chapter  19
Unconditional positive regard is the linchpin on which person-centred therapy turns but it presents a real challenge to the therapist. However, without this quality of acceptance there is a strong possibility that therapy will be unsuccessful
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The unconditional positive regard (UPR) of the therapist for the client is a necessary condition for constructive change. Moreover, some writers (for example Bozarth 1998: 88, Wilkins 2000: 33±34) indicate that it is the active facilitator of constructive change and Freire (2001: 152) describes it as `the revolutionary feature of the person-centered approach'. However, UPR presents real personal, ethical and professional challenges to the therapist. This is partly because, however accepting of others we believe ourselves to be, it is likely that at least to some extent we carry prejudice and fear. A glance through a history book or the news headlines would seem to indicate that the world is full of hostile, reprehensible, male®c individuals. How can they possibly be acceptable to anybody? Masson (1992: 234) in his critique of person-centred therapy asks: `Faced with a brutal rapist who murders children, why should any therapist have unconditional regard for him?' Of course there is no reason at all why any therapist should but without being able to offer UPR the therapeutic endeavour will be pointless. The hypothesis of the necessary and suf®cient conditions asserts that if a person, regardless how `bad', consistently experiences the six conditions and perceives the empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard of another then change will occur. However, it may very well be that this is a big `if '. In such cases, it is important to realise that this does not prove that the hypothesis is correct or that some people are beyond redemption but rather that the limitation is in the therapist. Luckily, although human beings share a tendency to be unaccepting of some things, these are not necessarily the

of another. and by working to increase our understanding of how the conditions of worth of others arise we can increase our ability to offer UPR to others (see Wilkins 2003: 73±74). Herein lays some of the personal, ethical and professional challenges referred to above. For example, these challenges lead to an ethical requirement to reach some assessment as to the likelihood of the therapist being able to offer enough UPR to facilitate change and a professional responsibility to `refer on' or decline the contract if not and a personal and professional responsibility for the therapist to continually address anything that limits the ability to practise.