“Feelings and needs: the fast track to empathy”

FASTempathy is a multi-user, multi-language NVC (Nonviolent Communication) web app. It helps people communicate feelings and needs across the miles and across language barriers.  If you want to try FASTempathy, please contact mhurwicz@gmail.com.

For a public forum, use our Facebook page.

Who We Are

I’m Michael Hurwicz.  A while back, my partner Sharon Abreu and I got certified to teach and coach a technique called The Connection Practice. (For more on our teaching/coaching, click here.) The first part of The Connection Practice involves identifying feelings and needs. This is a first step toward resolving conflicts and confusion. Ultimately it focuses your mind, opens your heart and releases your energy. (This process comes from Nonviolent Communication, commonly known as NVC. Some people prefer the term Compassionate Communication. Either way, thank you, Marshall Rosenberg, creator of NVC!)

What’s So Great About This This App?

Feelings and needs cardsInitially, the Connection Practice was only offered in person, face-to-face. In those situations, we use feelings and needs cards, which are basically playing cards that, instead of kings and queens and such, contain something much more useful: feelings and needs! Each card has one feeling or need printed on it. We spread out the cards, and instead of having to come up with feelings and needs out of thin air, you just “pick a card, any card.” It’s a lot more useful than you might think (if you’ve never tried it) because when people first get into this, they may have a hard time expressing exactly what they’re feeling, or even separating observations, feelings, needs, judgments and requests. We can always coach them back onto the right track, of course, but why not stay on track in the first place, if we can? That’s what the cards help us to do.

The cards are great in person, but when we started doing coaching online, or over the phone, they didn’t work very well. Even with videoconferencing, trying to aim the camera at the cards proved quite difficult and distracting. So, we created the first online app that allows you and your client (or friend, or group of friends) to see the feelings and needs at the same time. Either of you can pick a feeling or need, and you both see it at once. And, of course, you can be video chatting (e.g. Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Collaborate) or on the phone at the same time. It can feel almost like being in the same room. The app is also designed to work on everything from smart phones to desktop computers – anything that can run a browser like Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari.


Want to see FASTempathy in action? Here’s a three-and-a-half-minute video that takes you through the basics. (Note: “Core Need” is now “Main Need”.)

Multi-Language Support with Real-Time Translation

FASTempathy can display feelings and needs in a number of languages. Each user can see the feelings and needs displayed in their chosen language. (One user could even be seeing the feelings and needs in multiple browser windows, each window displaying a different language. We do this all the time when we’re testing.)

For instance, for the Spanish version of FASTempathy, add ?l=es to the URL you are given to access FASTempathy:


Or for Arabic: http://demo.FASTempathy.com?l=ar

Below is a table showing currently supported languages and the two-letter abbreviation for each.

Language Code
Arabic ar
Chinese cn
English default, no code required
Farsi fa
French fr
German de
Hebrew he
Italian it
Japanese ja
Polish pl
Spanish es