Unconditional positive regard

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Unconditional positive regard, a term popularly believed to have been coined by the humanistic psychologist 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, humanistic therapists seek to help their clients accept and take responsibility for themselves. Humanistic 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.

In psychotherapy, an unconditional positive regard means that the helper should have and show overall acceptance of a human being. Even if therapist does or does not agree with a client's actions, they should accept the natural value of the person. The main factor in an unconditional positive regard is the ability to be able to isolate behaviors from the person who commits them.[1]

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 Rogers’ belief that all people have the internal resources required for personal growth. Rogers' theory encouraged other psychologists 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.

Rogers, in his book On Becoming A Person,[2] credits Stanley Standal with coining the term unconditional positive regard.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lisa Fritscher: Unconditional Positive Regard
  2. ^ Rogers, Carl. On Becoming a Person, pages 283-84. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1961.
  3. ^ Standal, Stanley. The need for positive regard: A contribution to client-centered theory. Unpublished PhD. thesis, University of Chicago. 1954.