Transforming Distress

This process is adapted with gratitude from the work of many practitioners: Marshall Rosenberg, Susan Skye, Robert Gonzalez, and Meganwind Eoyang.

  1. Describe the stimulus of my distress
    1. What triggers me? 
    2. Describe the moment I first felt pain.
    3. What am I seeing, hearing, smelling, etc?
  2. Express my reaction
    1. What am I telling myself? 
    2. What is my judgment of others or myself? 
    3. Voice all the judgments until I have clarity about my core belief or deepest judgment.
  3. Scan my body
    1. Sense my body from the inside and experience the wisdom of the body.
    2. What physical sensations do I notice?
    3. Notice any desires in the body – for attention, expression, or movement. 
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5 D’s of Disconnection

  1. Diagnosis: including evaluations, analysis, criticisms, comparisons, projections, labels, moralistic judgements (ideas of rightness/wrongness, goodness/badness, diligence/laziness, appropriateness/inappropriateness, etc).  In using communications similar to the above, we are using static language to diagnose who we think people are instead of communicating what is important to us.  Such language increases the likelihood of defensiveness, argument or returned criticism and lessens the likelihood of understanding and connection.
  1. Denial of Responsibility: including words like “should”, “ought” “must” “can’t” “have to”, attributing the choices we make to “company policy” or “superiors orders”, or attributing the cause of our feelings to other people or extrinsic situations (“You make me feel frustrated!”).
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Four Levels of Interaction 

– by Martha Lasley

One of the things we do in an authentic communication group is to interact in the relational space in the present moment. We call this level 4. Let’s look at all four levels of interaction.

Level 1 is chit chat and requires very little listening. We talk about the weather, what we saw on the news, where we went on vacation. This is the opposite of “here and now” and known as “there and then”. There is nothing wrong with level one or any other level. They are not good or bad. Many times, chit chat warms us up so that we can go deeper into the next level  And occasionally we go too deep too fast, and a part finds that unsafe, “takes a flight” back to level one with a joke or some other banter.… Read more

Rank, Power and Privilege

Issues of power and privilege are often invisible to people who have higher rank, but are more visible to people with lower rank. As facilitators we can move groups towards understanding and effectiveness when we can see the dynamics of rank.

What is Rank

Rank is the sum of our power and privilege that arises from social, psychological, contextual, spiritual or cultural norms. Whether conscious or unconscious, earned or inherited, rank determines much of our communication behavior.

Types of Rank

Social Rank

Social rank is based on the values, biases and prejudice of the mainstream, dominant culture and comes with privileges and more opportunities in life.… Read more

How Do You Repair Harm from Microaggressions?

If you’ve ever said or heard something offensive and didn’t know what to do, you are not alone. It’s one thing to recognize insults. It’s another to respond in ways that repair the harm. People may mean well when they say, “I don’t see color.” Or “He’s not a typical gay guy.” Or “What she is trying to say is…”  Many times, they aren’t even aware of how much pain these messages can stimulate. It can be shocking to learn that our positive intentions are experienced as painfully racist, homophobic or sexist.

Below are a few examples of microaggressions, the positive intention of the speaker and the painful impact on the receiver.… Read more

Internal Family Systems Coaching Support Authentic Communication and Systemic Change

“Bringing IFS into coaching is one of the most exciting and needed applications taking place right now.” – Richard Schwartz, creator of Internal Family Systems

The problem with many coaching models is that coaches are taught to sideline, or even eliminate parts of the psyche, especially if those parts are blocking or resisting progress toward your goals. 

Since parts cannot be eliminated, this type of shaming leaves clients conflicted as they struggle to transform unwanted behaviors. Instead of going to war with your saboteur or marginalizing resistant parts, IFS coaching respects each part and supports whole system alignment so that desired change initiatives and radical authenticity emerge.… Read more

Nonviolent Communication for Couples

Couples coaching is no picnic. After infidelity, the most common reasons that couples seek coaching are conflicts about money, communication, and sex. Major life events such as getting married, having a child, moving to a new home, or starting a new job, are also major reasons that couples seek coaching. 

How many couples come to coaching to tune up their marriage, revisit their vision, or celebrate their partnership? It’s rare. You start working with a coach because you’re in trouble. If you could fix your relationship yourselves, you would have done so already. Nonviolent communication for couples helps you deepen intimacy, build trust and cultivate radical compassion.… Read more

Dealing With Difficult People, Starting with Yourself

Making Friends with Your Inner Judge

  1. What makes you difficult? What do you DO that stimulates you to think of yourself as difficult?
  2. What does your inner JUDGE say about your actions? 
  3. What are your feelings connected to each judgment?
  4. What are your unmet needs connected to each judgment?

1. Action: I chose to co-facilitate with someone who did not have the competencies I expected. 

2. Inner Judge:3. Feelings4. Needs
I’m so stupid, could ruin my reputationdisappointedrecognition 
I’ve never been wrong about people beforeshockedtrust my intuition
I was duped by his on-line articulationbewilderedcareful choice

Making Friends with Your Inner Chooser

  1. Think again about what you DO that stimulates you to think of yourself as difficult.
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Trigger Translation Journal

1. Trigger – 

The first step is capturing some stimulating moments, the words or events, the “trigger” with no censoring – anything goes. Not telling anyone else, just acknowledging something came up with some charge for me. Remembering, when I focus on wrongness or blame, my attention can easily move to seeking someone to punish. It might be I want to punish the other person for treating me poorly, or I may kick myself for being stupid or not learning better. I mention the “trigger” below and move to step 2.

2. Observation –

The second step is to translate this stimulus/trigger into a simple, neutral description (no judgments or labels) – what took place; an observation.… Read more

What is Empathy

What is empathy?  

  1. A way to connect with 
    1. how it is for the person
    2. what they are trying to convey
    3. a deeper essence of what is going on in them


  1. To connect with others
  2. To understand others
  3. To increase my capacity to be compassionate (pleasurable and empowering) 
  4. To contribute to another’s well-being
    1. their need for connection with another person
    2. their need for understanding
    3. their need for clarity
    4. their need for compassion/self-compassion


  1. By focusing our attention on feelings and needs

When to speak it aloud?

  1. To deepen the quality of our connection: 
    1. when I want to check if my understanding matches their experience
    2. when I sense the person wants confirmation they’re understood
  2. When I sense it would support the person’s clarity or deeper self-connection (use this with discretion and caution)

For more articles like this, go to the www.authenticcommunicationgroup.comRead more