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Matthew Rich-Tolsma

Diploma in Early Childhood Development Practice, M.Phil. (Management), Certificate in Traumatic Stress Studies, Diploma in Groupwork Practice, Fellow of the Institute of Coaching, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Member of the Institute of Directors (SA), Member of the African Academy of Management
Thoughtfully and playfully supporting groups in taking their experience of difference, volatility, and uncertainty seriously.
Speaks English, Dutch
Certified Trainer since 2013
"For me, Nonviolent Communication is a practice of radical presence, that helps me to - at least some of the time - stay connected to the being, consciousness, and joy of each emerging moment."

Matthew Rich-Tolsma is a South African and Dutch organisational consultant, coach, and mediator. He is a highly experienced Certified Trainer with the Centre for Nonviolent Communication (certified in 2012). He has served as an International Intensive Training (IIT) trainer for the centre and is a member of the English Speaking European Assessment Team (ESEAT). He is also involved in mentoring certification candidates and leading conversations about decolonising Nonviolent Communication in sub-Saharan Africa.

He has an interest in working with themes around complex conflicts, race and ethnicity, and gender-based violence, particularly in the EMEA region. His work is trauma informed and focuses on taking a critical, elicitive, and highly embodied approach. Matthew started his career in critical education and development in South Africa, China, and India; he originally worked in democratic education and later trained as a Montessori teacher. During this time he completed both the Parent Peer Leadership Programme (2007) and NVC Leadership Programme at BayNVC.

When he first relocated to the Netherlands he worked in academia and researched transformative leadership and learning in relation to complex global challenges. Over the last decade and a half he has worked with global leadership teams across a wide range of different industries and geographies, and has also taught and written widely on themes of organisational complexity, transformative learning, conflict, intersectionality and identity, and human development. Matthew served as a founding member and erstwhile Executive Director of RISE Beyond, Ltd.

More recently, he co-founded PlayScapes where he uses a combination of critical and improvisational theatre, NVC, and group analysis in a range of organisational and community contexts. He holds a Master of Philosophy in Management & Organisational Sciences from Hertfordshire Business School. He presently works as a lecturer at the Tilburg School of Economics and Management (TiSEM), leads staff reflective practice at the Guildhall School in London, and consults or works in an adjunct capacity at a number of other HE institutions.

He is a member of the board of trustees as the Institute of Group Analysis (IGA) in the United Kingdom, where he chairs the Decolonising Curriculum Steering Group, is a facilitator for the Whiteness Reading and Reflection group project for group analysts, and teaches on the Diploma in Reflective Practice in Organisations. He is presently concurrently training as a Group Analyst and a Infant-Parent Psychoanalyst in the UK. His work incorporates elements of the Theatre of the Oppressed and Joanna Macy’s Work the Reconnects (formally ‘despair work’); he has more than fifteen years experience with both of these approaches.

“My work with NVC takes complexity and uncertainty seriously. We cannot do life alone; groups are ubiquitous. Survival entails an encounter with others who are different to us. We can make generative use of this difference, and - at the same time - we always are contending with shame, structural inequality, and destructive tendencies. My work has three main focuses (1) Thinking about the roots of violence in early childhood, linked to attachment, adverse childhood experiences, and trauma, and their perpetuation through education systems; (2) the complex challenges that arise when groups of people attempt to do things together: particularly dynamics around power, position, privilege, and inclusion/exclusion, competition/collaboration; and (3) wickedly complex challenges such as climate change, gender-based violence, (de)colonisation, and ethnic strife, particularly in regions where this has contributed to violent (armed) conflict.”

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  • Business
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Counseling & Coaching
  • Education
  • Parenting & Family
  • Social Change
"Our discussions were really helpful ... I was struggling. You are a safe and easy person to talk with, which made you a great facilitator for this training. I admire how you were able to manage and support people from such different cultures to open up.” ~ Peace worker, Iraq
“While the majority of my work takes place in organisational and institutional contexts, I do see a small number of individual clients as well and work with small groups/teams. I am also interested in mentoring certification candidates, or those interested in training or bringing NVC into their work/community contexts, particularly colleagues from Africa and the Middle East. Please feel free to reach out to explore with me.”

Contact Matthew Rich-Tolsma