The Healing Power of Empathy

True Stories About Transforming Relationships.

Edited by Mary Goyer

Endorsements Read 3 Meaningful Stories Buy this Book

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  • The Healing Power of Empathy front cover
  • The Healing Power of Empathy back cover


A powerful argument for mindfully developing empathy and creating deeper connections with colleagues, friends, and loved ones.
Empathy is an essential leadership skill and a cornerstone of good relationships—but it can be hard to access when it’s most needed. Luckily, empathy is also a learnable skill, with the power to move conversations out of gridlock and pain. With mindfulness, empathy has deescalated conflicts, combated loneliness, and built human connections in the most unlikely places. With this book, readers will learn how anger and blame get translated and productive dialogues made possible, how to repair arguments before they cause damage, and how self-empathy transforms relationships. With more than 70 stories collected from Nonviolent Communication trainers and practitioners around the world, readers will encounter new ways to talk to the people in their lives and learn techniques for empathizing with one’s self and with others at home, at work, and in the community.


Cover endorsements:

“Our ability to offer empathy can allow us to stay vulnerable, defuse potential violence, help us hear the word no without taking it as a rejection, revive lifeless conversation, and even hear the feelings and needs expressed through silence. The best way I can get understanding from another person is to give this person the understanding too. If I want them to hear my needs and feelings, I first need to empathize.”
—Marshall B. Rosenberg, Author and Creator of Nonviolent Communication, over 1,500,000 copies sold worldwide

“Each vignette provides a living example of the transformative power of this special form of listening and being. Every story, in its own way, gives a hopeful glimpse of a world where people deeply care for one another and express that caring through their language. This book inspires me to bring more empathy into my life and work to make this world a reality.”
—David McCain, Trainer, Coach, Consultant, and CNVC Certification Candidate

“These stories are incredible and yet so authentic that you know they’re written by real people in real situations . . . so real it’s obvious that empathy . . . works!
—Mair Alight, CNVC Certified Trainer Interior endorsements

Interior endorsements:

Endorsements of The Healing Power of Empathy

“You don’t understand anything until you learn it more than one way’ noted the late artificial intelligence researcher, Marvin Minsky. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is often taught as a process for connecting with others, by following a sequence of steps. However, it can be challenging—and frustrating—to adapt this one method to the variety of situations we face. This book collects many stories of individuals skillfully applying NVC, with each told in the contributor’s unique voice. I know of no single resource better than this book for those wanting to enrich their understanding of empathy.”
—Earl J. Wagner, Compassionate Communication Trainer and Artificial Intelligence Software Engineer at Google

“This is the book I want everyone to read so they understand in a deeper way what empathy is, how it’s transmitted, and what a healing impact it has on both giver and receiver. I keep it by my bedside and like to read one or two stories before I go to sleep to warm my heart and remind me of the kindness in the world. These real-life examples of the power of empathy serve to teach, model, and inspire in a transformative way no other book I know does. As I read the stories, it was like the empathy got absorbed into all the cells of my body, like an immersion into an empathy bath. I plan to add it to my resource list for workshops on NVC and empathy.”
—Ali Miller, MFT, NVC-Based Therapist and Communication Coach

“If you ever wondered how people who are deeply committed to Nonviolent Communication live their path in their workplaces, families, and intimate relationships, this is the book for you. It permits the reader to take a peek into the daily lives and struggles of people who have been learning this work for decades, changing their language and their hearts along the way. It also reveals the odd and beautiful quiet that comes from seeing the world through a new lens. Read this book for inspiration, and then read it again for companionship.”
—Sarah Peyton, author, Your Resonant Self: Guided Meditations and Exercises to Engage Your Brain’s Capacity for Healing

“Inspiring and authentic! Real stories from real people sharing their transformative experiences of empathy in its many and glorious forms. Mary is the perfect person to have collected these stories. I hope you get the opportunity to be in the presence of her empathy.”
—Jean Morrison, CNVC Certified Trainer

“I enjoyed reading this. I couldn’t wait to see what the next story was. I like reading about people being compassionate and soothing conflict instead of escalating. I teach Nonviolent Communication and these will be great examples to go through line by line and see how each participant would respond in that situation.”
—Jeff Tretsven, Trainer, Coach, Mediator

“Mary’s empathy anthology is timely because empathy is needed now more than ever. Reading this can strengthen your compassion muscle and help you find your own voice even during the most difficult interactions. I look forward to sharing these stories with my university students. Kudos, Mary!”
—Christine King, CNVC Certified trainer

“I’m so totally delighted with this book, which shares what empathy can look like in a real-life conversation. I’ve been wanting support for growing this crucial skill and way of being for years, and I believe this book is the answer to this long-lived yearning of mine! Each story seems to capture a different way of being an empathic listener, based upon the people involved and the situation. Perfect! I’m going to draw upon this book for future trainings.”
—Jane Connor, CNVC Certified Trainer

“I am overjoyed to see this collection of stories of empathy in practice in the real-world conflicts that we are challenged with in our daily lives. This book has something for everyone from compassionate beginner to experienced NVC trainer. I appreciate the care that is shown by selecting stories that not only show the power of empathy, but also show the resulting change that it makes in us as human beings. I will keep this book for my personal growth as well as recommending it for others who are looking to improve their empathy skills and practices.”
—David Browning, New York City NVC Facilitator

NVC Empathy Web Resources

Click here for Marshall Rosenberg Empathy Articles
Click here for Marshall Rosenberg Empathy Videos
Click here for Nonviolent Communication Empathy Articles
Click here for Nonviolent Communication Empathy Videos
There is a wealth of information on Nonviolent Communication – in articles and videos. Of course we endorse all of Marshall’s sharing’s, however, there are many transcripts and videos created by others. Due to limited resources we do not verify the full accuracy of any particular video or articles created by others, even though there is plenty of wonderful and educational information on the web.

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