Thursday, December 3, 2009

Parallels Between Gestalt and NonViolent Communication (NVC)

I am struck by the parallels between Gestalt and NVC. Both start with description. In Gestalt you cannot see that someone is happy you can only describe their physical features and describe what 'is'. You must accept they may be happy, sad or something else and if you want to know which then you must ask them. There can be no judgement. In NVC there is non judgemental observation and description of what is taking place in a situation. In both approaches this one step is immensely powerful to help relationships between people.
In Gestalt there is scanning of yourself to notice your sensing, meaning making, intuition and emotions. Noticing the distinctions of each brings richness to the experience you are having and gives insight for any situation you are in. NVC considers what we feel in relation to what we observe and again applies non judgemental description. Insight arises from what our feelings are telling us through this form of description. Both approaches bring the power of recognising what our emotions are telling us.
NVC then moves to understand what needs are creating our feelings. Gestalt works hard to help someone describe very precisely what they want.. Sounds easy but it is often surprising what we find out when we look closely at this question. Wars are started, relationships broken and extreme violence often occur around misunderstandings of wants, desires and needs. Immense healing is available with powerful use of this process.
The final move in NVC is in the request we make to enrich our lives. Built from none judgmental descriptions of observation, feeling and wants there is always a request that can be constructed that is nonviolent in nature and positively moves the world forward. In Gestalt seeking to complete what is incomplete is a possible parallel. Helping people finish the most troubling piece of unfinished business enables people to grow and move on to something new.
Thanks to Dorothy for drawing me in to explore NVC. I welcome thoughts from others on these powerful ways of being in the world.

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