Psy.D. Program, 2009 Alumnus
Bogue Chitto, Mississippi
Depression and the emotional experience of God
As a college student, Andy Yarborough had no plans to become a psychologist. He simply felt called to somehow minister to people in the midst of their daily struggles. After a life-changing mission trip to India, Andy changed his major to psychology, and a professor encouraged him to consider graduate school at Regent University.
“I knew from the beginning that I wanted to integrate Christianity and psychology, and Regent did that purposefully, but they did it ecumenically,” Andy explains. “Regent is serious about you fostering your identity in Christ and expressing it through the identity of psychology.”
He found Regent's balance of rigorous academics and critical thinking about one's faith to be a perfect fit.
“Regent is a place that values academic integrity,” Andy says. “Academic integrity is not sacrificed on the altar of religion, but your faith is not sacrificed on the altar of science.” By teaching students how to integrate the two, Andy says the doctoral program equipped him to effectively deal with the reality of faith in people's lives.
“We don't know what to do with people sometimes,” Andy states. “We want people just to move from, ‘You're saved; you're justified’ to ‘We're ready for you to be glorified,’ but we have no idea how to walk with you through the process of your sanctification. Regent has prepared me to do that.”
He uses these skills in his current position working with adults with developmental disabilities, many referred by the criminal justice system. Outside of his clinical work, Andy leads church seminars that focus on the relationship between suffering and experiencing God, during which he discusses how psychopathology can negatively impact the way people view God and how the church can address that.
He says he appreciates how his education has enabled him to touch people's lives.
“It fit with what I felt like God was calling me to do, to basically shepherd people on a daily basis,” Andy explains. “To be able to walk with people through such sacred issues, and the people that I've come into contact with and been able to work with clinically, I would have never had that opportunity more than likely. I just love what I do. I love psychology.”