (Zoom) hand (or shooting out those little Zoom heart reactions).

Hold tightly to your intentions for trying, and know you have our full support as you practice. 

  • I find NVC empathy clunky and awkward. Is there a way to make it less so?

Oh we hear you! The 4-step process can be like talking in a foreign language if you do not know how to translate it into the way you speak. Mary will teach you how to find your own voice so that you can lean on the NVC framework without sounding like a robot.

  • Do I need to attend live?

To make the most of the live coaching aspects and have your questions answered, we recommend attending live. And we know it’s not always possible. Everyone who registers will get access to all the recordings and handouts to (re)watch at your leisure.

  • What if I don’t like what the other person is saying? Does giving them empathy mean I have to agree with them?

Not at all. When you learn the NVC framework, you’ll learn that empathizing with someone’s perspective - even when it differs from yours - protects you from the negative emotions that come with taking things personally. Understanding someone else’s needs does not mean you have to give up on your own needs — it simply gives you a respectful understanding of what they are experiencing. It does not mean you have to agree with them.

  • Who is Marshall Rosenberg and why is he quoted on this page?

Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD (1934 - 2015) was the creator of Nonviolent Communication (also known as Compassionate Communication) training and founder of the Center for Nonviolent Communication. He was best known for his work in conflict resolution. Another major component of his work was in education reform, helping schools and teachers create more “life-enriching” environments through learning and teaching Compassionate Communication.

Rosenberg founded the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) in the early 1960s and taught NVC in the United States and 60+ countries around the world for more than four decades. Read expressions of appreciation from several CNVC Certified Trainers. Dr. Rosenberg passed peacefully at home, with his wife Valentina and all his children by his side on February 7th, 2015.

The NVC Academy was founded in 2006, in cooperation with the Center for Nonviolent Communication, to support Marshall’s mission and promote NVC training worldwide.

  • Get an empathy buddy if you’d like to! Practice your new skills with another participant.
  • Video and audio recordings of every session
  • Forum discussion available in the classroom
  • Lifetime access to the classroom
  • Translated captions available in 30+ languages

Registration Fee: $213
NVC Library members: $171

*NVC Library members: use code NVCL at time of checkout


When you register, you will receive an email with complete instructions on how to access your course.
Note that course recordings display images of active speakers only, and are made available to all registrants.

About Mary Mackenzie
Mary Mackenzie

CNVC Certified Trainer from Long Beach, California, USA

Mary Mackenzie, M.A., is an author, trained mediator, and CNVC Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication. She holds a master's degree in human relations from Northern Arizona University and is the CEO of the NVC Academy, the only online school for learning Nonviolent Communication.

Mary teaches Nonviolent Communication and other spiritually-based programs to individuals, couples, families, organizations, and spiritual communities through a wide variety of workshops and retreats. Her book Peaceful Living: Daily Meditations for Living with Love, Healing and Compassion (translated to ...


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