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Marion Little

Master's in Dispute Resolution, Community Mediation Trainer, Restorative Justice Trainer
Fostering sanctuary and well-being in relationships, in community, & across institutions
Speaks English
Certified Trainer since 2017
"NVC practice helps me remain intact and connected to Life: in the depths of broken-hearted grief and fracture, in the flat expanses of precious but often overlooked mundane moments, at the heights of whole-hearted joy and communion, and in the practical struggles along the way."

How do we foster sanctuary? This question at the heart of things keeps calling me to respond.

For over half my life, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) has served as a map towards sanctuary spaces and interactions. It invites me to practice noticing and honouring needs in me, between us, across community, and humming through creation.

Increasing familiarity with both this map, and the actual landscape I'm travelling, leads me more and more often to:

  • Mutual respect,
  • Assertive honesty,
  • Unflinching accountability, and
  • Unconditional compassion.

NVC practice helps me remain intact and connected to Life:
in the depths of broken-hearted grief and fracture, in the expanses of Precious but often overlooked mundane moments, at the heights of whole-Hearted Joy And Communion, And in the practical struggles along the way.

From 2000 – 2009, while completing degrees in Linguistics and Dispute Resolution, I was fortunate to study NVC with psychologist and peacemaker, Marshall Rosenberg; assisting with his trainings in Victoria BC. I’m still deeply moved by his elegant integration of humanistic psychology, Ghandian and Kingian nonviolence principles, core conflict resolution practices, and Paulo Freire’s social literacy.

My academic and independent research assesses NVC training for youth labelled “at-risk” due to marginalization and structural inequity. NVC didn’t solve all their challenges but, in the face of high distress, it empowered them in ways they value: . Interdisciplinary studies increasingly affirm that NVC supports what’s now called: Emotional Intelligence (EI), Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), Self-Compassion, Positive Psychology practices, and effective conflict resolution. The youth who contributed to my early learning, including my own dear kid (now an adult), are my all-time greatest NVC teachers.

Several thousand people have attended trainings I’ve tailored for health/ justice/ civil/ social service workers, clergy and faith groups, caregivers, parents, business leaders, professional bodies, Indigenous language revitalizers, community organizations, and schools. We're all learning to be more fully human together.

In the past decade, my training participants have included 3000+ Millennial and Gen Z teens coping with unprecedented social change — they vote with their feet and I’m honoured they show up.

In seeking to foster sanctuary, I’ve become a student of linguistics, communication skills, dispute resolution, Restorative/ Transformative Justice, trauma-informed/ resilience-informed/ anti-oppressive practices, Indigenization efforts, riddles, lists, epic myth, getting comfortable with discomfort, deep listening, breathing on purpose, making peace with myself, and generally holding things passionately but lightly.

These days I’m fortunate to do this work, garden, write, and make art beside a little river on Michi Saagiig Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) territory near Nogojiwanong/ Peterborough ON in Canada.


I offer

  • 1:1 conflict coaching,
  • small group facilitation,
  • team trainings (incl. ongoing practice sessions),
  • conference presentations and key-note lectures

Each is tailored to the Learning needs of participants in terms of personal, interpersonal, professional, and systemic applications of NVC.

I support participants to develop their own practical needs-based strategies to increase mutual respect, collaboration, self-empathy, compassion, assertive honesty, and accountability.

“I've found NVC skills profoundly useful as an executive director, human resources specialist, mediator, negotiator, university instructor, violence prevention educator, community member, and in navigating my own struggles with social awkwardness.”

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  • Business
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Education
  • Social Change
The objective of Nonviolent Communication is not to change people and their behavior in order to get our way: it’s to establish relationships based on honesty and empathy, which will eventually fulfill everyone's needs. ~Marshall Rosenberg
“When there's pain and frustration over stalled conflicts, it's often because we're caught in a zero sum game: "winners and losers." It's a game than can drive excellence and excitement in competitive sports, the scientific method, elections, and spelling bees. But, only with understood rules, chances to develop skill, and willing "combatants." Competitive play can also be lots of fun in relationships and communities when there's clear intent, parameters, consent, and a bit of skill. But, when it's NOT play, it leads to oppositional (us vs them) interactions, disrupted listening, disconnection, and demonizing each other with moralistic judgement, labels, shame, and blame. The last 40 years of violence prevention research identifies those behaviours as precursors for bullying, stigma, and ostracism. Uninterrupted, these are reliable predictors of eventual violence. It's frustrating, exhausting, and dangerous for everyone, and we wish for something to change. NVC invites us to play a new game: one that's more challenging, more connected, and more satisfying. The NVC players' handbook requires two core skill sets: assertive individual autonomy (Honesty) and honouring our collective interdependence (Empathy). These increase the chances of a "win-win" game, a sanctuary game, where all players get mutual respect and mutual satisfaction. Perhaps ironically, we're beginning to learn that's what makes all kinds of play way more likely and way more fun, including competitions.”

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