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Sexual Identity Institute Celebrates 10 Years

By Brett Wilson | June 11, 2014

Dr. Mark Yarhouse.
Photo courtesy of University Marketing.

In an academic community where the topic of sexual identity is inclined to spark more questions than answers, Regent University School of Psychology & Counseling (SPC) professor and Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity (ISSI) Dr. Mark Yarhouse is an agent of both research and peace.

On Friday, June 6, Yarhouse and his colleagues celebrated the institute's 10 years of studies dedicated to chipping away at the ever-evolving sex and gender issues that arise in both the secular setting and the Church.

"It's hard to approximate 10 years ago where I thought we'd be—but God has certainly opened up doors," said Yarhouse.

During a decade of work led by Yarhouse and his revolving team of doctoral students, the ISSI has produced original research presented at professional conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals, books and curriculum for churches.

"This topic is still fraught with a number of challenges and is center-stage in a larger cultural debate that can be pretty ugly at times," said Yarhouse.

Yarhouse's solution for assuaging the "ugliness" that comes from the cultural debate is to simply provide a way to guide those piloting these issues in their own lives.

"We know that younger Christians are navigating these issues and wondering how they're going to engage their culture, theology and ethics; and it looks a lot different from their parents' generation," said Yarhouse.

With a lack of similar Christian institutes in the mental health field and the continual need for guidance through sexual and gender identity, Yarhouse, along with his peers, understands full-well the relevance of the institute's work.

"We have been very blessed to have Dr. Mark Yarhouse launch and operate his groundbreaking institute at Regent over the last decade," said Dr. William Hathaway, dean of SPC. "He and his team have forged a path that is at once faithfully Christian, professionally competent and clinically compassionate."

Yarhouse says that he and his team will continue to pray about how God will use the institute. And as for the next 10 years, Yarhouse will continue to lead the charge in the study of sexual identity. He is in the process of writing a book on the topic of gender identity and plans to begin a five-year longitudinal study of Christians who are wrestling with sexual identity at Christian colleges around the county.

"We're committed to being faithful to our vision and our mission," said Yarhouse.

Learn more about the School of Psychology & Counseling and the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity.


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