TWAP002: To Men and Women Who Want Better Communication

nonviolent communication

At the root of every tantrum and power struggle are unmet needs.

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg

I’m 47 years old, and I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve thrown some good sized temper tantrums in my adult life: veins bulging, red in the face, in front of my wife, and in front of my kids.

It’s taken me years, and I’m still learning how to effectively learn why I’m angry, and to restrain myself long enough to figure out what I need to do about my anger.


This Week’s Guest: Bob Yamtich

Bob YamtichIn this week’s episode, I interview Bob Yamtich, from

Bob and I met via Twitter, and I was immediately impressed by his calm and patient style of talking to me and about the work he does.

Nonviolent Communication

Bob learned about a powerful, yet simple method of effective communication while doing volunteer and therapy work in schools and prisons.

The method is called nonviolent communication.

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, psychologist, created this four step communication method.

Bob has found that both he and people on the autism spectrum like the simple and yet profound steps:

The model teaches individuals, partners, and families how to both express themselves effectively while also being able to understand and validate the other person they are communicating with.

In order to better understand nonviolent communication, check out this Wiki How: How to Practice NonViolent Communication.

A caveat: all parties involved in communication need to buy in/agree to use these principles.

Check out Grok Feelings and Needs Cards (affiliate link for Bob Yamtich), which creatively teaches us how to identify both our feelings and our needs.

Bob Yamtich’s Background

Bob started out earning his degree in civil engineering. He completed his coursework toward a PhD in that industry, but enjoyed his volunteer work using the principles of nonviolent communication so much, that he switched to studying counseling psychology. He’s a licensed marriage and family therapist now, providing coaching and consulting to individuals and families.

Also from Bob Yamtich, you’ll learn about:

  • His favorite quote, from Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, founder of nonviolent communication.
  • The concept of “flow”
  • The importance of practicing humility in all our relationships
  • Principles for friendship and marriage.

One of my favorite Bob Yamtich quotes, regarding processing feelings and experience:

Since I’m a literal and highly analytical thinker, so I start with inventorying my own needs. Instead of jumping to what am I feeling, I take another step, I break things down into bite sized steps. Sometimes it’t too far of a leap to know what feelings I’m having. Some friends introduced me to an education term called scaffolding: What are the small steps you could take to build toward success. So for my feelings awareness, I would think, first, “Whoa, I’m having feelings.” Like a flower blooming, I take in the experience one step at a time, (connecting feelings to needs).

Sometimes deep minds process slowly. via @bobyamtich

Click To Tweet

Principles for Friendship

  • Be yourself. Bob emphasizes the importance of being yourself, while also discovering how to relate to others. When he first discovered his Aspergers diagnosis, he spread out his sources of help, so that he was not relying on one particular friend to help him learn how to better relate. For example, he went to individual therapy and participated in self help Aspergers groups in the San Fransisco area.
  • Take time before disclosing your condition. Bob talked about making sure you can deeply trust someone before disclosing your condition. Unfortunately, many people still discriminate against autistics.
  • Take care of business. Bob’s parents taught him the principles of decency and service toward others. For example, if attending a relative or friend’s funeral, be willing to help set up beforehand, and clean up afterward.
  • Be willing to listen to feedback. Be willing to listen to feedback, especially negative feedback. If your friend is someone you trust, (and is not bullying you), s/he will offer you insight about your behavior to help you become a better person. For example, my wife cares very much about me. She tells me I interrupt quite a bit when talking with others. (Right, me, a counselor!). So I’ve listened to her and I consciously work to listen and not interrupt. I’m sure other people I talk to appreciate that I’ve listened to her feedback!

Favorite Book For You

I asked Bob what one book he would recommend for you.

He didn’t hesitate.

Be Different, by John Elder Robison. John gets what Aspergers/autism is all about, is positive about it. He lays out practical tips as to how live fully to Aspergians, autistics, families, and teachers.

With his trademark honesty and unapologetic eccentricity, Robison addresses questions like:

• How to read others and follow their behaviors when in uncertain social situations
• Why manners matter
• How to harness your powers of concentration to master difficult skills
• How to deal with bullies
• When to make an effort to fit in, and when to embrace eccentricity
• How to identify special gifts and use them to your advantage


Also mentioned, with respect to marriage tips: David Finch’s Journal of Best Practices. (written by an Aspergian).

Helpful Links about Nonviolent Communication

The Four Part Communication Process

Basic Needs and Feelings We All Have

Check out Grok Feelings and Needs Cards (affiliate link for Bob Yamtich), which creatively teaches us how to identify both our feelings and our needs.

How To Get In Touch With Bob Yamtich

You can meet in person, on phone, and by Skype.

Email him at [email protected] or click here to schedule a free 15-minute consult with him.

“Using a combination of non-judgmental empathy and analytical insight, I decipher the internal mechanisms that keep people stuck and encourage new perspectives.” Bob Yamtich

Join the Conversation

What topics would you most like covered on the show? Who would you like me to interview? Share you answer in the comments below or Ask me a question via my Contact Page.

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photo credit: Non-violent communication via photopin (license)

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I'm Steve Borgman. I'm a licensed clinical professional counselor and blogger committed to bringing you hope, understanding, and solutions that you can apply to your life immediately.

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