Unconditional positive regard
Unconditional positive regard, a term popularly believed to have been coined by the humanist Carl Rogers (see notes below), is basic acceptance and support of a person regardless of what the person says or does. Rogers believes that unconditional positive regard is essential to healthy development. People who have not been exposed to it may come to see themselves in the negative ways that others have made them feel. Through providing unconditional positive regard, humanist therapists seek to help their clients accept and take responsibility for themselves. Humanist psychologists believe that by showing the client unconditional positive regard and acceptance, the therapist is providing the best possible conditions for personal growth to the client.
David G. Myers says the following in his Psychology: Eighth Edition in Modules:
People also nurture our growth by being accepting—by offering us what Rogers called unconditional positive regard. This is an attitude of grace, an attitude that values us even knowing our failings. It is a profound relief to drop our pretenses, confess our worst feelings, and discover that we are still accepted. In a good marriage, a close family, or an intimate friendship, we are free to be spontaneous without fearing the loss of others' esteem.
Unconditional positive regard can be facilitated by keeping in mind Carl Rogers’ belief that all people have the internal resources required for personal growth. Rogers' theory encouraged other psychiatrists to suspend judgement, and to listen to a person with an attitude that the client has within himself the ability to change, without actually changing who he is.
The concept of unconditional positive regard also has a simpler meaning outside of the therapist's goal to elicit change. It is the simple act of one individual accepting all traits and behaviors in another individual, as long as is it does not entail causing significant harm to oneself. The key word here is "significant". If one states that "This person's behavior annoys me, and thus is causing me 'significant' harm", then unconditional positive regard is made subject to so many objections that it cannot exist. Thus, finding a person's behavior/beliefs reprehensible when they pose no threat of harm to oneself or others, is incompatible with unconditional positive regard. To treat a flawed individual's otherwise harmless behavior or beliefs as cause to reject the individual's worth, morality and right to merit interaction with oneself, is a violation of the unconditional precept.
See also 
- Rogers, Carl. On Becoming a Person, pages 283-84. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1961.
- Standal, Stanley. The need for positive regard: A contribution to client-centered theory. Unpublished PhD. thesis, University of Chicago. 1954.
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