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P.J. Nelson

Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education
Professor at Appalachian State University
United States
Speaks English
Certified Trainer since 2023

I live in the mountains of North Carolina, USA, with my partner and daughter. The exploration and practice of Nonviolent Communication infuses how we live our lives as a family together. NVC has offered me resources to live my values both with my family and in my interactions with others in ways that I couldn’t before. NVC has also infuses my work as an educator: Throughout my career, I have been facilitating and leading people through challenging experiences, ones that require risk-taking, self-reflection, and trust in others. In my early career, that work was in adventure education. I now teach at a public university in the U.S.

My work focuses on courses about equity, philosophy of education, and nonviolence; themes of healthy risk-taking continue to infuse what we explore. NVC is a key part of that exploration as it infuses all of the courses I teach. NVC has helped me align the process-focused tea- building work that infused my earliest work with helping people have empathic conversations about difficult topics in my current, equity-focused courses. I have also created two NVC-specific courses, one for first-year students that focuses on the intersection of NVC and mindfulness practices, and the other for educational leaders.

I have facilitated workshops as well as yearlong faculty development programs in NVC to help teachers develop the skills to bring connection into conflict and to support people finding empathy amidst difficult conversations in their work. Beyond continuing to bring NVC into my teaching and work at my university, my intention is to connect with others in the wider NVC community and to create resources to support the integration of NVC into our everyday lives.

I am constantly inspired by how NVC enriches my life and how I’ve witnessed it supporting others to be with each other in powerfully connected ways. I passionately believe that we can bridge deep differences and overcome perceived obstacles if we take the risk to reach toward each other with understanding. We can make life more wonderful, one connection at a time. I try to live this every day.

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