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  1. Resolving Internal Conflicts
  3. We can apply NVC to resolve the internal conflicts that often result in depression. In his book The Revolution in Psychiatry, Ernest Becker attributes depression to “cognitively arrested alternatives.” This means that when we have a judgmental dialogue going on within, we become alienated from what we are needing and cannot then act to meet those needs. Depression is indicative of a state of alienation from our own needs.
  5. A woman studying NVC was suffering a profound bout of depression. She was asked to identify the voices within her when she felt the most depressed and to write them down in dialogue form as though they were speaking to each other. These were the first two lines of her dialogue:
  7. Voice 1 (“ career woman”): I should do something more with my life. I’m wasting my education and talents.
  8. Voice 2 (“ responsible mother”): You’re being unrealistic. You’re a mother of two children and can’t handle that responsibility, so how can you handle anything else?
  10. Notice how these inner messages are infested with judgmental terms and phrases such as should, wasting my education and talents, and can’t handle. Variations of this dialogue had been running in this woman’s head for months. She was asked to imagine the “career woman” voice taking an “NVC pill” in order to restate its message in the following form: “When a, I feel b, because I am needing c. Therefore I now would like d.”
  12. She subsequently translated “I should do something with my life. I’m wasting my education and talents” into: “When I spend as much time at home with the children as I do without practicing my profession, I feel depressed and discouraged because I am needing the fulfillment I once had in my profession. Therefore, I now would like to find part-time work in my profession.”
  14. Then it was the turn of her “responsible mother” voice to undergo the same process of translation. These lines, “You’re being unrealistic. You’re a mother of two children and can’t handle that responsibility, so how can you handle anything else?” were transformed into: “When I imagine going to work, I feel scared because I’m needing reassurance that the children will be well taken care of. Therefore, I now would like to plan how to provide high-quality child care while I work and how to find sufficient time to be with the children when I am not tired.”
  16. This woman felt great relief as soon as she translated her inner messages into NVC. She was able to get beneath the alienating messages she was repeating to herself and offer herself empathy. Although she still faced practical challenges, such as securing quality child care and her husband’s support, she was no longer subject to the judgmental internal dialogue that kept her from being aware of her own needs.
  18. -- Rosenberg, Marshall B.; Arun Gandhi (2003-09-01). Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships (Nonviolent Communication Guides). Puddledancer Press. Kindle Edition.
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