Urszula Plust

Urszula Plust

Country: UK
Organization: The University of Nottingham

Short CV

Urszula Plust is an Assistant Professor in Education and a module convenor of Children and Young People pathway on MA In Experiential Person-Centred Counselling and Psychotherapy. Urszula’s research interests are at the intersection of person-centred counselling and education with particular interest in authenticity, organismic living systems and creative expression.

Short presentation

(together with:  Jen Holland)

Title: “Unconditional Negative Self Regard: A self-destructive tendency or necessary adjustment for survival? An exploration of experiential polyphony achieved through collaborative autoethnography.”

Rogers was adamant that experience is his only authority, it is through the shared experience of encountering each other that we refer to, as we explore the concept of unconditional negative self-regard (UNSR). Rogers was also clear that the exploration of the difficulties with regarding oneself positively is at the core of the PCA. This presentation is a recognition and exploration of the varying degrees of struggle that exist within the spectrum of unconditional positive and unconditional negative self-regard, focusing on the challenges and lived experiences of UNSR to contextualise.

We’ll begin with an exploration of UPSR, which has received some mention in the literature, we then explore UNSR, in relation to key tenants of PCT, namely; the actualising tendency, conditions of worth, the self-concept, incongruence and UPR, within the therapeutic relationship and beyond. Contextualising with autoethnographic vignettes of lived experiences as persons, clients, therapists, facilitators, daughters, and parents.

This discussion aims to explore UNSR, where the inner critic reigns supreme. As person-centred therapists, we are in an advantageous position to reach a client experiencing UNSR, although the process is challenging. There is a struggle to allow UPR into awareness, having received little or inconsistent positive regard coupled with a scarcity of psychological safety. Despite this, we understand that the core conditions are both necessary and sufficient in promoting an environment where psychological growth is possible, trusting in the actualising tendency of the individual. We do not introduce UNSR as a diagnostic category, templates for interventions or instrumentality in the therapeutic relationship. Having a better understanding and working definition of UNSR identifies the impact of the destructive oppression commonly associated with implications for practice and future research directions. Especially important now, in a polyphonic world that is increasingly polarised, with real consequences for the selves that are being shaped within it.  Ultimately the discussion aims to explore existing theory to facilitate person-centred therapists to work with people who experience UNSR.