This paper briefly addresses the views of social reality which underpin our interpretation of data, and argues that a social actor's statement is one account in a potentially infinite series, in which the actor presents him or herself as morally competent This argument is illustrated by data from a study of subfertile couples, and other data from studies of parenting handicapped children There is, however, a disjunction between these calm measured self-presentations, and the professional literature which describes a host of negative emotions This raises questions about how needs, particularly emotional needs, are defined in health care