Carl Rogers was one of the prominent psychologist who practiced as a humanist psychologist. One of the core beliefs and practices is client-centered therapy. This approach is that the patient or client has all the tools to solve the problems. The job of the therapist is to give respect and suggestions. Part of that respect is referred to as unconditional positive regard.
The premise is that the person in therapy may never have had any experienced being treated with unconditional regard. Conditional regard is based on a person doing something, completing a task, or performing in a certain manner. If the person behaves in a certain manner they are treated differently.
Most relationships set conditions. Even the most savvy parents who practice unconditional love may tell their children, I will always love you, but there are many times I don’t like your behavior. This type of therapy is along the same lines.
The thought behind unconditional positive regard is that a patient is able to heal and become happier when they do not have to fight an uphill battle about who they are. The judgements that meet them everyday in the real world are not present in the world of counselling. It could be that many patients have never felt the power of unconditional positive regard.
At first glance, it is easy to see faults with this system. How can a counselor condone behaviors that are dangerous to themselves or others? It is possible to accept a person and not approve of their behavior. It is possible to intervene with kindness and care instead of malice and punishment.
Imagine being able to walk into a safe place and share your very worst qualities, thoughts and actions and feel no judgement. Humanist therapists try and create just such places in their offices and meetings. For unless you understand who you are now and what you who want to become, how can you make the right changes?
There are many who try and practice unconditional positive regard in all areas of their life. It is a non judgemental approach to dealing with situations and people. It is about treating people with basic respect, not because of actions or they “deserve” it, but because they are humans so they “deserve” it. It stems from the belief that every person has a basic right toward love and respect. It is a realistic goal. For some, the answer is yes. Is it worthy goal? For all, the answer is yes.