About

Let me introduce myself. I teach clinical psychology at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Since 1998 I have been part of the core faculty in the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology and have served as the founding director of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity since 2004. As for therapy services, I have a private practice in the Virginia Beach area, providing individual, couples, and family therapy.

I graduated from Calvin College with degrees in philosophy and art and a minor in psychology. In art my focus was lithography, pen and ink drawing, and watercolor painting. I then went to Wheaton College and earned a master’s degree in theology and a doctorate in clinical psychology. headshot

For the past 18 years I’ve been conducting research on sexual identity development and the experiences of persons of faith who are navigating sexual identity with a desire to achieve identity synthesis or congruence. I have also conducted original research on the experiences of transgender persons of faith. These studies include the experiences of LGBT+ students at Christian colleges and universities, people in mixed orientation marriages, and Christians parents whose children have come out as gay or transgender, just to name a few.

Research endeavors also open doors to discussions and consultations. I am active in the American Psychological Association (APA) and chair the task force on LGBT+ issues for Division 36 (Psychology of Religion and Spirituality). I also have consulted with and served in an advisory board capacity with the National Institute of Corrections on the concerns facing LGBTQI persons in corrections and in the juvenile justice system. I recently served on an APA consensus panel to share our understanding of research on conversion therapy with minors with the Substance Abuse and Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with several fine scholars over the past few years, leading to books such as Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously-Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation (with Stan Jones) and Modern Psychopathologies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal (which is now updated to DSM-5 with Rich Butman and Barrett McRay). I also completed two projects on couples and families with Jim Sells: Family Therapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal and Counseling Couples in Conflict: A Relational Restoration Model.

Recent solo projects include Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors and Friends and Understanding Sexual Identity: A Resource for Youth Ministry. This second one for youth pastors was released in conjunction with speaking engagements at the National Youth Workers Convention with Youth Specialties, Inc.

I recently completed a book on transgender issues and gender dysphoria titled, Understanding Gender Dysphoria: Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing Culture published by InterVarsity Press Academic. If you are trying to reach me for a speaking engagement, you can email me at markyar[at]regent[dot]edu.

I’m glad you came across this web site. The focus here is integration, which involves a meaningful dialogue between psychology and Christianity, specifically related to the topics of sexual and gender identity,

25 Comments

  1. I didn’t find an email contact, but I would like to discuss intersexism with you. There are many of us born intersexed (in various ways). The church has ignored us at worst and dismissed us as eunuchs at best. We are critical to study because we are the link between heterosexuality and homosexuality.

    The issue of human sexuality/gender is forever opened to discussion at this point in history. I have been pleading with people to not let this bridge go unexplored. Not to speak evolutionarily, but we (the intersexed) truly are the missing link.

    Thank you

    AM

  2. Hi Mark,
    I am an Evangelical Free Church pastor – Oakbrook EvFree in Oshkosh, WI.
    I just graduated from TEDS with an MACM degree.
    I attended your presentation at TEDS this year. You mentioned you had an extensive Informed Consent form. As I recall you were willing to share your Informed Consent form. May I have a copy? Thanks for any help you can provide.

    Sincerely Yours in Christ,
    Ed Riddick, ThM, MACM
    Pastor

  3. Hi, I didn’t find an e-mail link. I am a Christian gender-dysphoric female. I made the change several years ago and I am very happy I did. I am a Bible believing Christian who attends church weekly. I am also a political/social conservative. I do not endorse homosexuality or the LGBT community. I was involved in many years of ‘Christian’ therapy, none of which proved helpful except to solidfy my need to make the change.

    http://sallyparadise.wordpress.com

  4. Kurt,
    Thanks for stopping by. I’m not sure. I have a couple of pamphlets I’ve written – one is for parents; the other is for youth workers (still others for spouses, student development staff, etc.). They are pamphlets that are available through the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity, if you want to check out that web site: http://www.sexualidentityinstitute.org.
    Mark

  5. Mark, you did a presentation with Sells at AACC in September on couples in conflict. I listened to the presentation and appreciated it. I bought the book as well, but I haven’t quite gotten down everything you said. Is there a powerpoint or word doucment on what your presented at AACC?

  6. Hi Mark,
    Do you have some info on “straight men having sex with males”? I came across a study in New York published by Annals of internal Medicine (2006), but would appreciate more clinical material. I am working with sexually addicted men and women in my practice. Thanks and nice to see your website.

    • I don’t know where they went either. I wonder if AACC took them down. They were done for a series that was being developed by AACC, and they were not supposed to be on YouTube. You could contact AACC if you want a copy. I don’t have one. I did recently redo some of those questions to post in their place. I don’t think I did that question, though.

  7. Thank you for the quick response. I’ll contact AACC.

    Meanwhile, is there a link to the new videos you can send me? Also, there are some pamphlets on the site too, one for youth workers, etc. Is it possible to get digital copies of those? We are developing FAQ’s and trying to anticipate what might be asked.

    David
    YS

  8. Hi Mark,
    I really appreciate this website. I am a student at a Christian college and last November I recognized the need to address my sexuality, an issue that I had been ignoring for a long time. Unfortunately, I am studying abroad this semester and have nobody to talk to about the process of coming to terms with my sexual identity. I would greatly appreciate some correspondence with you as I try to figure things out. Your site is one of the few I have found that makes sense and has all of the words spelled correctly, so I figured you would be my best bet. Please shoot me an email when you get a chance.

  9. Thanks for your work with MOMs. I’ve been mentoring gay/bi married men for 20 years. In 2011 I co-authored Over the Cliff: Gay Husbands in Straight Marriages. As a consequence, I get requests for assistance. The most desperate of these come from those who are struggling with the dissonance created between their sexual identity and conservative religious belief systems. I hear the same fears expressed by gay Evangelical Christians, Hasidic Jews, and Muslims. In varying degrees, these gay young people are pressured and forced into heterosexual marriages by their family and culture. They may even be able to make it work for a few years. However, the overwhelming majority of the husbands reach their mid 40s and are no longer able to live an inauthentic existence. The dilemma they face is a no-win situation. Do they continue lying about their sexuality or come out and be honest about it? If they continue the lie, the wife will likely believe that she is the cause of the sexual problems in the relationship e.g. getting wrinkles, putting on weight, not as sexy as she was etc. On the other hand, if he comes out, the marriage will probably end and there will be collateral damage to his wife and children. The question becomes: Which course of action will do the least amount of damage and/or put the family on the path to healing.

  10. I’m glad to have found this blog. As a physician who is also gay and evangelical, I have much interest in the psychological research pertaining to sexuality. I just started my own blog called Confessions of a Gay Evangelical Christian coagec.wordpress.com, where I hope to share my story as a man who adheres to orthodox teachings regarding sexuality and discuss various issues pertaining to homosexuality including medical and psychological matters.

  11. Dear Mark, I came upon your website via the information for the coming conference to be held at Trinity School of Ministry in October. I am a retired minister of the Reformed Churches of The Netherlands (Liberated) (Gereformeerde Kerken (vrijgemaakt)). We in the orthodox Christian community are facing the challenge of the gay propaganda around us to the effect that homosexual practice is OK. I believe we should show compassion to all human beings, including the deeply same-sex attracted (“homophiles”), and yet at the same time seek to uphold God’s guidelines in Scripture regarding sexuality, which will lead to a celibate life-style for homophile believers. This is of course nothing new in church history, but needs special wisdom and sensitivity in our age. I hope you agree with me!

  12. Hello Mr Yarhouse, my name is Victor and I am an RGN in London, Uk. I have worked on a transgender ward at London Hospital.
    I am Reformed in my beliefs , and am training to become a Chaplain .
    I would like to thank you for your work in LGBT area, and would like to learn to talk and Counsel people who struggle in this area .
    I have purchased your latest book, which other books would be relevant !

  13. Hi Mark,

    I read your article “Understanding the Transgender Phenomenon” on christianitytoday(dot)com and would like to pick your brain about a people group in the Bible I believe, (from my experience) to be either misunderstood or poorly explained. I have not done any extensive research on this group to speak of, but I have plans (short term) to write a paper for Liberty University once I am readmitted (there is a story there..) I believe you will be able to view my email address in the details section of this Reply form – if not – I have enabled email notification on this comment and can supply my email address.

    A little background: I served 6 years with the 82nd Airborne, spent a total of 22 months in Afghanistan in support of OEF, I worked 8 months as a network engineer for a wireless internet service provider in Atlanta, Ga, then completed 2 weeks of class at Liberty University – pursuing a BS in Computer Engineering – before tripping over my second biggest stumbling block to date. I am a Christian and I believe in a literal six-day creation, the triune Godhead and the inerrancy of the Bible. I have struggled with “gender-disphoria” for “..as long as I can remember” – cliché I know! – but I am very interested in hearing your thoughts on my positions.

    Thanks for your time.

    Clint

  14. Hi Mark,

    Non-Christian reporting in, although I was raised to be Christian. I wanted to thank you for your even-handed approach to your book on transgender issues.

    My dad is an 82-year-old man trying to cope with me, his transsexual offspring. I came out to him and my other family members several months ago, and much to my surprise, Dad has been making a serious effort to understand and support me.

    I didn’t anticipate that. Because of the way we were raised, I expected rejection.

    He is reading your book and although there is a great deal of fairly technical language, he is making the effort. Because of the way you’ve written about this subject, I feel that I’ve got a good chance of being accepted for who I am.

    Frankly, you’ve made it possible for me to see a way back to a belief in God.

    Thank you.

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