Deutsch: Bedingte Positivität / Español: Positividad condicional / Português: Positividade condicional / Français: Positivité conditionnelle / Italiano: Positività condizionale

Conditional Positive Regard in the context of psychology refers to a concept often associated with humanistic psychology and, more specifically, with the theories of Carl Rogers. It is a type of acceptance and love that is given under certain conditions or standards. This contrasts with unconditional positive regard, a term Rogers coined to describe acceptance and love that is given freely, without conditions or judgments. Conditional positive regard suggests that acceptance and affection from significant others (such as parents, friends, or teachers) are contingent upon the individual behaving in ways that those significant others find acceptable or desirable.


Conditional positive regard plays a significant role in shaping an individual's self-concept and psychological development. When individuals perceive that acceptance and love from important figures in their lives are contingent upon meeting specific conditions, they may begin to adjust their behaviors, thoughts, and feelings to align with these expectations. This can lead to the development of conditions of worth, where individuals believe they must meet certain standards to be worthy of love and acceptance.

The implications of conditional positive regard are profound. It can lead to a fragmented self-concept, where individuals disconnect from their true feelings and desires to conform to the expectations of others. This may result in people living inauthentically, constantly seeking approval and validation from others, and experiencing high levels of anxiety and depression.

Application Areas

In therapy, understanding the impact of conditional positive regard is crucial for addressing issues related to self-esteem, identity, and emotional well-being. Therapists work to provide clients with the experience of unconditional positive regard, helping them to explore their true selves in a non-judgmental environment. This therapeutic process aims to mitigate the negative effects of conditional positive regard experienced in other areas of the clients' lives.

Well-Known Examples

An example of conditional positive regard is a parent who shows love and affection to their child only when the child achieves high grades or excels in sports, rather than expressing love unconditionally regardless of the child's achievements or behaviors.

Treatment and Risks

The primary risk associated with conditional positive regard is the development of a conditional self-esteem, which is highly dependent on meeting external standards. This can lead to emotional and psychological challenges, including anxiety, depression, and issues with self-worth. Treatment often involves therapeutic techniques that foster self-acceptance and the internalization of unconditional self-regard. Through therapy, individuals can learn to recognize and challenge their conditions of worth and embrace a more authentic and fulfilling way of living.

Similar Terms or Synonyms

Similar terms include:

  • Conditional love
  • Conditional acceptance


Conditional positive regard refers to the conditional acceptance and love an individual receives, which is based on meeting certain standards or expectations set by others. This concept, crucial in the field of psychology, particularly within humanistic approaches, highlights the impact of conditional acceptance on an individual's psychological health and development. Understanding and addressing the effects of conditional positive regard is essential for fostering authentic self-concept and emotional well-being.


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