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.
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,