The Disappearing Trainer

figure with top half fading into mist

With a sigh of relief and recognition, I enjoyed reading Robert Kržišnik’s blog post exploring our needs as trainers and facilitators. I aspire to be the kind of trainer who is a bridge for a short while in people’s lives. A bridge that supports them to find NVC and arrive in a new place. I’d like to be myself as a trainer and someone who recognises when my tanks are low and when I need a top-up of empathy, care flowing my way, rest and a reality check. (Note to the reader- sometimes I fail). Rest contributes so much to my being able to show up I see rest as resistance – as building my ability to change the way we are with ourselves and each other.

Over the years I have explored what supports me to avoid being a leader who is needing recognition, empathy or love from their participants and I suspect it takes constant awareness and feedback from a caring community as Robert suggests. Also a degree of self care and awareness, space to breathe and check in at the very minimum. The cost of not paying attention to this area is to steer far away from the vision of a world that works for all- ie we will repeat the same errors of the past- our blind spots and trauma being passed on.

I want to make a distinction offer clarity – I do of course have these needs for empathy and recognition – what Robert is alerting us to is not needing it from participants during a training. That is – not being in deficit and seeing it in subtle or not so subtle ways. I cannot nor do I wish to, turn off my need for empathy, for example, it still lives in me and I want to be alive to it. want to live with this need sufficiently cared for or nourished as much as possible and to walk into the room as a trainer having done my work. The same for my need fo recognition or love.

To offer more in this area of being a trainer it has also been in my awareness recently about making sure I do not disappear. I carry many roles as a Trainer in Nonviolent Communication, obviously often the trainer- the leader, the expert in Nonviolent Communication- eek!, for the past two years the assessor …for years I also walked into rooms with the label of Psychologist.  I say carry for it is and can be a burden – and can get ‘sticky’ and people generally see me through one of these labels like a lens. I end up with a longing to be seen for me- just me, not the roles I have, the skills I have developed, the mistakes I make as I step into leadership, the areas of my life not healed or hidden from me. All of which seem to be amplified as others see me step up- then I start to lose myself
If I do not spend time with people who just see me- then I start to disappear somewhat. The antidote is to hang out with my mum, with my partner, with friends who know me in different roles- who see me and accept me just as I am.

Photo by meriç tuna on Unsplash

NVC Dance Floors and Me

I use the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Dance Floors as one of the main tools I use to support learning and integration of NVC for myself, with others in teachings and also in my partnership when we get stuck. This post is written in gratitude for the work that Gina Lawrie and Bridget Belgrave did to develop these jewels! Thank you both.

I often the story of how I stood in a wet rainy car park outside my office in Manchester many years ago and engaged in a conversation with a colleague. It wasn’t a heated conversation but I was practising staying with her…offering my presence. I noticed that my feet were moving ‘as if’ I was on the dance floor… tracking myself and her…. ‘wow’ I remember thinking, ‘this NVC stuff has gone in deep!’

I really enjoy one of the Dance Floors that doesn’t get used much, the ‘Yes / No Dance. Many people new to NVC don’t even consider that they can use the power of being connected to their needs to make a decision.

Other ways they can support are with Anger, Guilt, Shame or Depression, with Regret and with transforming the Pain of Unmet Needs to the Beauty of Needs
Many trainers around the world use the Dance Floors and if you come to one of my workshops I will dig one out that I think fits the issue you are wanting to explore. An inner process – ie self empathy- exploring your inner world or  an outer process, a conversation you’d like to practise.

Find out more

You can find out more about the NVC Dance Floors by going to You can also buy an NVC Dance Floor App here.

Read an Introduction to NVC Dancefloors (PDF)


Celebrating Entanglement

couple on upturned tree roots

Listening to a talk given by Bayo Akomolafe earlier this month on overcoming our whiteness I enjoyed his use of the word entanglement and was reminded of the research about trees and their ability to communicate and connect via their roots. The forests show an interconnectedness which shows how much the system relies on support and interspecies support at that.

And what if being entangled with one another is our natural way of being? Boyo talks about a piece of paper… it’s a cloud, it holds the rain and the soil of the tree which made the paper and the people worked and made the paper and the paper came to you. We are entangled with each other and with our planet. This is not a new idea for me. I give thanks for the water as it comes out of my tap- to my ancestors who built this city and the water pipes and the people who keep things working and then marvel that it pours out. I live with gratitude. And Boyo’s talk made me think again… Can I let myself fall into even more entanglements with others… let myself open further to love from my partner, get even more open to love from others? Can I let go and allow the natural entanglement the earth is calling for? Can I feel the trees as they are being cut down? The cry of the earth as pipelines are built? Feel the pain of the child miner or the mother putting her children onto a refugee boat?

My online dictionary has entanglement offered with three definitions, only the definition quantum entanglement* has a positive slant, the other two definitions are negative- caught up, ensnared, difficult, awkward to sort out. And this is where modern psychology seems to have taken us. We shouldn’t be entangled, enmeshed with one another- we should be separate and relationships which are entanglements are ones to get out of. And yet we are entangled. I want to see it and live it and make choices from there. Sure I’ve been in relationships where I was entangled- but I couldn’t see it. That’s what made it messy and unhealthy for me- not the entanglement itself. That I couldn’t see it. So now I work from the starting place that we ARE all entangled- work out how and where and find myself and my needs from that place. Rather than trying to avoid entanglement I want to see it as part of being human. The trees, plants, animals other humans including you, we are all part of a messy whole. I’d like to celebrate this and walk towards it rather than try and avoid it. In THIS place I hope to find deeper connections and a place to live more fully human.

Another piece of research let me to this article- exploring the entanglements we have with things– that’s maybe a post for another day…

“We often manage to live relatively unaware of the full complexity of what and who provides for us, but we are nevertheless deeply entangled in the vitality of things and the assemblages of their relations “- Ian Hodder

*Quantum Entanglement  is beyond my little brain today…but it sounds like the secret of the universe- particles spatially apart act in correlation… seems like teleportation is possible… well that’s what I learned.