Non-violent communication

Published: 19/01/2023

Non-violent communication, or compassionate communication, is a tool that can be used in emotive situations.


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Gardner, A.. (2023). Non-violent communication. Dartington Trust.

Non-violent communication, or compassionate communication is split into the four areas of: 

  • Observations. 
  • Feelings. 
  • Needs. 
  • Requests. 

This video is taken from the Courageous Conversations webinar, where Ali Gardner uses a case study to explore non-violent communication. In this webinar, Ali talks about how we need to think about mindset over method when considering approaches, and why emotion should be considered alongside skills-based approaches as we think about courageous conversations. 

Talking points 

This video looks at: 

  • How non-violent communication highlights when people are not working in a compassionate way. 
  • The importance of separating judgement, evaluation and interpretation from the description of what’s happened at the observation stage. 
  • How naming our emotions can help others to hear what is important to us. 
  • The importance of sharing the need you have instead of the strategy you want somebody to complete. 
  • The difference between requests and demands. 

Resources that are mentioned in this video  

Related resources 

Reflective questions 

Here are reflective questions to stimulate conversation and support practice:  

  1. Are there changes that you might need to make to your mindset in order to effectively apply non-violent communication?  
  2. How can you start to separate judgement, evaluation and interpretation from the description of events? 

Professional Standards

PQS:KSS - Relationships and effective direct work | Communication | The role of supervision | Promote and govern excellent practice | Developing excellent practitioners | Effective use of power and authority | Emotionally intelligent practice supervision | Person-centred practice | Safeguarding | Effective assessments and outcome based support planning | Direct work with individuals and families

CQC - Effective | Caring | Responsive

PCF - Values and ethics | Diversity and equality | Critical reflection and analysis | Intervention and skills

RCOT - Understanding relationship | Service users | Develop intervention | Collaborative | Communication | Support development