New virtual series to help LGBTQ+ community overcome body image issues

July 26, 2020

Create Space Retreats, in partnership with Dr David McLaughlan, an award-winning medical doctor specialising in mental health and wellbeing, is to launch a new virtual series, Me, My Body and I, to help the LGBTQ+ community overcome body image shame and struggles.

The LGBTQ+ community is disproportionately affected by body dysmorphia, eating disorders and anxieties about appearance. In a survey conducted by Attitude magazine in 2018, only 1% of respondents considered themselves ‘very happy’ with their appearance. Over half said they were ‘unhappy’ with their body. And in 2014, the International Journal of Eating Disorders found that gay or bisexual men were three times more likely than straight men to have body image issues.

During this virtual retreat programme, Dr McLaughlan will empower participants to identify common cognitive distortions related to body image. In doing so, participants will be coached in practical techniques and exercises to help them to recognise and challenge toxic thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

As David explains ‘In both my professional and personal life, I meet LGBTQ+ individuals who various reasons, cannot see how wonderful and beautiful they are. It’s heart-breaking. However, at the same time, I feel inspired to help lead a change in culture to promote a healthier and kinder relationship with ourselves and others.’

All Create Space Retreats are designed around tried and tested psychological and holistic practices, bringing together leading industry professionals and specialists to take participants through a process of self-exploration.

Michael Stephens, the founder of Create Space Retreats, has previously spent over 10 years working in leadership positions for some of the world’s most respected British brands – including i-D, Vice, Liberty and Virgin Atlantic. After a series of life changing events, Michael diverted from this high-profile career path, becoming a mental health and LGBTQ+ advocate. He recounts his own struggles, ‘I didn’t anticipate that years after ‘coming out’ I’d be all-consumed by something of that same scale, all over again. But I managed to keep an eating disorder hidden for over 10 years.

‘As a community, we are currently inflicting our pain and trauma on each other through the culture that we are creating, the standards we are setting, and the expectations we now have. Driving each other, and ourselves, to extremes in search of the ‘perfect’ body and ‘success’. All in the hope we’ll finally find self-worth and acceptance.’

With places limited on each retreat, it is a very intimate and confidential space. The programmes offer the unique opportunity to openly share and learn from each others’ past experiences without judgement, building resilience together in the face of their collective adversity.

As well as retreats, Create Space is running a series of free workshops, the first is taking place on Saturday, August 1.

For more information CLICK HERE