In mental health, NVR signifies the therapeutic application of political non-violent resistance principles to crises of human caregiving, as originally articulated by Haim Omer.
The ability to care for others is an essential part of most people’s mental well being. When the people we care for reject our care, this can deeply hurt our self-esteem, agency and sense of purpose. The more helpless we become as caregivers, the more desperate and vulnerable those whom we care for become.
NVR addresses the needs of people who encounter distress and helplessness in the relation of caregiving. Its clients are mainly caregivers of so-called “identified patients” (IP’s), and not the IP’s themselves. NVR aims to empower caregivers as persons in their own right; and through that, help alleviate the distress that helpless caregiving can induce in others. NVR’s journey from helplessness to empowerment is guided by a vision of care as a coming-together to stand against harm in a non-harming way.
NVR as a therapeutic approach was developed by clinical psychologist Haim Omer and a group of his students at the Tel Aviv University’s Department of Psychology in the mid-90’s. It started out as a counselling project to parents suffering from loss of parental authority, facing disruptive behaviors in children. This work brought NVR’s very first implementation – a new philosophy of parenting called “New Authority”.
Since its inception, NVR has grown to cover an entire range of specialized intervention approaches in areas such as organic family or foster/residential care relations, anxiety disorders, school interventions, ADHD, community-driven law enforcement, computer addiction in children, working with people on the Autistic spectrum, entitled dependence in adults, diabetic children, and more.
NVR is widely practiced and taught in Europe and in Israel. Professional associations and networks devoted to NVR exist in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Since 2010, the global NVR community has held six international conferences devoted to innovation in NVR theory and practice. Since 2021, NVR is making its first steps in Canada and in the United States.
NVR uses many tools to achieve non-harming resistance to harm, but in itself is not a tool, or even a toolbox, but a philosophy and a value system of care.
A summary of NVR by Dr. Peter Jakob