There are important changes ahead for the institute. Dr. Mark Yarhouse has accepted the Dr. Arthur P. and Mrs. Jean May Rech Chair in Psychology at Wheaton College. You can read more about that appointment here. The transition will occur in July of 2019. The central work of the institute will continue in some fashion, as this is Dr. Yarhouse’s primary line of research and scholarship. As the transition occurs, we will update the site accordingly.

Here is a little history about the origin and mission of the institute: 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, Dara, and Ashley have all completed or are just wrapping up dissertations utilizing this sample. It was a massive undertaking, and we learned so much from what parents shared with us.

MOC Project

Olya Zaparozhets is coordinating a study of mixed orientation couples (MOC), which refers to marriages in which one partner is straight and the other is a sexual minority. While we have studies MOC several times, we are excited to use several measures we have been utilizing in our other studies to get a better sense for their well-being and faith, among other considerations. Joshua is Project Coordinator of this study.

Christian Gender Identity Project

This is a line of research related to the dilemma faced by Christian college students who experience their gender identity differently that the majority of students for whom gender identity aligns with their biological sex. Mark Yarhouse, Stephen Stratton, (Asbury Theological Seminary), Janet Dean (Asbury University), and Michael Lastoria (Houghton College) are conducting a longitudinal study with Heather as Project Coordinator. This study is supported by a grant from the Louisville Institute.


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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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