Unpacking The Therapy Prince Harry Uses To Manage His Anxiety

On his new docu-series, Prince Harry says he uses EMDR therapy to manage stress and traumatic memories.

In the documentary The Me You Can’t See, Prince Harry underwent an EMDR therapy session and opened up about many celebrities’ mental health issues and the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic had on many of us. 

The docuseries is a five-part show available on Apple Tv +, which he co-produced with Oprah. In one of the episodes, Prince Harry demonstrates a technique known as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, EMDR.

One of the traumas the therapy is helping Prince Harry is the loss of his mother, Princess Diana, which happened when he was 12 years old. 

“I quickly established that if this relationship [with Meghan Markle] was going to work, I was going to have to do deal with my past. Because there was anger there. It wasn’t anger at her, it was just anger, and she recognized it.”

Prince Harry

To process the trauma that was on his way, he reckons he needed to look into the past, point the trauma, deal with it, process it, and then move forward.

During the episode, the therapist asks Harry to cross his arms and tap his shoulders while recounting memories and how they make him feel.

What’s EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a psychotherapy technique used to relieve stress, anxiety and treat PTSD and past traumas. 

The treatment is divided into 8 phases and 12 different sessions:

  • Phase 1: History and treatment planning
  • Phase 2: Preparation
  • Phase 3: Assessment
  • Phases 4-7: Treatment
  • Phase 8: Evaluation

EMDR therapists use the technique to process and overcome traumas by asking the patient to hold the specific memory in mind. Then, they need to follow the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across the client’s visual field.

However, EMDR isn’t a treatment that is suitable for everyone. It’s primarily available for people who have experienced traumatic events or those who meet the criteria of PTSD. 

Before considering taking an EMDR treatment, bear in mind that this therapy doesn’t work overnight (as you’ve seen, it takes several sessions). It’s pretty triggering, and it may be emotionally stressful. That said, it’s essential to go with a heart and open mind and willingness to heal; it doesn’t matter how painful it may be. 

Written By:
Camila Santiago

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