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On-line version ISSN 2304-8557
Print version ISSN 0023-270X


GROBLER, H.B.. The role of God in the father/son relationship during identity formation - a Gestalt theoretical perspective. Koers (Online) [online]. 2010, vol.75, n.2, pp.387-403. ISSN 2304-8557.

This article is based on research done within the Afrikaans-speaking community in the area of the Drakenstein Municipality, Western Cape province, South Africa. The focus falls specifically on one concept that was outlined during the research, namely the perceptions of fathers and adolescent sons on identity formation within their relationship as well as the role that God plays. Combined qualitative/quantitative research was conducted with emphasis on semi-structured interviews with fathers (n=4) and adolescent boys (n=4) and an auto-ethnography of the author as the dominant component. The less-dominant quantitative component consisted of questionnaires completed by fathers (n=42) and adolescent boys (n=180). Metatheoretical assumptions and theoretical assumptions as grounding for the male identity are discussed as part of the author's paradigmatic perspective. Furthermore, empirical findings are discussed and recommendations are made. From the discussions with fathers and their sons it was clear that both fathers and sons have a need to stand in close relationship to each other and to God. It is within this relationship where their identities are formed. However, fathers seemed to be resistant of transferring their beliefs to their sons. Adolescent boys also indicated no need to one day transfer learned behaviour from their fathers to their sons.

Keywords : father/son relationship; Gestalt therapy theory identity formation religion self; sense of.

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