Skip to main content
James Prieto portrait

James Prieto

Guiding Toward Connection
United States
Speaks English, Spanish
Certified Trainer since 2014
"I’m motivated to share what’s really meaningful in what I find in my heart, to motivate me to show up and not only teach Nonviolent Communication, but other ways of relating to the more-than-human world."

James Prieto is a nature-based personal development guide, author, and certified Nonviolent Communication (NVC) trainer, helping people connect more fully to each other and the more-than-human world. He is passionate about the intersection of nature-based depth psychology and NVC as a way to contribute to a thriving, compassionate culture.

Finding Nonviolent Communication

In 2002, James moved from Los Angeles to Orange County, California. By then mid-career in the field of electrical and computer engineering and satellite communications, he had long felt the need for compassionate leadership and a collaborative organizational culture in the workplace, but saw no clear path to those things.

During a gathering at Laguna Beach, he met a man who had just returned from a nine-day training with NVC founder, Marshall Rosenberg. “He was all excited and bouncing off the walls,” James recalls with a smile. “He said, ‘I’m starting this group where we’re going to practice how to communicate clearly, how to connect with each other, how to express ourselves with feelings and learn about empathy, and how to fully be authentic with each other.’”

These words landed on James’s ears at just the right time. He had just begun a new job, was adjusting to the end of a major life relationship, and knew he struggled with communication. He thought, Wow, I really need that. “I signed up right away.”

Thus marked the beginning of a journey that would eventually take him to New Mexico to train with Marshall Rosenberg.

Nature-Based Spirituality

James admits that at first, he approached his NVC journey more with an intellectual bent. “I came in with my engineering brain, and I was learning all these concepts and a new language, and it was all up here,” he says, pointing to his head. Then he realized NVC touched on another emerging passion for him — this one, of the soul.

James began his soul journey with Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul in 1994, and more recently with Bill Plotkin’s Nature and the Human Soul in 2012. James felt these concepts converging with his NVC journey when, in 2018, he attended a "SoulArise" retreat hosted by Franciscan author, Father Richard Rohr, based on Plotkin’s book, Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche. James found Plotkin’s four-directional map illuminating, highlighting strengths and areas for further development:

  • North: Heart-centered thinking
  • East: Present-centered sensing
  • South: Embodied feeling
  • West: Deep imagination

He realized that Plotkin’s map highlighted his strength in “North: Heart-centered thinking” and identified what he needed to cultivate in the other three directions.

“After a couple of years of NVC practice, I got very good at heart-centered thinking; it was all in my head,” he explains. “I extended my practice to include present-centered sensing.” Observations, he says, are a part of that. “But also the other senses: taste, hearing, smell, touch.” Accompanying observation and sensory awareness, he says, is the importance of being in his body, allowing embodied feelings to arise — they have so much information! Building on that, he says, is the cultivation of deep imagination. All these facets flowing together, he says, “really enhances my ability to connect to life — myself, others, the more-than-human world — by including all facets of the wholeness, beyond the intellectual heart-centered thinking of classical NVC.”

More-Than-Human World

James has since moved on from the tech industry and dedicates his full energies to sharing NVC and the principles of nature-based depth psychology, helping people connect with one another and the whole of nature, in what he calls “more-than-human world.” He is an apprenticing guide who’s completed Level 1 of the Wild Mind Training Program (WMTP) through the Animas Valley Institute, a non-profit organization founded by Bill Plotkin.

Share this page:


  • Counseling & Coaching
  • Mind-Body-Spirit

Contact James Prieto