About Roberta & NVC

Roberta Wall is certified as a trainer in Nonviolent Communication (NVC) by the Center for Nonviolent Communication. In communities, schools,  businesses and organizations, Roberta facilitates Leadership Trainings, Public Conversations, Dialogues, Mediations and visioning and strategizing sessions. With private groups, families and individuals, she offers coaching, mediation, classes and trainings that integrate NVC and Mindfulness into all aspects of personal, family, communal and organizational life.  Roberta offers her work in service of peaceful transformation of our world, individuals, families and organizations, and community and spiritual  health and development.


Roberta is trained as a lawyer, mediator, trainer, facilitator, parent, activist, mindfulness practitioner and coach.  She shares her time between the US and the Mideast and travels the world coaching couples, individuals and organizations and facilitating workshops and retreats inspired by Nonviolent (Compassionate) Communication (NVC) as developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg and  Buddhist teachers Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama, and teachers and Rabbis and Rebbetzins from her root Jewish tradition.


Roberta is part of a growing movement of Nonviolent Communication in the Mideast, where she organizes and facilitates trainings in Israel and the West Bank for Israelis, Palestinians and Internationals (see her  blog  https://robertaindia.wordpress.com).

She is a speaker and facilitator in Jewish congregations and communities across the US. 


Roberta’s website is www.steps2peace.com.  

Her email is info@steps2peace.com


More writings by Roberta are found at:  

~ My blog at Wordpress

~ newsletter archives 

~ My blog at Times of Israel  

~ Journeying with my mother through dementia 

~ Tips for Creating Connection at the Table in the Holiday Season 

~ Message from Roberta about the US Election 

What is Nonviolent Communication?

NVC  is a transformational life practice. There is a common life force that moves through all of us, through all life. Some call it Divine Energy or flow; some call it life energy. It is what we mean when we talk about core needs and values in NVC. 


NVC offers us a door to living in awareness and connection with that energy and flow—it speaks to the longing in all of us to communicate from the depth of our authenticity and to meet the other person in their depth of authenticity. Various tools and practices from NVC remind us to touch that authenticity from which we are trying to communicate. The consciousness and skills of NVC show us how to connect  with what is alive in ourselves and in others moment-to-moment, with what we or others could do to make life more wonderful, and with an awareness of what gets in the way of natural giving and receiving.


Some application of NVC in the world:


Watch Video of NVC Mideast Panel in West Bank


From Robert Gonzales: 


"Nonviolent Communication (NVC) comprises a set of premises and practices that cultivate a living and embodied consciousness of compassion.


At the heart of NVC are human needs. Needs are seen, rather than a lack or deficiency, as that life force/Life moving in and through us seeking fulfillment, aliveness, and wellbeing.


NVC is a process founded on a language and communication, which guides our attention to that which is most human about us. What emerges when this process is lived, is authentic honesty and empathic listening.

"Between a stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.  The last of human freedoms is to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."
            - Viktor Frankl


When we step into the consciousness of needs, we no longer hear,  or speak from,  anger, blame, shame, disconnection. 

NVC Resources

The websites and resources below are a small sampling of the richness and variety of contribution that the Nonviolent Communication community is making to create peace within ourselves and peace in the world. 


Center for Nonviolent Communication - www.cnvc.org

http://www.nycnvc.org New York City NVC

http://www.brooklynnnvc.org Brooklyn NVC

www.phillynvc.org  Philadelphia NVC

http://nvctraininginstitute.com/trainings/2007-Maine.html 

Nonviolent Communication Is? by Marshall Rosenberg

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is sometimes referred to as compassionate communication. Its purpose is to strengthen our ability to inspire compassion from others and to respond compassionately to others and to ourselves. NVC guides us to reframe how we express ourselves and hear others by focusing our consciousness on what we are observing, feeling, needing, and requesting.


We are trained to make careful observations free of evaluation, and to specify behaviors and conditions that are affecting us. We learn to hear our own deeper needs and those of others, and to identify and clearly articulate what we are wanting in a given moment. When we focus on clarifying what is being observed, felt, and needed, rather than on diagnosing and judging, we discover the depth of our own compassion. Through its emphasis on deep listening—to ourselves as well as others—NVC fosters respect, attentiveness and empathy, and engenders a mutual desire to give from the heart. The form is simple, yet powerfully transformative.


While it is taught through the use of a concrete model,and is referred to as “a process of communication” or a “language of compassion,” Nonviolent Communication is more than a process or a language. As our cultural conditioning often leads our attention in directions unlikely to get us what we want, NVC serves as an ongoing reminder to focus our attention on places that have the potential to yield what we are seeking—a flow between ourselves and others based on a mutual giving from the heart.


Founded on language and communication skills that enable us to remain human, even under trying conditions, Nonviolent Communication contains nothing new: all that has been integrated into NVC has been known for centuries. The intent is to remind us about what we already know—about how we humans were meant to relate to one another—and to assist us in living in a way that concretely manifests this knowledge.


The use of NVC does not require that the persons with whom we are communicating be literate in NVC or even motivated to relate to us compassionately. If we stay with the principles of NVC, with the sole intention to give and receive compassionately, and do everything we can to let others know this is our only motive, they will join us in the process and eventually we will be able to respond compassionately to one another. While this may not happen quickly, it is our experience that compassion inevitably blossoms when we stay true to the principles and process of Nonviolent Communication.


Adapted from Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, by Marshall Rosenberg

Highlight on Mediation, NVC Style By Roberta Wall

I was a single parent of two young daughters in 1986 when I graduated from New York University School of Law. I was awarded a Root Tilden Scholarship for my commitment to social change. I then practiced law in New York City for many years before moving up to the Hudson Valley. My practice in New York included tenure as an Arbitrator in Small Claims Court in Brooklyn and standing in for a Supreme Court Justice for over six years to preside over hundreds of litigation and settlement conferences in New York State Supreme Court . Often, lawyers and judges joked that if all sides to a litigation were unhappy with a settlement, it meant we had done a good job—that no one had won. 


"May I be heard" is how lawyers often ask the Judge in the courtroom for permission to speak. The litigants-the parties to the litigation- don't get to ask that question. It's rare for a party to a litigation to walk out of the courtroom feeling satisfied that she or he has been heard. Ironically, the desire to be heard is often one of the main motivations for commencing a lawsuit.


Today, I am celebrating that I am offering a new form of mediation where the model is that everyone's needs are heard and met—no one wins because no one loses. This is mediation based on the principles of Nonviolent Communication.


When I offer NVC mediation, I serve as a "thirdsider"; an impartial party who coaches each side in a dispute to understand what is important to them and then to hear what is important to the other side—not to agree or disagree with the other side—but to listen and hear what is important to them. Each side gets to do this equally, as I track the positions of each side and create an atmosphere where listening takes place. When each side has been heard, we open up the space to problem solving—how can each side get what is important to them? This is not about compromising or giving up or giving in. Sometimes I meet separately with each side first , to help each side understand what is important to them. Sometimes we begin all together. Here's how the process works:


1. I listen to each party speak, one at a time and I listen for your needs; I try to reflect back to you the needs I hear you expressing. By needs I mean the common human values alive in you, maybe hidden behind judgments.


2. You are the final authority for how your words are heard, so, after I reflect back to you what I heard, I ask you to let me know if I’ve understood your needs. Once you are satisfied that I have heard and understood,your needs, we go to the next step.


3. I ask the other party, who has been listening, to reflect back the needs that he or she heard you express. We're not asking them to agree or disagree with you; just to repeat back to you what they heard you say. 


4. We continue doing this until each person is satisfied that what is important to them has been heard by the other side; this is accomplished by each person hearing the other side repeat their words; by each side actually repeating back the important needs that the other person has stated.


5. Then we begin problem solving until each side is satisfied that what is important to them is accomplished.