Clinician, Society and Suicide Mountain: Reading Rogerian Doctrine of Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR)

Chinedum Amadi


Carl Rogers has become a legendary personage in the mental health field. Rogers (1957) “has been cited in the literature over a thousand times, in professional writings originating in 36 countries” (Goldfried, 2007, p.249). Clinicians in the behavioral health field (psychiatry, social work, counseling and psychology) are exposed to his teachings about human behavior. Of all the ideas propagated by Rogers, the concept of unconditional positive regard (UPR) has been elevated to the level of a doctrine (Schmitt, 1980). What then is unconditional positive regard? How can clinicians be faithful to the demands of unconditional positive regard in the face of other competing realities such as threat of suicide or terrorism? This paper seeks to discuss the impossible nature of Rogers' UPR, highlighting its inherent linguistic contradiction. Since psychotherapy is culturally normative, the doctrine of unconditional positive regard negates this fundamental principle. In this article, the author takes a critical look at the influence of American philosophy of education on Rogers--he was a product of his culture. Furthermore, this paper asserts that clinicians are guided by societal norms or 'conditions' which regulate clinical practice, including unconditional positive regard (Gone, 2011).


positive regard; suicidality; education; society; clinician

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ISSN: 2193-7281
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