From rationale to method: relationships, ethics and accountability
The person-centred approach is fundamentally based on the values of equality and dialogue in relationship, and is closely related to the ideas of Martin Buber. The qualities of congruence, acceptance and empathy are interconnected ways of being, this chapter looks at each one separately with reference to its place in the research relationship. The in-depth relational nature of the research meant that the number of contributors would be restricted. The emphasis is on a continuing process of what T. Bond refers to as 'ethical mindfulness', which is based on 'an ethic of trust' in relationships between researchers and participants. Any research which addresses inequalities, sensitive interpersonal issues, profound fear and anxiety, the fragility of the body, emotions of embarrassment and shame, change in status, loss of power and control, and the inevitability of death requires respect, humility and accountability. Therefore, narrative approaches to research are particularly suitable for addressing social inequalities in all spheres of life.