What are conditions of worth?
Conditions of worth are an idea that comes from Carl Rogers, the founder of a style of counselling called Person-Centred Counselling. Carl Rogers believed that every person has the means within themselves to ‘get better’ and that the Counsellor’s role was to walk alongside the client while they found the drive within themselves to do this.
Rogers said that conditions of worth are what we develop when we take on board other people’s values and ideas about how we should be. If they differ from what our inner desires and beliefs really are, it sets up a conflict and we experience tension and distress because, without really examining why we think the things we do, we are often unaware of what comes from us and what comes from other people around us. One of the things that might happen in counselling is working to uncover what these tensions are – this can sometimes bring an enormous sense of relief and, in turn, it can help us be better parents by stopping us imposing conditions of worth on our own children.