Non-Violent Communication (Compassionate Communication) – Empathizers work constantly to become more fluent in “giraffe language” – the language of the heart, to connect deeply to all beings through recognizing their feelings and needs. We do not judge the strategies you use to meet your needs as good or bad, rather we ask if the strategies meet your needs. Finally, we give you the autonomy to choose the best strategies that will meet your needs.
We have do not exercise “power over” clients in any fashion. We do not claim to know what will be the best strategies for you. Once you receive empathy and understanding as we define it, we believe that the ideal strategies will simply come to you. Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of Non-Violent Communication, derived his knowledge from his Ph.D in clinical psychology (empathyology) and from comparative religion (empatheology). Science + Spirit come together to create a more eclectic practice called Empath*ology that has paved the way for peaceful conversations, understanding, and meeting needs in a synergistic way.
A friend shared a definition of the word “humility” that we think really describes our service.
Humility is the ability to see a person’s needs and then act in ways to meet those needs when practical.
We strive to act with humility. Sometimes it may not be practical to act on a request, other times it may be. Saying “no” and mentioning our unmet needs behind the no can help us connect in consensual and mutually beneficial ways. Each session will be completely unique and the consent of all parties involved remains a crucial part of carrying out the Empath*ology practice
Human Scale Development – Needs
Manfred Max Neef’s “Human Scale Development” – instead of using the needs from Marshall’s NVC book, I choose to use Neef’s 9 fundamental human needs of: Sustenance, Protection, Affection, Understanding, Participation, Idleness, Creation, Identity, and Freedom. The goal of Human Scale Development is to empower the impoverished to become the subject of their own development as opposed to becoming the object that those in power try to develop on their own through programs and large bureaucratic institutions.
The language around need satisfaction can be confusing. Will making a request satisfy my needs forever? Will this one strategy always work as long as I don’t change a thing? The reality is that, while our needs stay the same, the strategies we use to meet needs must change with the changing environment. If you want to learn more about this phenomenon, you can learn from the food manufacturers’ handbook!
Food manufacturers understand that your needs change over time and they change with varying environments.
Food manufacturers have called this your “need state“. Your need state for a movie theater food experience might be different than your need state for an impressive 4-course meal with work colleagues. There are different strategies to meet your singular need for food, depending on your environment. In the same way, we have the same basic needs that are outlined above, but the strategies to meet those needs depend on your need state.
Much of the work at Empa-Tea is helping our clients understand their own needs, and how these needs change over time. With this understanding, you become the master of your own body and you start to imagine strategies that are both exciting and satisfying. Through our sessions individuals, groups, and businesses have evolved their thinking to find more fun and less costly ways of meeting their needs – iteration by iteration.
Each empathizer will have some foundation of yoga practice or training. Many empathizers will be certified yoga teachers, and others will be practitioners and students. All empathizers will have the ability to lead a guided meditation, to instruct simple or possibly complex yoga poses, and to practice the principles of ahimsa – non-harm to sentient beings. Whatever the level of experience, each empathizer will have knowledge of at least 3 different simple yoga poses aimed at satisfying the different needs mentioned above.
Moving away from a human-centric focus
Up until now, Neef’s needs and Marshall’s non-violent communication have been applied strictly to humans. Empath*ology acknowledges that animals, and even plants, share fundamental needs and possibly feelings if we look deeply for them.
In fact, every single system has needs that must be met in order for the system to continue growing and evolving. A business has needs, if these needs go unmet, the business can go under. A building has needs, if they go unmet, the building could collapse, or sicken it’s inhabitants.
Empath*ology hopes to bridge the gap between humans and other systems because each living organism – or organization – requires subsistence and will thrive when their needs are met. Empath*ology can be used to improve relationships among others, ourselves, and other humans, but it can also be used to better understand our pets, plants, and mushrooms that we may grow for food or decoration. Getting in touch with fundamental needs of all beings is the main goal of the practice and is reflected in the Empath*ology model.
The Nature Principle
The Nature Principle by Richard Louv – the physical building where EMPATHIZERS will work must contain some sort of life centered or Biophilic design. Bio means life and Philic means love. Humans and animals love life and flourish when living plants surround them. Plants can also benefit from having humans around creating a truly synergistic relationship. Those who practice Empath*ology owe it to themselves and their clients to ensure that the environment is one that helps meet human needs.