Foundations of Empathic Communication Course: Empathic Listening and Speaking in a World of Conflict


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TUESDAYS, 2/13/18 - 3/6/18 (FOUR SESSIONS)



Recommended Reading and Listening

Mediate Your Life Books by John Kinyon and Ike Lasater

Recommended Books and Resources By Others

Click here to link to more learning resources


Learning Resources for the Course


Course Outline and Description of Sessions

Session 1: Communication That Creates Connection - This first session gives the overarching Mediate Your Life framework and covers the core language and communication distinctions around Observation, Feeling, Needs, and Requests (OFNR) that come out of the body of work of Nonviolent Communication (NVC). You will learn and practice how to apply these distinctions to experiencing empathy for yourself and others in the context of a "3-chairs" mediation framework. Each session includes presentation, demonstration, practice, and group harvesting of the experience.

Session 2: Mindfulness and Self-Connection in Adversity - In this session, we’ll cover the core skill of self-connection — the capacity and ability for mindful awareness in difficult moments — and how this is an application of the OFNR distinctions from session one. There will be experiential learning from doing an intensity exercise that integrates subtle awareness of conflict triggers, mindful self-connection practice, and then moving into a self-empathy process. 

Session 3: Elements of Empathic Speaking and Listening - This session focuses on how to apply the OFNR distinctions to being in conversation with others in a way that creates empathic connection. We will explore how to increase presence and understanding in a conversation, independent of agreement, and from there to get to universal human needs and meeting those needs. Beneath all emotions and thought statements are a core set of human needs a person is trying to meet. We'll practice how to create understanding without agreement and how to connect with underlying needs when delivering a message, when speaking and listening to others. In group demonstration and paired practice in virtual break out rooms, you will experience using these skills in real conversations that matter and make a difference. We'll discuss how to change the way in which you are present in any conversation to deepen understanding and connection. 

Session 4: Solution Requests and Hearing and Saying "No" - Once understanding and connection has been fostered between ourselves and others, it is important to know the skills of making clear, specific, doable solution requests, and how this is different than making connection requests. There will be an exercise for practicing saying "no" empathically and hearing the need behind the a "no." In this final session, we'll also be reviewing, practicing and discussing how the skills integrate and can be used to mediate all aspects of your life. These skills enable you to bring greater awareness into your life and challenging situations, discover the core needs driving your behavior, determine and respond effectively to the source of conflict or resentment, and more. We'll also discuss further how to bring these concepts into your workplace, family gatherings, relationships, and everyday life.