Nonviolent Communication and Restorative Justice

“Every judgment is a tragic expression of an unmet need.” – Marshall Rosenberg

“The best way to destroy an enemy is to turn him into your friend.” – Abraham Lincoln

I am powerfully moved by both the challenge and the hope in those words. Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication (NVC) provides a deeply hopeful theoretical framework, as well as a simple set of practical tools, to heal judgment and violence. I am happy to practice, and help to spread, NVC in as many ways as I am able.

Restorative justice is a related concept, forgoing ideas of blame, “deserving,” and punishment, in favor of healing and accountability. Restorative justice practices can replace or supplement conventional, retributive practices such as incarceration or capital punishment. Victim/offender dialogs, where all parties affected by a crime or other harm come together to speak honestly and listen deeply, can have far more healing outcomes, for all parties, than tough-on-crime approaches.