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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents first a survey of some of the insights that have emerged from a number of theoretical approaches to psychological exploration, and situates them in their respective psychological traditions. This survey then serves as a resource for reflections on ‘what theologians need to know’ if theological work is to be grounded in a dialogue with what psychology has to offer.

Key observations include: the pervasiveness of sexuality in human experience (with ‘sexuality’ understood in its widest scope); the fundamentally relational (rather than biological) nature of sexual drive and motivation; the essentially developmental nature of human sexuality; and the great variety of experience and behaviour. It is proposed that theology can benefit from the descriptive work available, even if some of the interpretative and explanatory approaches do not sit easily with classic Christian understandings.

Keywords: developmental sexuality, object relations, defence mechanisms, variation, attachment, archetypes, play, identity

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