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Join the International Conference on: How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?

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International Online Conference on:
How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy?
Permanently Ongoing

Sub Conference:  How to build a culture of empathy with

Compassionate Communication or Nonviolent Communication (NVC)

There are many trainers for the NVC process that have deep insights and stories into lived and applied empathy. We will be interviewing as many of the trainers as we can.


Marshall Rosenberg    Empathy Expert Big Page:

Author: Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life
 Center for Nonviolent Communication (NVC)
 (student of Carl Rogers)
Many NVC trainers have a great deal of hands on experience with empathy and how to embody and live it. There is a large  international network of these trainers.

Empathy Expert Big Page: Marshall Rosenberg


True Stories About The Healing Power of Empathy

Mary Goyer

 Mary Goyer is Holistic Counselor, Trauma Specialist, & Executive Coach. She supports organizations in cultivating innovative, collaborative, and productive work cultures. Individual coaching and team trainings focus on peak performance, conflict resolution, effective collaborative and feedback skills, and managing personality challenges that impede employee engagement.  She is editor of: The Healing Power of Empathy: True Stories About Transforming Relationships.


"Empathy is an essential leadership skill and a cornerstone of good relationships - but it can be hard to access when it's most needed. Luckily, empathy is also a learnable skill. With mindfulness, empathy has deescalated conflicts, combated loneliness, and built human connections in the most unlikely places."

The Boyhood of Raleigh by Sir John Everett Millais


"What a difference it makes when a dash of empathy
 is added into tense or important conversations
 of every magnitude."

Sub Conference: NVC

Conflict, Mediation and a Culture of Empathy

Ike Lasater


Ike Lasater is the co-founder of Mediate Your Life, a training company that helps people build better lives by changing how they respond to conflict. With extensive training in Nonviolent Communication, Ike teaches and coaches individuals and organizations in communication and conflict resolution skills and has trained thousands of people in the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia. He has served on the board of directors for the Center for Nonviolent Communication and the Association for Dispute Resolution of Northern California. Ike is a former trial attorney for 20 years who co-founded a thriving San Francisco law firm.


At its core, the Mediate Your Life training is about listening to - and really hearing - ourselves and others. It is about increasing our capacity for empathy so that when triggered we can overcome the body's natural "fight-flight-freeze" reaction. The process teaches how to replace conflict with true collaboration, new possibilities, and compassionate support.



 Sub Conference: NVC

Spinning the Threads of Empathy

Miki Kashtan


"Miki Kashtan, Ph.D., is a co-founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication and serves as its lead facilitator and trainer. She is inspired by the role of visionary leadership in shaping a livable future, and works towards that vision by living, using, and sharing the principles and practice of Nonviolent Communication. " She is the author of Spinning Threads of Radical Aliveness: Transcending the Legacy of Separation in Our Individual Lives.


From the book,  "Although the fundamental capacity for empathy, which is part and parcel of mutual recognition, is an innate human feature, we need to receive sufficient empathy early in life to be able to attain and maintain true mutuality as well as empathic connection with ourselves and others.

After the Bath by Mary Cassatt (Wikipedia)

"Most of us have not had
 sufficient empathy early in life

Most of us have not had sufficient empathy early in life, and for many of us this means that our capacity for empathy gets stunted, both towards others and towards ourselves. The healing force that allows us to recover our lost capacity to connect is, once again, empathy. Empathic connection with another is an almost indispensable condition of psychic liberation. Although some individuals are able to choose strategic discomfort on their own, for the most part, the challenges of the journey are such that they require the presence of empathic others to sustain it. Without empathy, the likelihood of retreat into our comfort zone increases. With it, we are more capable of opening up to the discomfort and the painful emotions which await us on the journey.

That empathy per se is healing has become progressively more accepted. Being heard, in full, is one of the most profound experiences we humans can have, and has a transformative effect that more often than not we don’t anticipate. Even a few minutes of this experience can sometimes transform seemingly intractable situations. Even after years of practicing and teaching empathy, I still find myself astonished at the immense power of it. In moments of intense conflict with someone, for example, I can still forget that the entire conflict can be dissolved in a few empathic exchanges, as has so often been the case."

Sub Conference: Compassionate Communication (NVC)

Building New Authentic Empathy Communities & Cultures: Kelly Bryson & Edwin Rutsch

Kelly Bryson, MA, MFT is the author of the best selling book, Don't Be Nice, Be Real – Balancing Passion for Self with Compassion for Others. He is a licensed therapist in private practice, lecturer, workshop facilitator, and consultant. He has been an authorized trainer for the International Center for Nonviolent Communication for over 20 years, and has trained thousands in the US, Europe, and the Middle East. Kelly is also a humorist, guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He in now working on building new authentic empathy communities & cultures.

Kelly writes, "When I empathize with someone, I become a strong and gentle wind, filling the sailboat of the other’s inner exploration.  As the Wind, I have no control over the steering of the boat.  That is left up to the captain of the ship, the person I am being present to.  I do not try to direct, only connect with where the other is in this very present moment.  I bring in no ideas of thoughts about the past or the future.  I bring in no thoughts of my own.  I have no preference for where we go on this journey – only that it come from the captain’s heart and choice.  The purpose of my presence is connection, never correction.  I am a steady, present trade wind, not an impatient and gusty gale."

 "Empathy brings in nothing from the past. When I am empathizing I am not remembering when I was having a similar experience. In one sense I am not even there. The only thing present is your experience, feelings and stories. I am being with the felt sense of them. Relating to another experience is about you. Empathizing is about them. Some people get so caught up in the fear of wondering whether they are empathizing correctly that very little empathy or attention is left to be with the other. It is not really about doing empathy or giving empathy - it is being empathy."
Sub Conference: Compassionate Communication (NVC) and
Building Empathic Community

Melanie Sears: How to Build a Culture of Empathy

Melanie Sears has been a trainer for the Center of Nonviolent Communications since 1991. She works with businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, individuals, couples and parents in transforming their usual way of operations, interpersonal interactions and dealing with conflict to one which is more compassionate, conscious and effective.

 Melanie presents Nonviolent Communication at conventions, at universities, and at churches.  She has been interviewed on the radio and on TV and is the author of several books including: Humanizing Health Care with Nonviolent Communication.
Sub Conference: NVC and Health Care

 Empathic Listening Demonstration: Melanie Sears Offers Edwin Rutsch Empathy for an Inner Conflict

Melanie Sears is a trainer in Compassionate Communication. She is author of several books including: Choose Your Words: Harnessing the Power of Compassionate Communication to Heal and Connect.  In this second interview with Edwin Rutsch, Melanie offers empathic listening to Edwin for a problematic past experience he had.
Sub Conference: NVC and Health Care

 Mary Mackenzie & Edwin Rutsch:  How to Build a Culture of Empathy with NVC

Mary Mackenzie is a CNVC Certified Trainer and executive director of Peace Workshop International. She is the author of "Peaceful Living: Daily Meditations for Living with Love, Healing and Compassion".


Empathy is like shifting smoothly into gear while the opposite is grinding the clutch and gears. To develope a culture of empathy, first, develop a consistent self empathy practice that you are committed to.
Sub Conference: NVC

Govert van Ginkel & Edwin Rutsch: Survivors of Sexual Assault and Building a Culture of Empathy

Govert van Ginkel is speaker, trainer, coach, facilitator and mediator who is experienced in many different processes. He has a background as a lawyer.


Govert says, "We thrive on connection and some even say we are hard wired for connection, yet it can seem so hard to do when you need it most. Empathy is the missing link. Empathy will help you support yourself and connect with others in situations in which you normally would feel lost."

 We held two discussions, first we reviewed, step by step, his article, Practical Empathy: As it applied to Survivors of Sexual Assault. He says, "Empathy is a scare commodity in general and specifically when you are the victim of a crime. Practical application of empathy can make an enormous difference in the outcome for both the victim/survivor of a crime, the effectiveness of police and justice department, as well as, for all others involved." In the second hour, we had a free style discussion about the nature of empathy and how to foster it.

Sub Conference: NVC

Stephanie Mattei & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy in the Family

Stephanie Bachmann Mattei is a Certified Trainer with The Center for Nonviolent Communication. Parenting is Stephanie’s niche. Parenting is a powerful and far-reaching tool for social transformation. Mahatma Gandhi’s said, "If we are to reach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with the children.” Parenting is one of the most crucial ways to bring about social change in terms of consciousness evolution. We are moving toward a more empathic child rearing.

How to Build a Culture of Empathy? Presently the three main unempathic "Parenting Tools" are; Corporal Punishment, Guilt and Shame inducing communication (verbal and non-verbal), behavior modification through rewards carrots and sticks.  Research show these approaches do not foster empathy and emotional intelligence. In order to change a habit, we need to know what to put in its place. We need an empathic parenting approach.
Sub Conference: NVC  and Sub Conference: Home & Family

Jesse Wiens: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Zen NVC

Jesse Wiens is an internationally recognized Center for Nonviolent Communication Certified Trainer and the founder of ZENVC, an approach to the practice of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) that integrates meditation, mindfulness, and inner work. He has a passion for bringing the best of Eastern and Western wisdom to bear on the problems of today, supporting individuals, couples, and communities to come back into wholeness. In this, he draws from seven years of living and practicing in Zen monasteries, as well as training with NVC founder Marshall Rosenberg, Center for Understanding in Conflict co-founder Gary Friedman, and BayNVC's Restorative Justice program at San Quentin State Prison.
How to build a culture of empathy?
  • Create opportunities for people to share and bear witness to each other's celebrations (gratitudes) and mournings (grief/despair/sadness) in a group.
  • Create opportunities for people to share silence together, and bear witness to their own breath.
  • Familiarize yourself with the many ways that people are disempowered in our culture, and understand how the two suggestions above empower people; use these understandings as a springboard to raise questions and spark critical and creative discussions with others
  • Jesse says empathy is like a rubber band. It gets stretched out and that's fear, anxiety, disconnection, etc. It automatically comes back into  the natural shape.
    Sub Conference: NVC

Catherine Cadden: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with NVC

Catherine Cadden has been an educator since 1987 finding alternatives to teaching, learning, and conflict resolution that work with the principles of nonviolence. 

Author of, Peaceable Revolution Through Education.  The book offers practical everyday guidance for creating peace and connection in today's learning environments.

How can we build a culture of empathy?
1. Truly releasing enemy imaging that blocks compassion.
2. Remaining curious about each other and letting go our expectations based on our assumptions and our fixed ideas about how people ought to behave.
3. Being clear about our needs in a way that does not hold them as more or less important than another's.
Sub Conference: NVC

 Fred Sly & Vika Miller: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy in Prisons
Fred Sly, Program Director & Vika Miller, Executive Director, The Oregon Prison Project. Working with Compassionate Communications/NVC to transform prisons and make them cultures of empathy. Fred says empathy is like a puppy dog pile where no-one is embarrassed to play and all are included versus coldness and mechanical robots.  Vika says it's like a compassionate room where we can be everything that we are. There is room, space and acceptance for all that we are as human beings. The opposite of empathy would be a closed fist of disconnection, resistance, closed heartedness. 
Sub Conference: Justice

 Irmtraud Kauschat: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with NVC

Irmtraud Kauschat is a medical doctor in Germany who works with alternative medicine, Compassionate Communication (NVC) and restorative conflict processes. She uses empathy in her medical practice and has done conflict mediation in Kenya.

Empathy is like creating bridges between people.  The opposite is like a big river between people where they are separated.
Sub Conference: NVC

Dian Killian: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with NVC
Dian Killian is Executive Director of the Center for Collaborative Communication. Through sharing the consciousness and skills of Collaborative Communication, we support people in hearing each other and being heard.  Empathy is like an open hand or warm bath versus a clenched fist.

How to build a culture of empathy?
See as many people as possible trained to listen empathically. See that parents and those working with children can especially listen this way. See that we all have opportunities for expressing/being heard around "strong emotions".
Sub Conference: NVC
Jim Manske: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with NVC
Jim Manske is a Compassionate Communications (NVC) trainer at  He says, empathy is like being a tracker that is following the trail or a delicious banquet, the opposite is a mechanic that is trying to fix everything.

How can we build a culture of empathy? Supporting people in creating a life-serving system within themselves, in their primary relationship, family, workplace, neighborhood, and community. Creating systems that reframe conflict as a necessary part of growth and learning while creating a framework for resolving conflict in a life-serving way.  Sub Conference: NVC

Jori Manske: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with NVC
Jim and Jori Manske offer training, mediation, facilitation, organizational transformation, coaching, mentoring and classes in integrating Compassionate-Nonviolent Communications (NVC).  Jori says Empathy is like; 2 hearts beating together, a salve for the heart, or walking with another in sync. Punishment and domination are the antithesis.

How to
build empathy?

Clarity of awareness and intention - what is empathy and why it matters. Cultural change can happen in a society within one generation if children have a model of empathy, and education is a collaborative exploration.
.. Sub Conference: NVC
Sura Hart & Edwin Rutsch: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy
Sura Hart is an internationally recognized trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) and is the contact person for projects integrating NVC into U.S. schools. She designs and facilitates trainings and curricula for students, parents, teachers, and school administrators around the globe, and is a co-founder of the annual five-day NVC Institute for Educators: Teach for Life!  She is co-designer of The No Fault Zone Game® and co-director of The No-Fault Zone.
Sub Conference: Education and NVC
Victoria Hodson: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy in Education
Victoria Kindle Hodson, MA holds degrees in education and psychology and has been a classroom teacher in public, private, and Montessori schools—preschool through college. Victoria is an educator, author, consultant, curriculum developer and co-designer of The No Fault Zone Game.

Co-Author: The Compassionate Classroom:
Relationship Based Teaching and Learning

Sub Conference: Education

Sub Conference: NVC
Alan Seid: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with NVC
Empathy does not mean agreement.
Empathy has a quality of following - it's not leading.
Keep learning about empathy.
What are the obstacles to deepening empathy? Speed. Being in our heads.
Eric Bowers: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with NVC
Eric Bowers is a CNVC certified Nonviolent Communication Trainer through the Center for Nonviolent Communication. Eric is also life-long learner of Restorative Systems and is training in Restorative Circles.  He has worked as a Children Who Witness Abuse Counselor and Victim Services Worker.
Ray Talyor: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with NVC
Compassionate Communication/ Nonviolent Communication (NVC) trainer. How to build a culture of empathy? Use the phone and Skype to ask for good empathy when upset about a relationship (in order to support that relationship, not for bitching/gossip). Use social networking to set up empathy connections  as well as share funny pictures of cats. Don't forget to talk and listen to the neighbors


Sarah Peyton: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with NVC 
Sarah Peyton is owner of Interpersonal Neurobiology and Needs-Based Communication. She offers classes, workshops, teleseminars and one-on-one sessions bringing together empathy and resonance with an understanding of the brain for sustainable change that feels good. 

How to build
empathy? 1. Lots of education on our own Interpersonal Neurobiology - how our systems work in relationship, what resonance is, how it calms us, how to recognize it.  2. An exploration of the way emotions affect us physically, in particular rage and shame...

Panel 002-A:  How does The No-Fault Zone Game teach and support creating a culture of empathy
 in schools?

Sura Hart
Victoria Hodson

Jared Finkelstein

Tom Gostinger
Sophie B Langri
Edwin Rutsch 

The No-Fault Zone Game helps create a culture of empathy in schools by providing hands-on materials that students and teachers use throughout the school day to: understand themselves, empathize with others, solve problems, resolve conflicts collaboratively. The Game is also used to enrich academics, helping students understand characters in literature and history, and strengthen their own story-telling and writing.
Sub Conference: Education

 Marie Miyashiro Empathy Expert Big Page:

Author: The Empathy Factor at Work
Marie has been a communication and organization consultant for more than 22 years working with businesses, nonprofits, universities and government agencies and professional associations in strategic planning, organization communication and development, employee and manager training and, marketing.
Video: The Empathy Factor at Work:




Empathy Documentary: Dominic Barter on Empathy (1 of 4)  Dominic Barters - Restorative Circles
 One of the things I experience when empathy is present, is that the blocks to action, which does not exclude are removed. So one of the ways that I can identify that empathy is present, is that whatever is impeding action is gone, and that the quality that that action has is that it tends to include, it connects, it brings pieces together, it resolve what appears to be knotted and bond.
Empathy Documentary Project: Insights into Empathy - Inbal Kashtan Inbal Kashtan
Bay Area Nonviolent Communication
Empathy Documentary Project: Insights into Empathy - Miki Kashtan Miki Kashtan
Bay Area Nonviolent Communication
Empathy Documentary - Ike Lasater on Empathy (1 of 3) Ike Lasater
Jean Morrison
Empathy is a quiet place.
Santa Cruz Nonviolent Communication
Empathy Documentary Project: Insights into Empathy - John Kinyon John Kinyon


Katy Dawson
Story of dealing with angry child with empathy.
Empathy Documentary Project: Insights into Empathy - Kathy Simon Kathy Simon
Empathy Documentary Project:   Insights into Empathy  -  Lynda Smith Lynda Smith
Empathy Documentary Project: Insights into Empathy - Newt Bailey Newt Bailey
Bay Area Nonviolent Communication
Empathy Documentary: Meganwind Eoyang on Empathy 1 of 4 Meganwind Eoyang
Bay Area Nonviolent Communication


Rita Marie Johnson,
Founder of the Rasur Foundation and BePeace, talking about the nature and importance of empathy. Empathy is like traveling down a beautiful path to a friends house, I arrive at my finds house and we go into a hot tub.
Scott Catamus
I try to have compassion and not judgment.
Shantigarbha Warren
I’ve recently finished my book on empathy ‘Empathy: the art of compassionate presence’ and I’m currently negotiating with a US publisher. In the meantime, over the summer I was keen to get on the road and share what I’d learned in writing it. So I gave a talk in several locations called ‘Empathy: what, why and how?’
Christy Michaels
Desiree Banzhaf
Kit Miller
Nora Hoffman
Nancy Kahn
Oren J Sofer