Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity


The Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity was established at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in the spring of 2004. The mission of the institute is to further our understanding of sexual and gender identity, their development and synthesis, particularly in relation to a person’s religious identity, and to be a resource to students in training and those in the community who are stakeholders in these discussions.

Mark A. Yarhouse, Psy.D., is the Hughes Endowed Chair and Professor of Psychology at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he is a core faculty member in the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Yarhouse has spent several years promoting dialogue between people who view the topic of sexual identity differently. In 2000, he chaired a groundbreaking symposium at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention that brought together gay psychologists and Christian psychologists to discuss common ground in treatment options for those who experience sexual and religious identity conflicts. He chaired similar dialogues at the APA on the many meanings of marriage (among different religions and among various groups within the gay community), services for adolescents experiencing sexual identity concerns, and an approach to services referred to as the sexual identity therapy framework.

Dr. Olya Zaporozhets is an associate professor in the School of Psychology & Counseling at Regent University. Having been an international student herself, Dr. Zaporozhets has a passion for the international community. Through first-hand experience, she has not only made friends with students across the globe, but also has learned about the need in counseling training in many places of the world.

Dr. Zaporozhets is Director of Research for ISSI. She spearheaded the analysis of qualitative data from 200 interviews of Christian patents whose children came out as LGBTQ, which led to several dissertations and national conference presentations. She is currently working on a study of over 200 celibate gay Christians.

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At the institute, we have anywhere from 5-6 lines of research being conducted at any one time. Here are three we are currently highlighting.

Christian Parental Responses

Olya Zaparozhets is leading a team of students in the analysis of data from Christian parents whose son or daughter came out as LGBT. Melissa, Justin, and Ashley are conducting their dissertations based on some of the data, and Katy are co-coordinators of the project.

Celibate Gay Christian Project

This a research project on the experiences of celibate gay Christians. We are doing a line of research that includes both qualitative and quantitative studies. An initial qualitative study was published in Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling, and Christine conducted a quantitative study for her dissertation that looked at attachment styles.

Christian Sexual Minority Project

This is a line of research related to the dilemma faced by Christian college students who are sexual minorities. Mark Yarhouse, Stephen Stratton (Asbury Theological Seminary), Janet Dean (Asbury University), and Michael Lastoria (Houghton College) are conducting the longitudinal study with Julia as Project Coordinator.


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What is Sexual Identity Therapy?

Dr. Mark Yarhouse provides a brief description of Sexual Identity Therapy as an approach to care that facilitates congruence.

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1000 Regent University Dr, Virginia Beach,
VA 23464


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