Unconditional positive regard, a concept developed by the , is the basic acceptance and support of a person regardless of what the person says or does, especially in the context of client-centered therapy. Its founder, Carl Rogers, writes:
The central hypothesis of this approach can be briefly stated. It is that the individual has within him or her self vast resources for self-understanding, for altering her or his self-concept, attitudes, and self-directed behavior—and that these resources can be tapped if only a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided.
Rogers believed that unconditional positive regard is essential for healthy development and tried to establish it as a therapeutic component. Through providing unconditional positive regard, 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.
By definition, it is essential in any helping relationship to have an anticipation for change. In the counseling relationship, that anticipation presents as Hope—an optimism that something good and positive will develop to bring about constructive change in the client’s personality. Thus, unconditional positive regard means that the therapist has and shows overall acceptance of the client by setting aside their own personal opinions and biases. The main factor in unconditional positive regard is the ability to isolate behaviors from the person who displays them.
Rogers gives this description and personal experience:
For me it expresses the primary theme of my whole professional life, as that theme has been clarified through experience, interaction with others, and research. This theme has been utilized and found effective in many different areas, until the broad label ‘a person-centered approach’ seems the most descriptive. The central hypothesis of this approach can be briefly stated. It is that the individual has within him or her self vast resources for self-understanding, for altering her or his self-concept, attitudes, and self-directed behavior–and that these resources can be tapped if only a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided.
says the following in his textbook, 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 to suspend judgement, and to listen to a person with an attitude that the client has within himself/herself the ability to change, without actually changing who he/she is.
Carl Rogers, a humanistic psychologist, believed that individuals must feel accepted for who they are in order to have a high level of self-worth (Farber & Doolin, 2011). Rogers coined the term “positive regard” to explain this concept of feeling accepted. Also, he believed that positive regard is essential to personal growth and self-actualization.
For this Discussion, view the “Johnson” video (Episode 3).
Post your description of the purpose of this group. Explain the use of empowerment and strengths-based strategies. How does “positive regard” impact the group session in this video? How might you respond to Talia when she voices her skepticism of the usefulness of group sharing?
References (use 3 or more)
Toseland, R. W., & Rivas, R. F. (2017). An introduction to group work practice (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
· Chapter 9, “Treatment Groups: Foundation Methods” (pp. 264-294)
· Chapter 10, “Treatment Groups: Specialized Methods” (pp. 295-335)
Farber, B. A., & Doolin, E. M. (2011). Positive regard. Psychotherapy, 48(1), 58–64.
Laureate Education. (Producer). (2013b). Johnson (Episode 3) [Video file]. In Sessions. Baltimore, MD: Producer. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Piper, W. E., Ogrodniczuk, J. S., Lamarche, C., & Joyce, A. S. (2006). Use of the social relations model by group therapists: Application and commentary. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 56(2), 191–209.
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Discussion Questions (DQ)
- Initial responses to the DQ should address all components of the questions asked, include a minimum of one scholarly source, and be at least 250 words.
- Successful responses are substantive (i.e., add something new to the discussion, engage others in the discussion, well-developed idea) and include at least one scholarly source.
- One or two sentence responses, simple statements of agreement or “good post,” and responses that are off-topic will not count as substantive. Substantive responses should be at least 150 words.
- I encourage you to incorporate the readings from the week (as applicable) into your responses.
- Your initial responses to the mandatory DQ do not count toward participation and are graded separately.
- In addition to the DQ responses, you must post at least one reply to peers (or me) on three separate days, for a total of three replies.
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- I highly recommend using the APA Publication Manual, 6th edition.
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