Tahoe-Truckee locals leading Nonviolent Communication endeavor

Tim Hauserman
Special to the Sun
Liesbet Bickett is a certified coach who leads Compassionate Communication meetings at Truckee and Lake Tahoe.
Courtesy photo |

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For information on times and to sign up for any of the classes, go to Liesbet’s website,, which has a link to her Compassionate Communication website and Facebook page.

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — We live in a society where people are angry. They take out their anger on their spouse, their kids, their co-workers and especially on someone who has the gall to disagree with their opinion on whatever the topic of the moment is on social media.

There are, however, people looking to break the cultural addiction to anger by promoting a less-volatile means of communicating with each other — known as Nonviolent Communication.

Tahoe local Liesbet Bickett is one of those people, and she’s working to help Truckee and Tahoe take a step away from the anger by teaching people how to communicate in a way that is empathetic.

“I want to be a facilitator for change in the community toward compassion. I want to live in a compassionate place,” said Bickett.

Nonviolent Communication teaches people to observe instead of evaluate, to be able to feel without judgment or criticism or blame, and to try to use an understanding of what are the needs of ourselves and those we are talking to in order to more compassionately communicate.

According to the website, “The Center for Nonviolent Communication is a global organization that supports the learning and sharing of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), and helps people peacefully and effectively resolve conflicts in personal, organizational, and political settings.”

It was founded by Marshall Rosenberg, who said, “All that has been integrated into NVC has been known for centuries about consciousness, language, communication skills, and use of power that enable us to maintain a perspective of empathy for ourselves and others, even under trying conditions.”


With that concept in mind, Bickett and Lauren O’Brien, of Truckee, are facilitating group meetings every Wednesday evening from 4-5:30 p.m. at For Goodness Sake in Downtown Truckee.

In the meetings, participants learn how to give and receive empathy and create an atmosphere of compassion to support the Tahoe community.

“It is time to remember that we are all looking for human connection and love,” said Bickett.

O’Brien came to Nonviolent Communication through her 13-year career working with organizations as a facilitator.

She found that learning how to use NVC has helped her teach communication skills to her clients, but it has been even more helpful in her relationship with her son.

“It transformed our relationship,” said O’Brien.

Hoping that the impact on her son could be translated to the rest of the community, O’Brien joined Bickett to facilitate the group.

“Language shapes our reality and what we are able to do. But our language is disconnecting,” said O’Brian, who believes that we don’t see all the possibilities because we are culturally taught to talk the way we do.


Since the way we communicate is part of our culture, it can take hard work and continual practice to communicate in a more compassionate way.

The weekly meetings led by Bickett and O’Brien give participants the chance to practice in a supportive environment, and to learn the techniques needed to deal with stressful situations. The meetings are free, although a donation of $5-10 is suggested.

Communication group participant Vanessa Aadland says, “What I really enjoy about the meetings is that I feel like we are getting to the root of why we manifest certain relationships in our life.”

She feels she is learning how to “prevent future conflict instead of continuing to fight about the same thing, by finding out what needs you have that are not being met,” she said.

In addition to the weekly meetings, Bickett is leading more focused Compassionate Communication workshops dedicated to teaching the techniques of Nonviolent Communication.

Upcoming workshops include a June 5 Empathy Circle at Tahoe Flow Arts Studio in Tahoe Vista, and a June 19 Compassionate Communication workshop, also at Flow Arts Studio.

In mid-July, Bickett is set to lead a mother-daughter compassionate communication workshop, as well as a sacred feminine workshop with Kali Carmel Cathie.

For information on times and to sign up for any of the classes, go to Liesbet’s website,, which has a link to her Compassionate Communication website and Facebook page.

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