Person-centred therapy has often been criticised for implicitly incorporating the notion of human beings as in some way inherently `good' and that, given the right conditions, they will develop constructively to achieve some ideal state. Central to this criticism is the fundamental principle of person-centred theory, the actualising tendency (Point 9), the acceptance of which is a de®ning characteristic of the person-centred therapies. It is assumed that the actualising tendency leads to an ideal endpoint to growth which may be a state of `self-actualisation' or a fully functioning person and which is the pinnacle of the individual achievement of potential. Such is the evidence of the inhumanity of human beings to other human beings and so clear is it that many people are not functioning optimally that the belief in the constructive, positive nature of humanity is unrealistic if not delusional. However, in terms of person-centred theory, when it is used at all, the term self-actualisation refers to a concept different from that of Maslow in that it is not a peak state resulting from the satisfaction of a hierarchy of needs.