64 Days – Week 3

1st Monday Full room
Practice Group Curriculum

Week Three - A Deeper Understanding and Focus on Needs

Thoughts and Intentions for the Week

This week's work focuses on needs and developing a "needs consciousness." It also focuses on the basic NVC concept that we can see others as not the cause of our feelings, but the stimulus. Our needs and our thoughts play a pivotal role in generating our feelings.

Review Homework

Reading and Discussion

"People don't make us angry, how we think makes us angry."

This quote may be difficult to understand at first, because most us us have been taught something completely different for most of our lives. The idea that it is our thoughts that make us angry and not the person "doing it to us" is a pivotal shift into NVC consciousness. Some may argue, that it really is other people that make them angry. I will not argue with you if you want to think about it that way. Your truth is yours and not subject to my agreement or disagreement. I don't like debating "what is true." I would love to share with you however, that when I think of others words or behavior as strictly a stimulus, not the actual cause of my feelings, I have more choice and less pain.

If people make me angry, then I have no choice. I am the victim of others (or my own) behavior. If I take responsibility for my feelings and needs then I have a role (the cause) and therefore am empowered. NVC teaches us that we can choose how we think about the things others say or do (the stimulus). Also, if I choose to focus on what others should or shouldn't be doing, then I'm wasting precious time that I could be using, thinking about what my needs are and how I can get them met (and not at the expense of anyone else). It is this shift of attention or focus that empowers us to create the life we want and at the same time allows us to see ourselves and others more compassionately.

Discussion Questions

1) Isn't it true that other people really are the cause of our frustration by definition? If they didn't do what they did, we would not get upset?

2) How are judgments an expression of feelings and needs?

3) What if I want to be upset?

Exercise #1 - What's My Need?

This is done in groups of any size (up to 300). One person glances at their need sheet and secretly chooses a need. Then, keeping the word secret, they tell the group what they would do in order to meet that need. Then, based on hearing the activity, group members guess what need they chose. Whoever guesses goes next. If you you guess correctly more than once, you can give your turn to someone else, or take it yourself.

Exercise #2 - Translating into Feelings and Needs Part II

This exercise can be done in diads or triads. Have your partner or the person on your left read a quote from below. See if you can respond to or "translate" the statement into Feelings and Needs. Use you "Feelings and Needs Sheets" for help. See how it lands. Move on to the next person and quote.

1. You’re the most self-centered person I know!!

Are you feeling?

Because you need?

2. You're such a nit picker!!!

Are you feeling?

Because you need?

3. People who eat meat should be punished!.

Are you feeling?

Because you need?

Exercise #3 - More Translating into Feelings and Needs

This exercise can be done in the large group. Have group members read quotes from their "Jackalog" they kept throughout the week and "translate" the Jackal statements into Feelings and Needs. This is an excellent opportunity for Facilitators and others to model "NVC Empathy".

Harvest by sharing experiences from the group and re-enforce concepts of cause and stimulus and needs relating to judgment if possible.


1) Needs Assessment - Print a Needs Sheet from theexercise.org and write a number between 1 and 10 next to the left of each need to express how well that need is met in your life. 1 would be not met hardly at all and 10 would mean it was completely met. Next write a number between 1 and 10 next to the right of each need to express how important to you it is to have that need met in your life.

2) Celebration Work - Write an NVC appreciation every morning and share it with someone by phone or email.

For more information call (646) 201-9226 or email to practicegroups@nycnvc.org