Marshall Rosenberg

Classic Marshall Stories – work in progress …

See “My History with Marshall” to read about the early history of nonviolent communication from the perspective of Marshall’s friend Allan Rholfs.
See “Friends of Marshall Rosenberg” for recordings of presentations and workshops.

Marshall Rosenberg (wikipedia) developed nonviolent, compassionate communication in the 1960s and 1970s and continued to develop it throughout his life. The core insight has been about how awareness for universal needs can help us to make life-serving, consentual choices for us and the people around us.

How to make life more wonderful, from a place of joyfulness, for ourselves and others?

Marshall B. Rosenberg (1934-2015)

Giraffe Ears – Listening with the Heart

A key learning possible is listening with our hearts what is going on behind the surface of the words, listening to the deeper meaning behind the words, the things that maybe are not being said. This can be called empathy or deeper understanding or being heard deeply. When this happens a person will feel a change in their body, they will relax and find a certain inner peace, that is very healing.

Giraffe Ears - Being Fully Present with the Heart


Marshall insisted that he had created nothing new and kept pointing to people who inspired him, who contributed to his learning. He gave interesting insights into his path of personal growth and into these various influences in his “autobiography” which was published as part of the dissertation of Majorie Witts.

Carl Rogers – Client-Centered Therapy

1966: Psychiatrist Carl Rogers (2R) leading a panel discussing mental health issues.

Originally Marshall had studied psychotherapy and here the influence of the humanist psychologue Carl Rogers is primordial. Carl Rogers (wikipedia) led the way in the empowerment of the “client” – away from a master perspective of the psychotherapist, opening up to a sense that every human being knows their own wisdom and solution, but the _presence_ or another human being who trusts that – can have an empowering and healing effect.

Al Chappelle – My Most Important Influence

LP-Record Cover 1971: Al Chappelle together with Marshall Rosenberg

A completely different influence – evaluated by Marshall as “the most important” – was the teaching of Al Chappelle – originally a leader of a black liberation group in St. Louis. After Marshall and Al became friends, they toured the US together in the time of the Civil Rights movement. They worked together with circles of blacks and whites in communities, trying to build bridges across communities.

Where is the money?

Al taught Marshall an important lesson in approaching people with power with request. Start with the thing you want. The “Where is the money?” method. Let the bank director ask you for the information they need to be willing to fulfill the request, rather than making a long speech, before saying what you want.

A Path to Our Common Humanity – Friendship

I am particularly touched by the sense of a common humanity, when seeing Al and Marshall as a team of friends in those times. Heart opening.

Marshall Rosenberg – I Wish Our Love Had Stayed