‘I think the LGBTQ+ community face enormous challenges. The first is to be exactly who you are. This is one of the most fundamental rights in this world.’
Jean-Claude Chalmet – Founder and leading Psychotherapist at The Place, Bali.
According to Mental Health America, the LGBTQ+ community in the United States are three times more likely to experience a mental health condition. To make matters worse, LGBTQ+ youths are four times more likely to attempt suicide.
It pains us to put these words down on paper, and while society is becoming more accepting of different ways of living, there is still a long way to go before we reach a place of true equality.
But external validation for who you are is just one challenge faced by this community. Arguably, a bigger challenge is accepting who you are for yourself, by yourself.
Self-acceptance is worth the arduous journey
‘One of the most common themes that I have seen in my work is that the LGBTQ+ community are just like everybody else – they want acceptance,’ explains Jean-Claude Chalmet. ‘It is the most important thing to be accepted.’
In this video, Jean-Claude sits down and explains that acceptance is two-fold. ‘There is the acceptance of the self,’ he says, ‘and there’s being accepted by the outside world.’
He takes this thought further, stating that self-acceptance and external validation can take any form. ‘Whatever it looks like, it’s without prejudice, without racism and without any kind of bias.’
All human beings, whether a part of the LGBTQ+ community or not, are searching for both self-acceptance and to be accepted in the wider community.
The recent trend of ‘finding your tribe’ culture in the western world brings this idiom to the forefront of our minds. But, how can we find acceptance from others if we can’t first find acceptance within ourselves? This is the most fundamental question to face.
‘It is terribly important for me to help people within this community to be, firstly, self-accepting, and through that, being accepted in the world around them.’
Learning to first face yourself in a safe space
‘People that visit me for the first time often say, “I have something to tell you, but I don’t quite know how to do it” and “I’m not sure how you’re going to react”,’ explains Jean-Claude. For those within this community that are seeking professional help and still struggling to face the realities of who they truly are, Jean-Claude shares this advice:
‘If your therapist is not able to understand, accept and work with you exactly as you are, my advice would be change therapist.’
A relationship with a therapist is undoubtedly intimate and detailed. It’s important for the journey towards personal growth and empowerment that you, as a client, feel comfortable sharing private details about yourself. Only then can you begin to understand and accept who you really are.
But to do this requires honesty, openness and the ability to trust the professional sat in the same room as you. ‘If the therapist accepts you for exactly who you are, you can learn from your therapist to accept yourself for who you really are.’
Finding your voice in the world through self-acceptance
‘I think this community is only too aware of being in a position where they don’t have a voice,’ explains Jean-Claude. ‘But it is the most important thing in the world to be who you are, be respected for it, and be appreciated.’
To reach this place of respect and appreciation from others, though, requires you to first find your truest voice, whatever that looks like.
Confidence comes from within, and it is from within you that you’ll find your most genuine voice, a voice that you can carry openly as you move forward through this world. For the LGBTQ+ community who are facing these challenges, then, Jean-Claude only has this left to say:
‘Learn to be yourself. Learn to be who you are. You are marvellous, amazing and fantastic in exactly the way you are. Celebrate it, accept yourself, and through that, you will be accepted in the world.’
The Place offers guests immersive luxury retreats that span stays as short as a week or as long as 90 days. We treat multiple mental health conditions including depression, emotional abuse, sexual orientation, sexual issues, self-esteem issues, anger management, addiction, and dysfunctional relationships.