School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


June Tyson


Body Image, Psychological Wellness, Romantic Relationships, Sexual Identity, Women of Color, Faith-based Communities, Religious Coping, Christian, Worldview


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The purpose of this phenomenological study is to explore the variables that influence the sexual identity within romantic relationships and how the sexual identity among women of color reflected in their body image, psychological wellness, and religious identity. This researcher will attempt to address these influences in the lives of women of color through the concept referred to as subjective openness (Moustakas, 1994). Originated by Edmund Husserl, a pioneer in the use of self-presence, Moustakas (1994) describes subjective openness as a process where the “reflective powers of self” are used when attempting to integrate oneself into the world of another and simultaneously retaining one’s separateness (pp. 25-26). The theoretical framework for this study provides an approach that is client-centered and identity-focused referred to as sexual identity therapy (SIT) where the sexually confused client is provided a safe space to wrestle between the tension of their sexual attractions and their Evangelical belief system (Tan & Yarhouse, 2010). Additionally, a biblically-based and compassionate approach is integrated into the theoretical framework from an Evangelical perspective (Dallas & Heche, 2010; Hubner, 2019). The methodology for this study includes a semi-structured interview where each participant will be presented 11 questions with the 4 central questions addressing the sexual identity within romantic relationships among women of color as a result of participating in a Christian-based discipleship program. The significance of this study will be to offer the Christian evangelical academic community and the Evangelical church a biblically based and compassionate perspective when encountering those persons wrestling between their sexual identity and faith-based beliefs.

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