Nonviolent Communication with Simon Wiskowski | GP 223

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Have you considered how you define your needs and what they uniquely look like for you to the people in your life? How can people feel much more comfortable, relaxed, loved, and seen by their partners? Why is nonviolent communication something that can change your life for the better?

In this podcast episode, Andrew Burdette speaks about nonviolent communication with Simon Wiskowski.

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Meet Simon Wiskowski

A photo of Simon Wiskowski is captured. He is a coach, mediator, trainer, and facilitator. He helps couples, families, and individuals resolve the conflict in their relationships and learn how to navigate conflict. Simon is featured on the Grow a Group podcast.

Simon Wiskowski is a coach, mediator, trainer, and facilitator. He helps couples, families, and individuals resolve the conflict in their relationships and learn how to navigate conflict with ease. Additionally, he teaches workshops on Nonviolent Communication and facilitates Encounter Groups, a small group process that helps people step into their power by developing their communication skills and assertiveness.

Visit Peace Beyond Conflict and connect on Instagram.

In This Podcast

  • What is nonviolent communication?

  • Centering needs instead of wants 

  • Needs versus strategies 

  • Simon’s advice to listeners about NVC

What is nonviolent communication?

On the surface, nonviolent communication is a communication modality, but the person who founded nonviolent communication … I heard him say that nonviolent communication is actually 10% about communication … What it’s really about is consciousness, it’s about the way that we communicate. (Simon Wiskowski)

Nonviolent communication is much more than just speaking in and of itself. 

It’s about how we adjust the way that we speak, but more importantly, it is specifically about the intention with which we speak, or the consciousness that we are coming from when we engage with people. 

It is to center the understanding of the other person so that they can truly hear and understand what someone is saying, more so than simply being listened to.

Centering needs instead of wants 

The purpose of NVC is not to get what we want, which for me was a really radical shift in terms of the way I show up in every relationship in my life … The purpose is to create connection with people, and that connection is then to serve the needs of both of us, from compassionate giving and receiving. (Simon Wiskowski)

NVC is about the strength of the bond between two people and fostering communication between the two of them that is not (accidentally) self-serving, avoidant of (necessary) conflict, or coming from a sense of duty or anything else that may be disingenuous. 

The purpose is to create connection, and the connection is then to serve not just my needs at your expense or your needs at my expense, but to care for both of our needs … This consciousness of needs and distinguishing what we call “needs” from “strategies for meeting our needs”, I see as the core essence of nonviolent communication. (Simon Wiskowski)

Needs versus strategies 

Sometimes people think that they are being clear when they are expressing their needs when they may actually be engaging in a strategy to get that need met, instead of talking about the need itself. 

Therefore, it is important to distinguish between needs and strategies for meeting those needs.

Common human needs in emotional relationships include;

  • Connection 
  • Closeness 
  • Love 
  • Creativity 
  • Safety 
  • Order, etc.

These are technically all abstract words because they don’t point to any particular thing in the world since everyone has a different definition of what these are or what they look like. 

Because needs are abstract, they can never be in conflict and so then when people are in conflict, the conflict is coming because they’re thinking in a more concrete way … So I would support each person to get clear about, “Why are they wanting whatever it is that they’re wanting?” … What are the needs that they’re hoping to be met? (Simon Wiskoski)

In sessions, Simon supports each partner to communicate their needs effectively and the other in understanding their needs, and vice versa.

It’s not about what people say, it’s about how [they] say it. (Simon Wiskowski) 

Simon’s advice to listeners about NVC

For Simon, NVC has radically shifted and changed his life for the better because it has had a profound impact on and helped him to understand how to communicate more compassionately and effectively. 

The better you get at communicating what’s important to you and relating to people on an interpersonal level … the more likely it becomes that your needs are going to get met, and then you’re going to experience more pleasantness in your life! (Simon Wiskowski)

For Simon, living in a compassionate world is possible through people embracing more of NVC’s principles. 

Books mentioned in this episode:

Marshall Rosenberg – Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships

    Useful links mentioned in this episode:

    Check out these additional resources:

    Meet Andrew Burdette

    A photo of Andrew Burdette is captured. He is the host of the Grow a Group podcast.

    Andrew founded Mindful Counseling PLLC in Asheville, NC shortly after completing his graduate program in clinical mental health counseling. At the start of the pandemic, he pivoted to an online solo practice, and in 2022, began to grow a group practice. He most enjoys helping clients and colleagues identify what ignites their passions and assisting them in creating a life rooted in authenticity. Andrew approaches his business development with alignment in mind and enjoys the integration process connecting the many puzzle pieces and systems required to run a successful practice.

    Visit Andrew’s website and Apply to work with him.

    Email him at [email protected]