Prince Harry Targets Painful Memories and Trauma in On-Camera EMDR Therapy Session
Prince Harry is showing viewers how therapy has benefitted his mental health.
Throughout his new AppleTV+ docuseries The Me You Can't See, which he co-created with Oprah Winfrey, the Duke of Sussex, 36, details the positive impacts of therapy, even filming a session of EMDR (eye movement, desensitization, reprocessing) therapy, which provides bilateral stimulation by either getting the person to move their eyes, tap on them or have them tap themselves.
In the third episode of the docuseries, Harry says he's done therapy for "four and a bit years, five years now" and why it's all about prevention from him, calling therapists "someone who can help guide us, create that awareness in our own life to when we might be feeling pain and how to get out of that."
For the soon-to-be father of two, therapy has been about arming oneself with knowing "what the tools are available to us on any given day to make sure that [pain] doesn't snowball into something bigger." In the docuseries, Harry says "EMDR is always something that I wanted to try," a method he believes is "one of the varieties of different forms of healing or curing" worth experimenting with.
"I never would have been open to that had I not put in the work in the therapy that I've done over the years," he adds.
During the session, Harry says London has been a city where he's felt "always felt worried, concerned, a little bit tense and uptight." Only after he started doing therapy, he says he "became aware" of his emotions regarding the city. "I was like, 'Why do I feel so uncomfortable?' And of course, for me, London is a trigger, unfortunately, because of what happened to my mom and because of what I experienced and what I saw," Harry explains.
When his mother Princess Diana died in a Paris car crash in August 1997, Harry was only 12 years old.
Reflecting on his teenage years, Harry said a particular place outside of England became his solace. "One of the first times that I left the U.K. to get away from all the fallout from my mom's death was to go to Africa. I think I was out there for at least two weeks and it was such a cure. I just felt so free. It was a sense of escapism that I'd never felt before. And then to come back to the U.K., knowing what I was going to be confronted with, and knowing what I couldn't get away from was scary," he recalls, later adding that "those feelings of those moments of the past is so deeply connected to the present. The trauma is very much geographical."
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Through therapy, Harry says he's been able to deal with certain traumas head-on. "One of the biggest lessons I've ever learned in life is you've sometimes got to go back and to deal with really uncomfortable situations and to be able to process it in order to be able to heal. For me, therapy has equipped me to be able to take on anything," he says. "That's why I'm here now. That's why my wife is here now. That feeling of being trapped within the family is ... There was no option to leave. Eventually, when I made that decision for my family, I was still told you can't do this."
In February, Buckingham Palace confirmed that Harry and Meghan Markle would not return as working royals. The announcement came just over a year after the couple first shared their plans to step down, which came with a one-year review period. As part of stepping down, Harry and Meghan would not keep their patronages (their royal involvement with numerous U.K. charities).
"We can all live a life of service. Service is universal," they said in response to Queen Elizabeth's statement at the time.
Last March, Harry and Meghan relocated with their son Archie to Los Angeles, Meghan's hometown, in March before officially finding a home and moving to Montecito, California, in July.
They are expecting their second child, a baby girl, this summer.
Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey's mental-health docuseries, The Me You Can't See, will be available to stream on Apple TV+ starting May 20 at 9 p.m. ET.
If you or someone you know need mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.