The feelings and needs listed in the Workshop Deck aren’t exhaustive, and the cards themselves don’t include every feeling or need on these standards lists. I have selected the feelings and needs that tend to be ”alive” for the most number of people I know and share empathy with. And you’ll also notice there are a lot more words for feelings that indicate unsatisfied needs because, well, most of the time when we need empathy it’s because that’s how we’re feeling!
There are a few blank Feelings Cards and blank Needs Cards so you can customize your deck as you like. The Deck Guide includes all feelings and needs on the lists from the Center for Nonviolent Communication and Open Communication along with instructions for giving and receiving empathy with another person. (There are many ways to do this but the basic principles outlined by NYC NVC are useful background if you’re new to this kind of practice.)
You can also make your own deck customizing the words on all of the cards using this Google Doc that combines three different Feelings & Needs lists.
A Few Tips & Tricks for Making Your Deck
A Word from NVC’s Founding Figure
I love Feelings & Needs cards!
I love using them!
I love making them!
I love sharing them!
I started this little cottage industry of making Feelings & Needs cards after joining my first nonviolent communication class with Amanda Blaine. Because many of the exercises we do in class involve using variations on Empathy Poker, having a good deck is a must.
Unfortunately, when I went to print out the cards using a link our teacher had sent us, for some reason the cards printed without the dingbat on them. That’s when I decided to make my own cards. A classmate had a birthday coming up, so I decided to make a deck for her. Then I decided to make decks for the other women in my class.
In Fall 2016, Amanda came to Elkhart and did teaching in a number of venues and we made decks of cards for an Empathy Poker Night and that’s when what I call the ”Workshop Deck” was born.
Using images I found online, I designed the deck to reflect the NVC principle that our feelings can help direct us to our met and unmet needs. The Feelings Cards have a simple outline of interconnected hearts symbolizing the way our feelings give us important messages, but the picture is incomplete. The Needs Cards are illustrated with, again interconnected hearts, but this time the outline is filled in with a full spectrum of color: our needs are beautiful, however complex the they and our feelings might be!
I’ve made custom decks for friends and family, with different typefaces and artwork. If you’d like to make your own, you can do some fancy word processing or use programs like Pagemaker, InDesign, or Quark. Here is a collection of feelings and needs words in Google Doc form.
Here are some more NVC goodies:
photo | Giraffe by Kasia Wallis| Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0