An upcoming workshop places an emphasis on empathy.
Jared Finkelstein and Kathleen Macferran will be in town this week to lead a multi-day workshop that focuses on communicating with clarity and finding commonalities.
“I think we’re in a moment in time where it’s particularly apparent finding common human ground is imperative,” Finkelstein said. “In certain circles these ideas are really taking root.”
Finkelstein and Macferran are Nonviolent Communication instructors, certified by the Center for Nonviolent Communication based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication is a global organization that seeks to encourage more compassionate human relations through training, conflict resolution and consulting.
The organization’s root ideas come from an approach to nonviolent living developed by psychologist Marshall Rosenberg and date back to the ’60s.
“One of the things I learned as a child was the Golden Rule (treat others how you would want to be treated),” said Darcy Lockhart, a Juneau life coach and NVC proponent in an interview. “One of the things NVC enabled me to do was live it.”
Finkelstein said the name Nonviolent Communication comes from emulating the compassionate communication styles of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.
“It’s not about the absence of violence, it’s about the openness of the heart,” Finkelstein said. “NVC is about increasing our capacity for connecting with ourselves and with others.”
The program has some local history, too.
Both instructors have come to Juneau multiple times, most recently in 2016, Lockhart said.
“I call them the dynamic duo,” Lockhart said of their energy when in town.
The Thursday introduction is 6:30-8 p.m. at the Downtown Public Library, 292, Marine Way, and is free and open to the public. The Connecting Across Difference workshop is 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday at Bartlett Regional Hospital, 3260 Hospital Drive.
Saturday will focus on on speaking up honestly and listening compassionately. Sunday will focus on deepening understanding on how to connect to others.
Saturday’s session costs $105 and Sunday’s is $63. Register by emailing email@example.com.
While the workshops sound solemn, Finkelstein said they’re generally lighthearted.
“Our workshops tend to be fun,” Finkelstein said. “There tends to be laughter.”
Finkelstein and Lockhart said anyone looking to communicate more clearly and with greater empathy would likely take something away from the class.
However, if Finkelstein had to narrow the scope, he said people who feel they have problems clearly communicating may get the most out of the class.
Lockhart said she leads regular meetings of compassionate communicators in Juneau, as does Meg Cartwright, and Lockhart intends to start new meeting groups after the workshop.
“It’s allowed me to be very clear about what’s going on with me,” Lockhart said.
• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BenHohenstatt.