University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Journal on Unconditional Positive Regard
In tonight’s session we have been learning further about Carl Rogers and his conditions of a successful person- centred therapy. We have been exploring Unconditional Positive Regard, a term used by Rogers to describe a basic acceptance and support of a person regardless what they say or do. Unconditional Positive Regard is an attitude of the counsellor towards his client. Rogers believes that this attitude is essential to a healthy development and cause a positive therapeutic movement in a therapy. I find this condition; the very definition of humanity. Our species have a rare capability to understand each other, however many of us hardly use it. It requires putting the others first, demands to put our feelings and emotions aside. We are protecting ourselves, afraid, that by giving that support to others, we would be “losing” ourselves. I do not agree with that, I think that “more you will give- the more you will get in return”, it is a privilege to be let inside another person’s world, his/ her feelings and thoughts. People, lacking that acceptance in their everyday life, creating a protective layer around them, losing faith in themselves, feeling that they do not deserve to be loved by others.
By using Unconditional Positive Regard, the therapist provides an ideal environment for his client’s personal change. Therapist giving his support also gives acceptance and love- that is exactly what makes person- centred therapy so meaningful and unique. Therapist’s willingness for the client to be whatever he is feeling at that moment (no matter if it is positive or negative; fear, pain, pride, love, hatred) makes his client to loose all defences and become honest with himself. I have to learn how to look underneath those layers and accept the real person behind them. However, as people tend to mask their true – self because of the fear, that they going to be rejected- the counsellor’s job is not easy. It is very often a long process. To gain his client’s trust the therapist should care for his client in a non- conditional way. He has to be consistent in valuing his client and also be able to translate it into a client- counsellor relationship. In many cases, clients show signs of disbelief and sometimes even aggression towards their therapist. The reason for that is conditional love most of us have experienced in a lifetime. This is called; conditions of worth, since we were little children we have been told or shown that to deserve acceptance and love we have to behave in a certain way ( e.g. Be good, patient, obedient, confident, etc.)
We are convinced that we have to be worthy of love. For most of us adults other people’s perception is very important and in many cases can even define a person. Being so used to seeing myself through other people’s eyes, being judged for what I do or have done, Unconditional Positive Regard appears to me as almost impossible to believe. I do think that it is possibly also client’s attitude. That disbelief; that the therapist can put aside whatever I have done and see me as a worthy person for who I am, even If I do not believe in me; probably take a while to disappear and change into trust. Rogers said that every one of us has within himself desire to change in a positive direction. I assume that he meant and believed that goodness is our natural aspiration.
I fully agree with him no matter how unrealistic and ideal it might seem. If we, learning how to be a counsellor, will understand how to be able to accept another person, regardless of their past, negative attitude or defensiveness we will then understand the true meaning of Rogers’s philosophy and why it is so important in the therapeutic process. Unconditional Positive Regard in my opinion is a loving attitude towards another person and also more than that. The therapist believes in his client’s potential, see in him someone, who has an optimistic future, a little bit more confidence. Person- centred counsellor can see strengths in his client and it is his attitude that counts. Unconditional Positive Regard is a condition in client- centred therapy to create a meaningful relationship where the client can find a way, power within, to believe that he is worth of love and only then everything else has a chance to fall into place.