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Here's the Outline for the Practice Group September 8th, co-led by Jim and Clemie

Independence, Dependence, Autonomy and Interdependence

In NVC, we can explore topics in our lives in terms of how they contribute to, or demonstrate a consciousness of either collaboration or domination – Giraffe or Jackal consciousness. This fundamental framework sheds new perspectives and possibilities that may be familiar or very unfamiliar. It can be challenging to sort out our own choices when stepping outside of the thinking, behaviour, patterns of behaviour or emotional reactions that we have grown up with. Empathy can help us sort through and make conscious choices that are truly life-serving and deliberate (rather than reactive or habitual).

When we consider relationships from Jackal consciousness, they may be interpreted in terms of good/bad, win/lose, right/wrong, safe/unsafe dichotomies. We may judge ourselves or the other, or the relationship or “Life” in moralistic terms. We may want to cling, avoid, attack or numb out our feelings and behaviours concerning others, and may not ever have consciously chosen to do it – we can run on habitual thinking (what we’ve been trained to do).

Independence: Share your Jackal thoughts about why it is important to keep distance from others, to maintain your separateness and self-sufficiency. In this case, we are deliberately focusing on the Jackal version of independence based on fear, judgment of self or others, win/lose, etc. The listener can support by reflecting back the feelings and needs under the judgments with the intention of understanding and connecting with the speaker.


Dependence: Share your Jackal thoughts about why you “can’t survive” without others, why you need to “belong”, “fit in” be accepted and judged as acceptable by others. Again, focus deliberately on the Jackal’s perspective of win/lose, should/shouldn’t, etc. The listener reflects back content and gives empathy for the Jackal reactions, not trying to change it, but to fully understand and accept that perspective as one possible perspective.


Autonomy and Interdependence: From the Giraffe perspective, it is possible to hold both autonomy and interdependence as needs that both contribute to life – not in competition, but mutually supportive.

Discuss the life-giving energy you get from autonomy (a sense of self not based in avoiding others, but appreciation and respect for self). Listeners support by reflecting content and making empathy guesses to support connection and understanding.


Second, talk about the ways in which connection, contribution, interdependence, support and other values are life-enhancing for you (without clinging or demanding from others, but based in appreciation for our social nature). Listeners, again reflect content and offer empathy guesses to catch and amplify the energy of what is shared.


Finally, discuss the ways autonomy and interdependence can work together in contributing to your life. If it is helpful, use the “Cradle of Compassion” image to hold those different values in each hand. Listeners support with reflection and empathy guesses that acknowledge both the celebration and challenges (mourning) involved in holding both values as unfamiliar (or uncommon) life experiences.

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