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Workshop: Self Empathy and Communication Skills

November 5, 2016- 12:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Do you take a moment to check in with yourself and you are met with a chorus of conflicting voices?

How do you navigate this inner landscape and find your way to a sense of peace and clarity?

In this workshop you will learn a concrete framework and set of skills to meet your experience in a way that opens the door to compassion and wise discernment.

Internal conflict and external stressors leave you feeling depleted and confused. You need a new way through. You have likely given a lot to others and are ready to give some gifts to yourself. It’s difficult to know what you really need and how you thrive, especially when social conditioning exhorts you to maintain an external focus.

In facing difficult situations or even your own high standards, you can sometimes have an inner committee of thoughts and feelings pulling you different directions. Trying to make sense of it can be tiring work. You need a break from internal processing that goes in circles and self-analysis that leaves you feeling disconnected.

In this one day workshop you will learn to make sense of your internal world with a simple and direct framework that also enables you to meet yourself with compassion. You will practice identifying your feelings and needs and committing to effective action. In the framework of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), this is called self-empathy.

Self-empathy is a subtle skill that teaches compassionate witnessing of your experience (mindfulness). Learning self-empathy isn’t about affirmations or trying to talk yourself out of your feelings. It’s about identifying disconnecting thoughts, beliefs, habits, and old stories, and finding the way to your heart’s longing.

As you learn the skill of self-empathy it gets easier to translate self-critical thoughts and judgments of others into feelings and needs and the actions to meet needs. Over time, you find that you don’t take things so personally and that you have more confidence in meeting difficult situations.

Join us for this one day workshop and learn and practice coming into compassionate relationship with yourself. Need more information before you sign up? Keep scrolling down for workshop content.


First Half of the Afternoon: We will begin by naming and defining the foundational elements that make self-empathy practice accessible. These elements are:

• Inner Compassionate Witness: This means having a “you” that can step back from your experience and notice what’s happening with gentleness.
• Commitment/Intention: the practice of choosing moment by moment to pursue truth, joy, love, & well-being.
• Self-study: How do you thrive? How do you block nourishment? Recognizing feelings and needs, & recognizing patterns.
• Skills: Learn to practice an inner dialogue structure. Learn to name feelings, and needs, and make specific requests.
• Practice: Maintain consistent engagement in that which supports your thriving.
• Fluid Access to Core Truths: This means that you are able to easily articulate the core truths that contribute a thriving life.

Second Half of the Afternoon: Facing Others’ Reactivity and Staying Centered

We will now turn our attention toward external situations that trigger reactivity and how to stay connected to yourself in those difficult situations. We will start by naming common triggers. In addition to the self-empathy skills you have been practicing, I will demonstrate some ways that make it easier to access those skills when someone is in front of you and you feel pressure to respond.

Responding to Shame, Guilt, Anger, and Depression

Shame, guilt, anger, and depression are important alarm feelings. They indicate that a certain kind of thinking is happening for you. Specifically, with shame, you are having some version of a thought that you are a bad person. With guilt you are having some version of a thought that you should or shouldn’t have behaved in a particular way. For anger you are having some version of a thought that others or life should or shouldn’t be as it is. For depression, you are having some version of a thought that you should or shouldn’t have certain feelings and needs. These feelings only arise in relationship to a cherished need or value, so it’s essential to be able to turn towards these feelings and connect with the life giving energy underneath.

Appreciation/Celebration and Responding to the Inner Committee

An important part of creating a consistent compassionate inner dialogue is the practice of noticing when needs are met. This means giving as much reflection and attention to yourself when you are thriving as when you are struggling. You will practice three different formats for appreciating and celebrating yourself.

At the end of the class, we will do a closing circle and talk about next steps in your practice.

We will take two 30 minute breaks during the day. Please bring a potluck item or lunch with you.

Do you need to know more before deciding whether to join us or not? Please give Kayte Gillespie a call or send an email with any questions you have. I am happy to talk with you. 778-919-5283 wcciassociation@gmail.com

Facilitator: Kayte Gillespie

$45 per person (includes workshop and handouts)

You do not have to have any experience in NVC to attend this workshop. The content in this workshop is a building block of the NVC (or compassionate communication) method. Please feel welcome to forward to friends and family.

To register please send an etransfer or paypal to wcciassociation@gmail.com and include your full name, email and name of the workshop (as we have many at this time)

CANCELLATION POLICY: to meet needs for inclusion, security, and predictability refunds are only given if requested 72 hours before the start of the course, so please discern carefully.


November 5, 2016
12:30 pm - 6:30 pm


Dharma Lab
1814 Pandora Street
Vancouver, Canada


Western Canada Contact Improvisation Group